Who Can Read, But Don't...
to Lead Reluctant Readers Ages 9-13 Back to Books
Source: Reading Is
Studies show what common sense tells
us: the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out
Unfortunately, the reverse holds
true: children who read very little usually have poor reading skills. Reading
is a struggle for them, and they avoid it whenever possible.
Is there anything that you can do to
encourage your children to read? First, it's helpful to know your child's
reasons for not liking or wanting to read. These reasons can help you decide
what will work best in motivating your child to discover or rediscover how much
fun reading can be.
Some Kids Don't Like to Read
Do any of these statements have a
familiar ring? They are the reasons children frequently give for not reading:
- It's boring.
Don't despair if your children have this response to reading that is
assigned at school. You can expose them to another kind of reading at homereading that is related to their interests.
- I don't have the time. Kids are busy. School, friends, sports, homework,
television, and chores all compete for their time. Some children need your
help in rearranging their schedules to make time for reading.
- It's too hard.
For some children, reading is a slow, difficult process. If your child is
having a hard time reading, talk with their or her reading teacher. Ask
about how you can find interesting books and materials written at a level
that matches your childs
- It's not important.
Often children don't appreciate how reading can be purposeful, or relevant
to their lives. Parents can take it upon themselves to find reading
materials on subjects that do matter to their kids.
- It's no fun.
For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, books
cause anxiety. Even for children with strong reading skills, pressure from
schools and home that emphasize reading for performance can make reading
seem like a chore. Our advice: take the pressure off reading so that your
children can enjoy it.
If you or someone else in your
family has had problems reading, there is a greater likelihood your children
will experience these difficulties, too. Speak to a reading teacher if you have
reason to suspect a learning problem. Early testing administered at your
child's school can identify a learning disability and alert the school to your childs need for special teaching.
Parents have told us that the
following tactics only strengthen a child's resistance to reading:
Avoid lecturing about the value of reading, and hounding a child who is not
reading. Your child will only resent it.
While there's nothing wrong with rewarding your child's reading efforts,
you don't want your youngster to expect a prize after finishing every
book. Whenever possible, offer another book or magazine (your child's
choice) along with words of praise. You can give other meaningful rewards
on occasion, but offer them less and less frequently. In time, your child
will experience reading as its own reward.
- Judging your child's performance. Separate school performance from reading for pleasure.
Helping your child enjoy reading is a worthwhile goal in itself.
- Criticizing your child's choices. Reading almost anything is better than reading nothing.
Although you may feel your child is choosing books that are too easy or
that treat subjects too lightly, hide your disappointment. Reading at any
level is valuable practice, and successful reading helps build confidence
as well as reading skills. If your differences are simply a matter of
personal taste, respect your child's right to his or her own preferences.
- Setting unrealistic goals. Look for small signs of progress rather than dramatic
changes in your child's reading habits. Don't expect a reluctant reader to
finish a book overnight. Maybe over the next weekwith
your gentle encouragement.
- Making a big deal about reading. Don't turn reading into a campaign. Under pressure,
children may read only to please their parents rather than themselves, or
they may turn around and refuse to read altogether.
Publication Release: July 26, 2007