- Back to School Ways to Help your Student
- Middle School Organization
- Schools for Children with Social Difficulties
- The Keys to Effective Discipline
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading
Getting children to love reading can seem like a daunting task. Let me share with you a few easy tips to help make the task easier.
Generate enthusiasm. I mean serious enthusiasm. Imagine winning the lottery and having The Cheese Cake Factory give you a 'lifetime of meals free' card both on the same day. Right that's the voice, smile and expression that should always appear on your face when the topic of books, reading or stories come up. Never pressure, nag or force a child to read. Honey works like a charm. I always treat books like delicate treasure. The way I handle the book, how place it on the counter - everything. It might seem like a grand theatrical performance - but trust me it works.
Tell a unique bedtime story: I like to lure children in with a story. Usually a made up one, using the child's own name and friends as characters. I base the storyline loosely on the child's favorite televisions shows. Trust me you can mix up dragons, fairies and Hannah Montana if that's what it takes to gain their interest. Now only tell the story for 10 - 15 minutes for two very good reasons. Firstly you can build anticipation, climax and set up the scene for where the story is going to be headed the next night. And secondly instead of being interesting your story can tend to meander and become a bit dull if you keep it going too long. Keep them interested. Bedtime should be the best part of their day. I have been badgered endlessly to continue the story at lunch time or during a drive home and I never give in. There is something magical about telling a story in the dark. It worked for the brothers Grimm it will work for you.
Books - Buy or loan books of all kinds. Picture books, scientific, science fiction, fairy tales and adventure. Pour over them together. Let your child choose their own and you can choose a few too. Examine the front and ooh and ah together. Then read the blurb - is this something that looks interesting? Ask the child for her opinion. The child needs to feel like an equal partner in this. I often bring my reading level right down to the child I'm working with. That means that even my language gets simpler. If I find a word that looks difficult when I'm reading - I sound it out. Puzzle it over aloud and then we come up with a meaning together. I like to build confidence this way. Heck, it works. Later on when the child reads aloud and stumbles over words themselves - this same exercise comes back and we figure out the word together. There is no embarrassment or 'giving-up' because it's too hard.
Reading aloud: Lunch time reading is my favorite. The child is trapped at the dinner table with no choice but to listen and you also get to build a daily habit. Use a sweeping epic adventure as your bait, try Tolkien's The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. Narnia and Swiss Family Robinson work well too.
How to read: Your voice tells the story. Read with intonation, expression and exuberant enthusiasm. Just go for it. You are telling the worlds greatest story to the most dedicated audience. Don't feel shy just - go for it. Gasp, shriek, faint in mock horror, place the book down and clasp your chest when something shocks you. Complain that you cannot read another word, it's just too much, too scary or too much anticipation to bear. Pick the book up gingerly again and begin reading hesitantly before picking up speed and delving in again. Squeal in delight, burst into laughter, engage in conversation. Can you believe that just happened? What do you suppose is going to happen next?
Children can't help but get caught up in the story you are weaving. I am no actress, but once a child falls in love with stories, reading and books. You are set. They will be reading on their own in no time.
Just a brief introduction to the author: I have spent much of my adult life immersed in books and finally got a Masters in Publishing. Much of what I've told you above my mother did for me, and I in turn for other children. I spent nearly 8 years working in libraries, and a crazy semester learning how to teach children language. Lastly I recorded for the Blind Library. We all have our loves, passing on the love of reading is a gift I cannot thank my parents enough for. The countless hours reading, trips to the library, library fines and discussions cannot be repaid.