You’ve tried everything to encourage your children to read, but they’re still not interested. Here are some tips that you can try to start them up with their reading.
Spark their interest. Success in reading starts with developing a genuine love for reading. Exposing children with books at a young age can actually do the trick. How young? As soon as they can see and recognize colors! Babies can already enjoy bath books and board books. Surround children with books and they will get curious. Spend time reading books with them and they will see reading as a pleasurable activity.
Parents who love to read can also serve as good role models for children who are just discovering the magic in books. Helping your child develop genuine interest and love for reading requires you to be the first person to show them that reading is such a pleasurable and rewarding activity. At the same time, this must be coupled with a print-rich environment, which immerses the child in all kinds of reading materials. In short, reading must be part of the children's context so it can interest them even at an early age.
Boost their confidence. Some children may not develop reading naturally compared to others. It is crucial that parents help their children find their strength as well as their talents. Children who have reading difficulties need not be told about what they can’t do, but you can certainly highlight what they can do well. Encouraging children to face their difficulties by reminding them of their strengths will allow them to trust themselves. They will be motivated to think that if they exert more effort and be guided accordingly, they can be good readers, too, like other children. Comparisons with relatives or classmates will make matters worse. Never compare your children with other kids because no two children are alike even if they are siblings.
There are times when professional help is needed. Again, proper communication does the trick. Children have a great capacity to understand. Before enrolling your children in any activity, talk to them and explain why they need to enroll in such programs. Engaging children in decisions that concern them allows them to understand the benefits that they can get from these programs. For parents, know your limitations, too. Be open for help if you feel like you cannot address your children’s problems alone.
Engage them in their learning. A lot of children don’t like to read because they don’t understand or find relevance in the reading materials at all! Communication is still the trick in order to make your children see the value of the reading materials that they are asked to read. For instance, if your child is tasked to read an article about history, engage yourself in a few minutes of conversation as to why we need to go back to these periods in history. If you can make references to these historical events to current events, then, children will see the connections of then and now. Time is another valuable factor. You can only communicate with your children better if you will spend time with them and be involved in their reading development.
Often, addressing these core issues in a child’s literacy development proves to be a challenging task for parents. No doubt, acquisition of literacy skills and motivation in reading are crucial components of your child’s holistic development. Hence, as a parent who wants only the best for your children, do not waste any moment and start engaging them in the pleasurable and rewarding journey of reading.
Remember, a child who can and will read has an advantage in school and life in general.
By Daisy Jane Cunanan-Calado, a Reading Specialist with an M.A. on Reading Education. She is currently the center director of Read+, a reading intervention and enrichment center in Greenhills. She has provided educational trainings all over the country in order to help educate parents and teachers on effective strategies in engaging children to develop a genuine love for reading and become successful readers. Write to her at [email protected] or call Read+ at 510-77-58.
ALSO READ: Family First: Raising Kids as Good Decision Makers
Digital Illustration by Jana Jimenez