Just the other day, I was relaxing in my grand library, watching the young dragons and future knights pick their literary treasures for the week. I thought to myself, reading is what will one day make them great. It's true. The child who suffers in reading is the one who will suffer in life.
Of course, there's my young trolls and ghouls who are not such avid readers. They reluctantly tramp through the many shelved adventures, snorting and grumbling that there are better things to do with their days. (such as chasing dragons and crushing knights.) We all have encountered them, have we not? Those reluctant readers?
This dilemma sends my tiara twirling. I would love to simply declare a new law that all must read and love it, but alas, we can't make a youngster love to read, can we?
We can, however, strive to make reading times more enjoyable. Consider some of these possibilities on how to make reading a little more fun for your ghoulish reader.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. ~Mark Twain, attributed
Let's face facts, a love for reading has to be developed.
First things first: if your child struggles with reading, eliminate any possibility of there being a learning disability or reading problem such as dyslexia. If words are jumping around the page, or if they have difficulty hearing words or sounding them out, then they will never love reading without help. Schools have programs designed specifically to help children with dyslexia, or those learning below their level of ability.
However, if your child has no disabilities, then they can find reading enjoyable if you make it fun. Every site I explored about helping reluctant readers repeated the same two things: read out loud to your children and provide plenty of reading material throughout every room in the house. Did you know there are books that can be taken into the bathtub?
Reading aloud means more than sitting in a chair to read a book. Take them to the bookstore and library for story times. Look for places that have exceptional storytellers and revisit often. There's nothing like hearing a story to help children find enjoyment in the written word.
If you have never said "Excuse me" to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time. ~Sherri Chasin Calvo
Make time for reading. This is a must. Here at the Castle, we avoid turning on the television until after dinner. That quiet time before is reserved for reading and homework. If it's scheduled, it'll become a routine which then forms a lifetime habit.
What about when you are waiting in lines at the grocery store? Instead of fighting over getting a piece of candy, challenge your child to read the wrappers, or the magazine headlines to you. If they do it well, then maybe they've earned a treat.
With the popularity of smart phones and ipads, any time spent waiting can be time spend playing word games or reading e-books.
"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray. Go throw your TV set away! And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall."
--Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
OK, I know asking people to get rid of the television isn't going to happen. However, you can use it to your benefit. Use television time as a reward, not a necessity. Do keep viewing time to a only a few hours a week if possible.
Here's something fun you can do while watching the tube:
Turn the volume down on their favorite TV show and hit the subtitles button. Read the script with them and try to mimic the character's voices. Sponge-bob has an exceptionally, high whiny sounding voice.
Challenge your child to read a book that has been made into a movie. Once the book is finished, watch the movie together and compare similarities and differences between the two. They may soon find, as most of us know, that the movies really aren't as good as the book itself.
Remember, reading is something meant to be enjoyed. Don't force your child to read. Do, find ways to encourage them by providing material on things they enjoy doing. If they'd rather be outside playing soccer, find books about how to be a better soccer player.
Most important, take time to read yourself and model a love of reading. They will follow you. Especially if you make it special where you connect and spend time together discussing the marvels inside those adventurous pages.
Happy Reading Friends,