As a child I was captivated by books. I loved to curl up on the couch, wrapped in an afghan, block the world around me and read. At six years of age I read Charlotte’s Web and felt like a grown up because I could read a chapter book. Although, I couldn’t understand why someone would name their little girl ‘Fern’. To me a fern was a plant and not a girl. Little did I know I would come across much more names that would sound strange to me later in life.
I loved books so much that my mother called me anti-social and was concerned I didn’t have any friends. She was partially right on both accounts.But it was through books that I was inspired to find my career path and become a chef. I read a story about a girl who became a caterer and the trials and joys that she went through in her journey to start her business. It sounded like something I would enjoy. After a few cooking classes I was hooked. I later attended my local technology school enrolled in the culinary arts program. After high school I went on to get a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and my bachelors in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University, graduating with honors. And it all stated with a book.
Reading is not always an easy task for all children as it was for me. There are many children who struggle to find joy in reading. Our oldest was one of these children in the first grade. It was like pulling teeth to get her to read. Begging, pleading, reasoning, bargaining, and fanageling were a nightly routine in getting her to pick up a book and read it. Here are some techniques we used to get her engrossed in books and loving the written word.
Find a topic they like. So often the readings that come home with my first grader were flat and boring for her. She liked to see a character develop in a series from book to book. She liked to read funny, silly parts of books. If it had snot or body functions in the text all the better. If you child loves sports ask your librairan to point you towards some books that have a sports theme. Perhaps a short biography of their favorite baseball player. If your child likes to discover how things are put together find a book that is more instructional verses having a story line. I think the only book my husband read all the way through as a child was a bike repair manual. As an adult he is changing axles in the truck, swapping out engines, rotating tires, rewiring the audio system in the car and installing lift kits on Jeeps. I can’t begin to tell you the thousands of dollars he has saved us in car repairs just from doing all his own work. It all started when he picked up the bike repair manual.
Set up a comfortable place. I wasn’t picky as a young reader. I could take an arm chair or just sprawl out on my bed but some kids need a reading nook. Just a place set apart for them to have some distance from the television, computer games, video games and anything that would distract them from being engrossed in a book. Some kids could get good use out of a Play Tent. They take up a bit of floor space but if you are working to get your kid to love reading I am sure you will be willing to make the sacrifice. Toss some pillows, a blanket and a flashlight in there and you have a place that will allow your child to be engaged in a book. If the play tent is not for you but want a place to retreat just toss a blanket over a couple of chairs or let it hang from the edge of a table. Remember making forts out of sheets as a kid? Same concept. Let them create a place that is their own and they can retreat too to read.
Read in teams. This works even if you don’t have a younger child for the older child to read too. Have your child read out loud to a favorite toy, doll, or even the family dog. Reading to an animal has its merits. There are even dogs that will be invited to school as a sort of therapy dog for kids to read too. There is something soothing about reading to an animal who will not be correcting you or prompting you as you struggle though a sentence. Some times a child just needs a listening ear of an animal. Another technique we have used with our five year old is to have each person taking a side of the book. I would read the right page and she would read the left page. Some times I would have more words to read but some times she would have more words to read. Also you could switch off reading sentences. This keeps them engaged in the story and anticipating their turn.
Get a book light. There is something wonderful about reading in the dark. I think the reader is better able to block out the world around them and dive into the pages. I remember being told to “turn off that light!” almost nightly. I was always wanting one more page or one more chapter. We got our girls a book light this summer and both of them love going to bed and reading. I love the little light because is is a LED and has a flexible arm on it so they can angle the light to where they need it. This light also has a clip on it so they can clip it to the book they are reading or to their headboards. These lights have also traveled in the cars with us when we have had night driving to do.
These are just four techniques we have used to get our girls reading and loving it! I hope something sparks for your little reader and they have a lifetime love of reading.
What do you to do to encourage reading in your household? What has worked for you? Comment below so we can all learn.Pin It