Updated: Sep 22, 2022
As parents and teachers, we often ask ourselves why our students and/or children never pick up a book without being asked to. We get frustrated because it becomes a chore for both parties for reading to take place. We say things like: "no screen time until you read for at least 20 minutes," or we use it as a punishment.
As a young, homeschooled child, I absolutely loved to read. I would speed through all of my other coursework because the book I was currently reading was my reward. I didn't like playing video games or watching tv as much as I loved to lose myself in a good book. It was easy to teach me how to read, because I grasped the concepts easily, and I enjoyed it.
However, my younger brothers were completely different, and my mom struggled to get them to read because it just didn't come as naturally to them. Like I said before, it would become a chore to get them to read sometimes because they needed more guidance.
All this being said, I want to give you a few suggestions and tips as to why your child might not like to read and how to help them develop a love (or at least not hate) for reading. Obviously this does not go for everyone, because every child is different, but I have come to realize that you can almost always teach a child to read and to enjoy reading, if you just take the time to figure out the way they learn, and what they enjoy learning about.
The first thing that you should find out is your child's learning style. In my previous blog, I went through the 7 main types of learning. Many students who are not automatically avid readers, are auditory or kinesthetic learners. A super easy way to get them into a story is to read it out loud while they follow along, or allow the use of audiobooks.
Ask them what they are interested in. It takes only a few seconds to find out if they are interested in animals, or sports, or aviation. Then, you are able to use this by saying something like: "I found this cool book on planes that I think you will really enjoy! How about we check it out together." If the child is interested in the topic, even if they are struggling with reading, they are much more likely to put in the work to decode words if they want to understand what the book is about.
The student might have a learning disability related to reading. Maybe they have dyslexia and every time they look at a page filled with words, the words become jumbled up and it confuses them. This is where that 1-1 time is so important. If an entire paragraph stresses them out, cover up everything but a sentence. Use the color coder reading strips to focus on one section at a time. Review and repeat basic phonics skills as often as you can, then allow them to practice these skills in text.
Don't make reading a punishment. Find creative ways to make it fun and do it with them until they are comfortable to read on their own. Reading, in my opinion, is the most important skill that you can learn in school and at home. If your child learns to read but doesn't enjoy reading 500 paged novels every week, there is nothing wrong with that. But when they develop stress or anxiety towards reading at a young age, it can become detrimental if we don't try out best to change that.
Check out my phonics and read-alouds on Youtube!