A love of reading is strongly correlated with greater personal growth, higher education, and a better quality of life. What do you do when your child doesn’t like to read? The following article by longtime educator Robert Morgan, reprinted in two parts, addresses that subject comprehensively. I’m sure you will find many ideas in this article that help you encourage your child to read.
CREATIVE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO READ
By Robert Morgan
All of these methods may not work with every student, but some may be the key for some students. These are geared toward parents, but apply well to teachers.
1. 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 helps. Children need to know that adults in their lives care about reading.
2. Research also agrees that in most cases, forcing a child to read will yield no positive results. Most children should not 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 works. 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.
3. A book allowance is a good idea. In addition to whatever other allowance a child may receive, provide an allowance for books. Even if the allowance allows for the purchase of one paperback book or magazine a week, you've helped encourage reading.
4. 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.
5. 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 for many students it's very exciting to receive mail.
6. Model reading. Children who see their parents reading, often become readers and come to accept that reading is a matter-of-fact activity.
7. 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 (some would suggest that no one is too old to be read to), just read articles aloud from the newspaper from time to time.
8. Establish a place in the child's room for his or her books. A feeling of ownership, again, is important.
9. Schedule regular family visits to the library--even if your child doesn't seem interested in taking out books.
10. 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.
11. By all means recommend books to your child. Tell the child how difficult the books are (or are not) and let the child decide if he or she wants to read them.
12. If your child starts a book and doesn't want to finish it -- ok. Hasn't that happened to you?
13. Buy books for yourself and let your children know you do it.
14. If your child decides to read something to YOU...be patient and let him or her read to you.
Click here for Part Two with 14 additional ways to encourage your child to read.
Copyright © 1999 Robert Morgan
Most recent revision, December 29, 2004
Robert Morgan has been teaching and teaching teachers for 40 years. Currently a classroom teacher and technology coordinator, he has taught most subjects at most grade levels from 4 - college. The holder of an honorary chair in Applied and Innovative education, his work with space shuttle simulation in the classroom continues to receive national recognition.
Morgan founded The Creative Teaching Web Site at http://creativeteachingsite.com which is dedicated to helping teachers develop more creative teaching ideas and more thoroughly enjoy their profession.
Strawberry Shakespeare is the author of Saving Bluestone Belle, an award-winning, comic adventure novel for kids ages 9-12 that has proven popular with reluctant readers because of its fast pace, colorful action and snappy dialogue. Click the link below to find out more about Saving Bluestone Belle.