Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reading encouragement...

As a tutor, I see plenty of kids who have difficulty reading.  For some there are learning disabilities to contend with, others have no reading role models, and some read well but complain that it is boring.  Here are my ideas and tips to encourage children to be readers:

  • Make sure the kids see you reading every day (books, newspapers, magazines...they all count).
  • Provide a variety of materials, at a variety of reading levels, and make sure they are easily accessible.
  • Visit the library, and take advantage of library and book store story time.
  • Have your children read to their pets.
  • Read together and take turns. My son is 13, and we still take turns and share our reading time.
  • Discuss what your child is reading.
  • Accept that what you want your children to read might be very different from what they want to read.
My son is capable of reading books at a much higher difficulty level, but he likes the story in this one.  Let your child read books that engage them, and give them access to books that are easy, right on their level, and challenging - have a mix available.

"My child won't sit still long enough to read"
  • Let your child stand while they read.
  • Give your child a stress ball to squeeze during reading time.
  • Allow your child to draw while you read to them - ask them to draw a picture that relates to what you are reading aloud.
  • If it won't cause too much distraction, have your child sit on an exercise ball, and bounce a bit while reading.  Or, get a rocking horse or something similar that gives the child a place to stay while also allowing them to move a bit.
  • Is your reading space comfortable?  My son likes to pile up a ton of blankets and pillows and then sit in the middle like a bird in a nest.
  • Get out of the house for your reading session.  Lay in the grass to read, go to a coffee shop to read, sit on a park bench while you read.  
  • Read while walking - I actually really like to read while I walk.  Obviously this causes some problems - how do you read and watch where you are going at the same time?  It takes practice, but can be done...  Or, have the child read, while you keep a hand on their shoulder to guide them while you walk together.

Frequently I hear from parents of boys when it comes to reading issues, and often the complaints could all be easily resolved by engaging in the above activities and behaviors.  Obviously if there is a learning disorder, then that needs to be addressed by a professional.  

For more on reading with your kids, in particular on reading with boys, check out these books and links:
Reading together...I was reading a book while leaning forward, and JP grabbed his book and used me as his pillow.

Look for a future blog posts with a list of book recommendations for various ages and stages...


  1. I was just on a forum where people were complaining about the lack of good books for 8-9yo boys in the Magic Tree House level but wanting more.

    I can't wait for your list (hope you include that stage).

  2. Ohh! I love this list! Thank you for posting! My oldest is 10 and there is a series of books by Pseudonymous Bosch, "The name of this book is secret." Its a really good read!


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