Did you know that you should read with your child for 20 minutes every night? Yep! 20 minutes. Check out this chart to see the huge benefits to having your child read for this amount of time.
However... what do you do if you child doesn't want to read? What do you do if they whine, cry or complain about it? Each of our kids did this at some point during their early elementary school years, but the teacher in me had a few tricks up my sleeve.
What to do if your child hates to read:
- Play the tickle monster. When our son, Ethan, didn't want to read, I told him that for every page he would read, I would tickle him. It worked like a charm! He read three books that night!
- Take your child to pick out their own book at the library. Do not make an suggestions and offer no judgement. Let your child read it when he wants to and where he wants to. Total freedom.
- Slowly adjust their taste in reading to harder books, once they get into really reading.
- "We had a problem with my kindergartener too, so I let her loose in the library. My husband was mortified by the amount of princesses per page on the books that she picked! She is in 3rd grade now, and we think she reads too much! She reads everywhere, no matter where she goes she has a book with her. Well, and her screen time is very-very limited.... " ~Romashka Lana
- Choose different books and find out which one interests your child.
- Get them their own library card.
- Read in front of your child - magazines, recipes, books, articles - it doesn't matter as long as they see you reading.
- Have a DEAR night. Drop Everything And Read for 20 minutes every night. The whole family participates.
- Print this reading log and let your child fill it out. Reward him at the end of it with a new book to keep.
- Read to them. If you don't have time one night, let them get onto StoryLineOnline, a free site where actors & actresses read books to your child (the pictures come to life, too). Starfall.com is another one that I used when I taught.
- Let them stay up later, but ONLY to read. We let our older boys stay up 30 minutes later than their younger siblings if they want to read. (They always say yes.)
- Play games, like Sight Word Bingo.
- Label things around the house.
- Re-read books to your child and let your child re-read them to you. This helps with their comprehension (how well they understood and remember what they read) and their fluency (how quickly they can read it), as well as simply helping with word recognition.
- Try not to correct every mistake. This not only makes your child lose confidence, but it slows his fluency. Your child should be able to figure out that the word was wrong by the end of the sentence, because it doesn't make sense.
Example: If it says "The pig played in the mud" and your child says "The pig pallyied in the mud", he will probably pause after reading it, realizing that what he just said makes no sense. You can step in at that time and offer some guidance.
- If your child is missing more than one word per sentence, the book is too hard. Suggest a different book.
- Scale way back on electronics and soon a book will become a welcomed form of entertainment.
- Be sure to have your child's eyes checked. Our son really disliked reading and it turned out that he could hardly see the words. Once he had on his glasses, he like was a new child!
- Find books with not too many words per page. It seems silly, I know, but it seems to overwhelm the discouraged reader. Work up to these types of books, with more words and sentences, but start small.
- "Try starting a mother/daughter or mother/son book club. I started one with my older daughter during her Kindergarten year (age 5) , and the group stayed together until they started high school this year (she's now 15)! I truly believe reading a book at the same time as some other close friends helped her develop a LOVE of reading. Our group met every other month (we kept it realistic with other commitments!) and I absolutely loved having the opportunity to read along with her well beyond the toddler years! Our discussions were great and very eye opening about what was going on with our girls lives at each stage of their life. I also have a 7 year old (2nd grade) and I started a book club with her and her friends too. I already see the passion she has for reading and I hope it continues like it did with her big sis." ~Carolyn Robinson
- Try team-reading where you read a page and he can read a page. We do this with paragraphs, too.
- If your child loves baking, have him read recipes. If he collects baseball cards, have him read the backs of the cards.
- Make new bookmarks for his favorite books.
- Ask family members to write easy letters and send it in the mail to your child. It will be a welcomed form of reading, just to find out what they had to say.
- Turn on the closed captioning on your television. My friend's mom was blind, so they had it on constantly. He said that he was reading at a very early age because of the closed captioning that was on all of his favorite shows.
- Reading can be tricky, because not everyone enjoys reading. If your child hates to read, try some of these suggestions.
You can't force your child to read, but you can instill a love of reading into your child with the right books and atmosphere. These reading activities will help.