We have spoken before about empowering reluctant readers by letting them have some control over what they read. James Patterson has some additional tips in his article How to get your kid to be a fanatic reader on www.cnn.com. He begins by letting us know that “Sorry, moms and dads, but it’s your job – not the schools’ – to find books to get your kids reading and to make sure they read them.”
Of course it is, we parents are our children’s first teachers. We need to follow their lead to see what kinds of things they may enjoy reading. Pick a topic they are avidly interested in, and find books that appeal to that interest. Sports lovers may enjoy reading about famous players or coaches, animal lovers can enjoy fictional stories featuring animals, or books on true animal adventures.
It is ok to re-read favorite books, too, just like it is ok to watch favorite movies again, and listen to favorite music over and over. In Kids Health, Laura L Bailet, PhD says “Many kids reach for the same books over and over again. That’s OK. Through repetition kids can master the text and eventually sail through it with ease and confidence. Each new reading of the book may also help them understand it just a little better. And that positive experience may inspire them to give new books a try.”
Reading Role Models
Mr. Patterson discusses some possibilities for reading role models in the article, but they really don’t do the job, especially for younger children. As he pointed out earlier, helping your child want to read is the parent’s responsibility, and being a role model is a great way to let children see reading as a joyful activity, and not drudgery. Let them sit with you while you read the newspaper. Have books around and spend some time reading when the kids can see you doing it. And of course, use the READS program to jump start discussions with your kids on what they are reading! Helping parents help their children read is why we created READS.