How to Get Kids Interested in Reading
If you have ever had a child that was not interested in reading and avoided it at all costs, then you know firsthand that the struggle is real. While you can try to negotiate with your young child and work out a deal to get them reading more or start issuing threats about taking away everything they enjoy, there is a much better tactic to employ before you declare warfare in your house.
As a certified Reading Specialist, I have assisted more than a thousand struggling or defiant children that either didn’t want to read or just did not have the literacy skills to do so. In any case, if a child is resistant to learning how to read, it will affect their academic achievement in all subjects.
Early Literacy Skills Equal Academic Success
Reading is needed for all subjects at every grade level. Even mathematics requires being able to read in school. There are numerous story problems presented to children of all ages. Plus, kids need to read the directions for all math problems before trying to solve them.
I have worked with countless students whose parents did not make reading a priority at home. That left the children entering kindergarten without knowing their letters (graphemes) and the sounds attributed to them (phonemes). Talk about being behind the ball early! These kids were always trying to play catch up from the get-go. Their self-esteem took a hit the moment they learned they were one of the only kids struggling, and perhaps it was at that juncture they developed a true dislike for school.
There has been plenty of research completed that details how children that had strong early literacy skills also experienced academic success across the board for years to come. In addition, it has also been shown that a young child who displays success in literacy early on will have a much better chance of achieving a higher income later on in life. Who would have thought that learning to read proficiently at a young age would mean you may have a better career 30 years into the future? When put this way, it's easy to see why many parents are asking about how to get kids interested in reading.
Make Certain the Child Knows How to Read Fluently
There is a chance that your child puts up such a fight against reading because they don’t know how. They struggle with it so mightily that they have reached the frustration level and just try to avoid it the best they can.
If this is the case, The National Reading Panel consists of experts in the field and they state that phonemic awareness and letter knowledge is the first intervention that should be put in place. A good systematic and sequential phonics and decoding program will do wonders. And when you combine this with learning Fry’s Instant Sight Words from flashcards, the distressed reader will become better in no time.
There Are Different Types of Reading
For children and adults, there are different types of reading that we all do. During school or at a job, we read for learning purposes that will educate us in some way. Recreational reading is done more in a person’s spare time for enjoyment and pleasure. Furthermore, we all read fiction differently than how we read nonfiction.
Find Out What the Child Loves
I have a confession to make that I share with all of my students. I was the worst reader in my first-grade class. It wasn’t even close. I grew up in a family of eleven and when I entered kindergarten, I wasn’t even close to knowing the alphabet. This led to me sitting in first grade and while all the kids were busily reading books, I was tuning out the world around me. I just wasn’t interested.
All of this changed when I finally discovered comic books. At first, I was just happy looking at all the colorful pictures in the comics. However, it wasn’t long before I wanted to know more about what was happening with my favorite superheroes. I started sounding out words like my life depended on it. And when I was stuck on a word, I would ask one of my older siblings. But they would only give me five seconds of their time, so the next word I became stuck on, I would have to ask a different sibling.
By the time second grade came along, I was one of the top readers in the class. In addition, I learned to sound out the words so well with my newly acquired phonics skills, that I became the class spelling bee champion for the next five years in a row! If you have a child or student that looks at reading as punishment, here are a few tips that will hopefully make life easier.
5 Tips for Turning Your Children into Readers
Here are some handy tips for how to get your kids interested in reading:
1. Supply Them with Books About Subjects That Interest Them
Just like comic books did the trick for me and inspired me to read more, you can experience the same thing. Some of my students over the years were interested in dogs, cats, sports, cars, etc… I made certain I had a good supply of books to choose from that were based around these topics.
2. Read with Them
Sit down and read these books with them and discuss what is happening in the story. Not only will they learn to read fluently with you, they will be developing needed comprehension skills.
3. Create a Reading Nook
Decorate a small reading nook where the child can disappear to and do their reading. Sometimes a small tent in their room is all they need. Place their small library of books in this nook so they always have a book to read. Don’t forget the comic books!
4. Make Reading Part of Their Schedule
If you make reading before bed part of their routine, they will likely follow it. All kids want to stay up later! In fact, on nights they don’t have school the next day, tell them they can stay up as late as they want as long as they are reading a book. This will have them looking forward to reading instead of dreading it.
5. Use Technology
There are a few really great websites and apps out there that have real books that kids can read online. In fact, for a small subscription fee, your child can have access to hundreds and thousands of books that they would otherwise find at the library. These can be accessed through just about any electronic device and it will be nice to see their screen time being put to good use.
The concept of how to get your kids interested in reading might seem intimidating, but with a little bit of trial and error, you will find the right strategy.