Often times parents become really concerned because their child is choosing not to read. I know the feeling. One day, while in second grade, my daughter announced that she wasn’t going to read any more!
I asked her how long she planned to keep this up and she responded, “Oh, maybe I’ll read when I’m a teenager.” And she literally stopped reading. This was crazy because my daughter had been a very strong reader since kindergarten!
We started getting letters from school saying that she was struggling with her reading. They even placed her into a remedial reading class and offered tutoring after school.
I must confess that I didn’t handle it in the best of ways. First, I lost my mind. Then I asked her in every conceivable way, why she wasn’t reading. Each time she would say, “I’m waiting until I’m a teenager.” At least she was consistent.
Then I came up with this great plan. I told her for every minute of television she had to give me three minutes of reading. So every night while I was preparing dinner, she would bring her chair and book into the kitchen with me.
This worked, but there is a less painful way I could have approached the problem. I think it worked because she was already a strong reader and there was a series on TV that she was really interested in at the time. So here is a better plan for you.
Find out what your child is interested in. Is it comic books, graphic novels, catalogs, magazines? Maybe it’s a story they’ve written themselves. Or a note you’ve written. It really doesn’t matter what they read as long as they are getting the practice.
Participate in the reading with them. How about having them read the recipe to you while you prepare a dish for dinner. Or better still, what about a recipe for a special treat. You can always have them read the instructions to you while you’re putting together the latest ‘assembly required’ purchase.
There’s also the old standby of reading their favorite book with them as each of you takes on the characters as if it were a Broadway production. The point is to make it fun and relationship building.
Fortunately for me, our daughter survived the kitchen chair torture and loves to read. So do her children. When it comes to encouraging our children, the key is relationship first, fun second, and torture last. (Please know I’m kidding about the torture option )