Kids shouldn’t just be learning to read, they should be learning to love reading
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children, beyond keeping them safe; healthy and loved, is to instill in them a love of reading. Learning to read can be tricky for some but as well as stimulating their imagination, strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects. Children who are read to at an early age have better communication skills, increased attention spans and better concentration in later years. In the first six years, children learn at a much faster rate than any other time in their lives. When a young child is taught to read, it has a profound impact on the function and development of their brain. So, let’s get reading…
Story telling isn’t just for bedtime. It’s a great way to bond with one another and relax after a day at school. It also isn’t just for little kids. Bigger kids also enjoy being read to or reading out aloud to their parents. But not every kid loves to read. For some parents, it’s a struggle to get their child to pick up a book. Some children are reluctant to read because they don’t read so well or because, quite simply, they haven’t yet learned to appreciate how great books really are. Maybe they just haven’t “hit” on the right book yet. Sadly, there’s no magic potion to get your kids reading but check out our tips on making reading more fun…
Learning To Read – Follow The Leader
As tempting as it may be to try to encourage your child to read a book that you think she should be reading, let her decide. Reading should be fun and not a chore. It’s hugely important to foster that love of reading at an early age so don’t sweat it if your child is reading a book that you think is silly or boring or too basic. As long as they’re enjoying it, then it doesn’t matter. Children don’t have to learn something every time they read a book. As kids are learning to read, they could, and should also just read for fun, even if they’re just looking at the pictures. It should become second nature to them. So whether it’s a comic book or a chapter book or a picture book or an instruction manual or a recipe – don’t judge or discourage them, just let them enjoy the experience.
Once they see their peers reading, you’ll soon find them naturally gravitating towards more “age-appropriate” material. What’s more, if it’s too challenging or uninteresting to them, that might knock their confidence and put them off reading altogether. So, go at their pace, let them read what they want (as long as it’s not inappropriate!) and remember every child learns at different speeds and has different interests, but they all get there in the end.
As an aside, my child, when in 1st grade, would literally take 10 books out the library at a time. His choice would range from chapter books like Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Big Nate to picture books like, well, anything by Mo Willems. At first, I couldn’t understand why, despite being a very competent reader, he was reading “baby” books. I was tempted to dissuade him from reading them. But then I started to appreciate the appeal. He loved reading but he also loved drawing and found the adorable pictures in the Mo Willems’ books fun to look at and a challenge to copy. Not to mention, the stories were so sweet and innocent and endearingly simplistic that they were a pleasure to read (and I used to enjoy him reading them to me way more than I enjoyed hearing about badly behaved middle school kids). I’m glad I didn’t interfere with his book choices. it certainly didn’t affect his reading ability. He’s now in 5th grade and still walks around with 10 books. Sadly no more Mo Willems though.
Learning To Read – All Together Now
Kids love being read to. Choose a book they’re interested in, put on your best story telling voice, snuggle up comfortably and just start reading. Have fun with it and be playful. Engage your children in the story by using different voices for different characters. It doesn’t need to be an Oscar-winning performance, it just needs to be fun. Take the time to look at the pictures and talk about what’s happening in the images and how it relates to the story. Ask them open-ended questions like what they think is going to happen next. Maybe take it in turns to read
Learning To Read – Hunt Down Those Words
Learning the sight words are hugely important in helping your child as he’s learning to read. A great way to help your child with his sight words can be in the form of flashcards or try making a scavenger hunt. Write out the sight words on brightly colored post-it notes and hide them on walls around the house (in not hard to find places or your kid may lose interest!). Call out a word and your child will need to go hunt it down. See how many words your child can find in a set amount of time. It’s a game you can play time and time again. Maybe he’ll better her time!
Learning To Read – Rinse and Repeat
Before you throw the book at the wall in frustration as it’s the 23rd time you’ve read it this month, remind yourself that young children learn through repetition. They love hearing familiar stories and it’s comforting to them. A 2011 study, showed that kids who were read the same book over and over were better able to remember and retain the meaning of new words than the children who were read different books each time. Try letting them tell you the story (if they can’t or don’t want to read it to you). Look at the images and let them recount what’s happening. It’ll make it fun for your child and save your sanity.
Learning To Read – Take it Outside!
Reading the Mad Hatters Tea Party – make your own! Is your story set in a forest? Pack up a picnic and head down to your nearest forest (or park) and read your story there. Set the scene of your book by trying to replicate what you can – whether you find a special place or dress up in character, bring the book to life. Create those special memories for your child and you’ll soon find that that might become their new favorite book!
Learning To Read – Get Creative
If your child is into dinosaurs, borrow a book from the library about dinosaurs, get out his favorite dinos and act out the story. If your child does horseback riding, find a story about horses and see if he can relate to it. If your child loves cookies, get out a cookbook, read the recipe together, get baking! And don’t forget to send them to the GetQurious HQ for us to taste!