Research on reading generally agrees that the most critical aspect of reading is how a child feels about reading. Positive reinforcement from parents and teachers can make a big difference. Children need to know that adults in their lives care about reading.
Studies also agree that in most cases, forcing a child to read will yield negative results. Most children shouldn’t be required to read each day, especially if it’s forced reading for pleasure. Some families find that having a reading time when the whole family reads can work. Even if the child is reluctant, he knows that the time is reserved for reading. Let him choose to read light material, if nothing else. Also consider incorporating book allowances. Even if the allowance allows for the purchase of one paperback book or magazine a week, you’ve helped encourage reading. For more information see our I Love to Read Magic Show.
Invest in Reading Resources
- Regular visits to a good magazine rack, coupled with purchases, provide reading material. Parents will probably want to exercise some judgment on reading purchases, but magazines your child shows some interest in and which you approve are a good way to provide material and encourage reading.
- Subscriptions to a magazine or magazines for your child or student are a good idea. There’s a certain amount of excitement in “ownership” and as for many students it’s very exciting to receive mail.
- Attend used book sales at libraries and other places where good books can be had inexpensively.
Parental Involvement is Important
- Model reading. Children who see their parents reading, often become readers and come to accept that reading is a matter-of-fact activity.
- If your child is willing, whatever his or her age, don’t be afraid to read aloud. Reading to children is one of the best ways to encourage interest in reading. Older brothers and sisters can read to younger children. If your child is too old to be read to, just read articles aloud from the newspaper from time to time.
- Recommend books to your child. Tell the child how difficult the books are and let the child decide if he or she wants to read them.
- Praise your child for his or her reading when appropriate. For example, praise the child when a long or difficult book is completed.
- If your child decides to read something to you...be patient and let him or her read to you.
- When a topic of interest develops which involves the whole family like an upcoming trip or vacation, bring home some books on the topic to share with the family.
- Discuss with your child any book he or she is reading for a class at school. Read the book yourself.
- When you and your child are working on something together have him or her read the directions. Many models and construction kits turn out better when a child reads the instructions aloud.
Establish the Right Environment
- Establish a place in the child’s room for his or her books. A feeling of ownership is important.
- Introduce your child to the librarian. Librarians are anxious to help children look for interesting reading material. Make sure your child knows the school librarian too.
- You might find that students will read pages on the web. Help them find content that fits their own personal interests.
- Look for computer programs which encourage reading.
- Let children know that books have an important place in the home and display them somewhere.
- Check out text adventure games...an old computer game genre which required a lot of reading and thinking. A search on “text adventure games” on the web should yield many choices.
- Help your child develop a non-sports hobby. Then provide him with books on the hobby. Hobbies help develop curiosity.