Children need a reason to do anything. Ask them to read and they may have a look that undoubtedly says “must be crazy”. But if you ask them to play a video game, now that they will love to do - don't even have to ask them twice. It’s instinctive, fun is usually not related with reading, with learning and that may be a difficult thing to change in a child. Working in the school system I have learn a few tricks to share here today.
Be a leader. The natural instinct of a child is to follow, so in order to a child to follow, there must be a leader. The younger the child is the easier it is in the long run, but reading should be part of the whole and should be cheered on by other. By this example of reading, being the instigator of reading or by simply reading or creating stories before bed time will create interest and help foster the idea in a child’s mind that if everyone likes it – it must be fun.
Read the Movie. Most movies, especially those made today originated in the form of a book, take Harry Potter for instance. This buzz, this media frenzy invites children and teens a like to “want to read” the sequel book. This should be used to foster interest, desire and done as a group – remembering always that together (the follower and the leader) with foster an interest in reading and will help prevent fatigue or disinterest when words become a problem (understanding meanings of words).
System of Rewards. One of the things that motivate the children at school is any system that that rewards them for doing a good job. The AR program at school is one that rewards points for children reading at their grade level and being able to pass a simple test to insure understanding as well as proof of reading the book. Schools create a point system that when any child reaches a certain level, that child receives the specified reward for that tier. At FEW the school offers several tiers and the children are taken to a special treat at Dairy Queen and the top tier is a special limo ride to a restaurant of their choice. Parents are encouraged to motivate students to accomplish their goals in meeting the desired tier level. It doesn’t have to be expensive, the last treat offered to our students was an AR super heroes party where staff dressed as heroes while party activities abound and treats flowed in abundance.
Encourage, motivate and persevere. Every child is different and what works for one may not work for another. Patience and perseverance is the key to this endeavor in motivating and encouraging children to read. In the end the goal should not be to have your child be a winner of a contest or frustrate them turning reading into a chore. It should be geared towards fostering an interest and a love for reading. Reading should also be a time of togetherness, of family, of building bonds. If you can do that, loving to read will build a desire to read.
- Read with them to help build interest and to show that reading is important to you as well.
- Make reading fun, an enjoyable activity.
- Ask questions; apply what was read to real world activity or knowledge.
- Stick to what most interest the child and gradual incorporate more advance reading depending on child’s comprehension skills.
- Remove or allocate reading time and place from any possible distractions, make it something akin to alone time.
- Make it a family thing, a time of bonding, togetherness, a place where questions can be asked and time is given with full attention to the child’s needs.
- Learning is fun, reading is enjoyable, remind them that it is. Live, act and be a reader.