Instead of reaching for and opening a great book, many kids today find that it is easier and more fun to spend time in front of a T.V., tablet or phone. Although there are many benefits to time spent with technology, research shows that there are far greater benefits for children who spend time reading. Research is quite clear; if kids spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading it will improve their vocabulary, comprehension, imagination, verbal skills and it directly influences their writing skills. The difficulty many parents face these days is getting kids to see the importance of reading, an even greater challenge for parents may be simply getting their kids to open a book and begin reading. So often, parents hear, “This book is boring…”, or “I don’t like to read…”, or “This is stupid…”. If you are a parent who is hearing these phrases on a regular basis there may be some easy steps you can take to help fix it!
- Has your student chosen a ‘’just right book”? Has your child picked a book that isn’t too hard for them? Ask them to read out loud to you, count how many words they stumble on as they read. If they stumble over five or more words then the book might be too challenging for them.
- Is the book interesting? Ask your child what they already know about the book? Have them read the summary, look at pictures, skim through the first chapter or so. Ask them what they think the book might be about (have them make some predictions!). Ask them how they chose this book. Answers to these questions will help you and your child determine whether or not the book will hold their interest.
- Does your child need to find a different book? It’s okay for your child to abandon a book after giving it a try. If they have read the first several chapters and just can’t get into it, it’s okay to put it down and find something else. However, don’t let this become a habit! Have a discussion about why they want to abandon it, sometimes the beginning can be a bit confusing especially if there are a lot of characters to sort out, or they setting is a place that the child is unfamiliar with. These issues can be cleared up by discussing and re-reading a few pages. Sometimes, just like T.V. shows or movies, we get started and soon learn it wasn’t what we were expecting, so we turn it off or switch the channel. Readers do this too! There’s too many books out there to suffer through a bad one!
- Guidance needed! Kids need guidance at the library and bookstore. They walk in and immediately all they see are rows and rows of books! This can be overwhelming! This is where an experienced teacher, a well-read librarian or friend who is a reader can be of great help! Don’t expect a reluctant reader to know how to choose or what to choose when it is their time to get a book!