When you have a child who doesn’t seem fussed about reading, it’s hard to know what to do to encourage them without putting too much pressure on and turning them off even more. As a bookworm myself, it’s even harder as I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t like to read. If not for the adventure and learning, just for the want to find out more for other subjects and topics. Reading really is the gateway to great things. And really helps with school.
You see articles and posts on how to get your reluctant readers to read (yes, I did write one myself, because who better than someone going through the same issues), but you can try everything that’s recommended and still not get them to read.
- Introduce books from early on – tick
- Read as part of bedtime stories to make it a regular habit – tick
- Have books and reading materials of all sorts easily accessible – tick
- Let them see you reading – tick
- Let them choose the reading materials – tick
- Check their eye sight – tick
- Talk to the teacher for tips and methods to try – tick
And everything else inbetween.
There’s only one we can’t crack which is frustrating, is to get the OH to read with N. Because it’s proven that boys especially, need male role models to improve their reading. And the OH only flicks through farming magazines, he doesn’t read anything else and won’t even listen to N read.
We increased N’s reading ability and progression in year 2. So much of it was down to his teacher, putting N on reading boosters which meant reading to a teacher, TA or parent in school , 3-4 times a week. It helped so much with his fluency and confidence. N realised he could read. But it was still painful to get him to read out of school.
Moving into year 3 he’s back to reading a couple of times a week to people in school, and they do a lot of quiet reading during downtime in class. The only problem with this is that he then thinks he’s done his reading for the day and won’t read to me in the evening. So I’m lucky to get 1-2 pages out of him.
The bonus with moving to key stage 2 is there’s no more reading levels. They can choose a book from a specific shelf – moving them onto chapter books.
N loves a chapter book. But he has no staying power, so it takes so long to get through a book that several months later, he’s switched between other books from the library or from after school club that he’s found. Currently, he’s got:
- A school book on dinosaur adventures (dull) that he’s not touched for about 3 weeks
- Peter Rabbit (the film version) which has been renewed from the library twice
- Odious Oceans (a geography version of Horrible Histories) borrowed from after school club, similarly hasn’t been touched for a few weeks.
But we might have another breakthrough.
N went to lunchtime book club at school.
Yes, my child who won’t read out of choice, chose to give up playtime to go and read books. The fact it was raining a lot of the day and they probably had inside playtime might have had something to do with it, but he went to book club, without his usual friends.
Evidently they’d usually do some reading, but this time were doing some pictures based on their favourite David Walliams book. We’ve read a few together, but for some reason he
He got to choose a book to take home, and chose a huge Tom Gates book. They’re not my favourite children’s books to read, but I think N likes the fact that it’s a boy, the format of the book is quite fun and short rather than paragraphs, and there are plenty of pictures. He’s already read quite a bit of it, and I suggested that he read that one at bedtime, and then we’ll get through Peter Rabbit as part of his homework reading. So we’ll see how that goes.
Last week, N also chose old picture books to read to me at bedtime rather than me reading a book to him. The picture books were way too easy for him, and obviously he remembered some of them from having them as bedtime stories when he was younger, but they let him do some great reading and expression.
I don’t know how long the enthusiasm will last, but I’m hoping this is a breakthrough and N will start to see that reading for pleasure is enjoyable, rather than reading just being for homework because he has to. And maybe we need to tidy up all the piles of read bedtime books that are dumped on the floor next to his bedside table, so he can actually see what he’s got to read instead of being overwhelmed by the books lying around.
How keen are your children on reading? What books do they enjoy?
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