If you are an anxious parent who is trying hard to make your child to read outside of school and with little success, you are probably doing the following mistakes:
Mistake #1 Read, only then...
"Read, only then your vocabulary will improve."
"Read one passage per day. That way you will learn new words."
"Read this book. It is a good book." "Why aren't you reading it?"
There is something common in all the above statements. "Reading" as an activity is something that is parent enforced. Like several other advice the child gets while growing up, this is another one which tells them to do something because it is good for them - their vocabulary will grow. While that is a nice goal to have, from a child's perspective it is simply another "To do" rather than "something to look forward to."
It is true, that a good vocabulary goes a long way in enabling children to understand better what they read, speak well, write impactfully etc. These make sense from an adult perspective as we are result oriented.
From a child's perspective anything that guarantees fun is awesome. Watching TV, playing video games, playing all day...sounds so good! 😀
"Read, only then your vocabulary will grow" sounds less awesome. 😒
What you say to make them read matters:
Reading for pleasure is not just about vocabulary building. It is a lot more than just that. It is about:
developing new interests.
exploring different worlds and characters.
making judgements about what a character chooses to do in any given situation.
anticipating what could happen next.
understanding the relevance of the usage of a particular word in a particular context.
observing each author's writing style.
even sharing one's opinions/interpretations with peers in a group and in the process discovering new perspectives.
Here are a few suggestions to change the nature of the conversation you have with your child when it comes to reading.
"How is the book you chose to read going? What did you like about it so far?
"Was there something funny?" or "Was there something that made you ponder?"
"Do you think I should give this book a try?"
Mistake # 2 Choosing a book for your child every single time
It is universally true that reading preferences differ from adult to adult, child to child, adult to child too. Which is why there are different genres of books to represent a variety of interests. Your child need not have the same reading preferences as you. Ask yourself, will you read any book that an adult pushes into your hand?
Allow them to choose from a library that has a vast collection
Yes, there will be some hits and misses. Sure sometimes they would borrow a book and not touch it once back home. Let it go. Give them time and space to explore the world of books at their own pace. You getting anxious seeing them not touch the book they borrowed is not helping them nor you.
Sure sometimes they would borrow a book and not touch it once back home.
You getting anxious seeing them not touch the book they borrowed is not helping them nor you.
Mistake #3 Read classics, the language is very good.
Sure, classics are marvellous reads if you like those stories set in times during which we did not exist. However, if you have least interest in history, reading a story that is set in times about which you have no clue or interest in, can be a real punishment!
However, if you have least interest in history, reading a story that is set in times about which you have no clue or interest in, can be a real punishment!
Modern children's literature has excellent language too
There is no dearth of modern children's literature today. Children born in this era are fortunate as beautiful books are being written and published every single year. What's more they are set in times that children find it easy to relate to. Understanding that children in the same age group can have different interests and reading levels, the publishing industry has found ways to cater to different preferences and needs.
How to find quality books available in the field of children's literature today?
The Facebook group Reading Racoons is an excellent place to ask for recommendations.
Seek help from your librarian.
Mistake # 4 Read Harry Potter, your language skills will improve.
The Harry Potter series are a delightful read for many but not all. This is not the only book or genre available today. It's possible that if your child is not taking to this series it is because he or she is not interested or is not ready for it yet. The harm is even more when the child is not ready and is forced to read the series. The fact that the child finds it high makes reading an even more difficult task than it actually is.
The harm is even more when the child is not ready and is forced to read the series. The fact that the child finds it high makes reading an even more difficult task than it actually is.
How to decide if the book matches your child's reading level
If your child does not know more than 5 words in any given page, the book is high.
If your child is unable to understand entire paragraphs or the plot of the story, the book is probably too high.
Mistake # 5 You have to finish reading this book that we bought. Only then will we buy another book.
Buying a book can be a hit or miss. What may seem like a great book can be very boring for some. Being made to read something that fails to interest or perhaps is too high is like asking a toddler to trek up a mountain.
Spend time with your child researching about books to buy
If you prefer buying then do make time for research to collect ample information to decide with your child if purchasing a given book is a good idea. Even better involve your children in the research, giving them a feeling of importance and in the process giving them a "say" in the book buying decision based on the information collected.
Even better involve your children in the research, giving them a feel of importance and in the process giving them a "say" in the book buying decision based on the information collected.
Give your child the gift of reading by making it an experience that they can look forward to. They don't watch TV because something good comes out of it. They watch because no one is going to test them based on what they watched. They like playing video games because no one judges them and there is no "carrot or stick" involved. They love playing with friends freely, because it is fun. Reading too can be fun!