Reading is difficult for many children. As an elementary teacher and reading specialist, I noticed that among other factors, decreased motivation played a significant role in student reading achievement.
Children want to succeed and feel accomplished. However, they quickly become frustrated when they see their peers reading and they are not. If children notice their parents or teachers frustrated with their reading ability, then getting them to read will become a battle.
One of the most frequently asked questions I received from parents was “How do I encourage my child to read?” If this many parents are asking this question in my classroom, there must be countless others asking the same thing.
Here are 4 positive ways to encourage your child to read and love it!
I can’t say this enough, praise, praise, praise. Even if your child is only able to identify one letter or one basic word, give them praise. In the classroom, praise has been my #1 tool for student success. When children receive praise, it builds their self-confidence and despite the struggle, they realize they can do it.
Choose Books of Interest
Children read books selected by their teachers all day everyday. It is rare for there to be self-selected reading time in an ever growing, busy class schedule. The positive side is that selecting their own books is becoming more of a treat. Take advantage and spend some quality time with your child at the library or bookstore. Learn the topics that interest them and keep an eye out for any resources in that category. Inevitably, the child will eventually select a book that is too challenging or above their age range. You could do one of two things: redirect their attention to a more age appropriate book or get that book and read it to them. Students benefit from others reading to them. Children notice the fluency and intonation of the reader and will begin ready this way too. We must model fluent reading for our children. A double bonus is if you allow them to get the challenging book they will be ecstatic and you get more quality time together later.
This is somewhat of a teacher term so some of you may not be familiar with environmental print. Honestly, it is just noticing all of the print around you in different environments. Children love environmental print and it’s easy to create games like “I Spy” using the words around you. Next time you go to the grocery store have your child read the names or logos of their favorite foods. Allow them to read the menu at their favorite restaurant and join in too. Reading should be interactive between parent and child. So, start having fun reading the words around you each day with your child. Plus, your child will be able to read many of these words because they encounter them frequently. Provide lots of praise for your child and watch their confidence soar.
Set Attainable Goals and Celebrate!
Goals will be different for each child and that is expected. Based on your child’s reading ability, create a goal that is attainable. If they are struggling with the alphabet, then don’t make their goal to read an entire book independently. Instead, have your child set a goal to recite the entire alphabet. When your child achieves their goal, give them lots of praise and do an activity of their choice to celebrate! Make sure you intentionally make time to celebrate and use that momentum to set the next attainable goal.
As long as you keep a positive attitude and try these recommendations, you will be steps closer to your child reading fluently.