When I was a kid, I seemed to pick up on academic milestones pretty quickly. I was reading before I entered kindergarten and it was always noted on my report cards that I could read very well. Good reports continued throughout my whole school career and it’s never been something I struggled with thankfully.
We’re all built differently though, so when my son started to struggle with reading, I was not really sure what to do to help him. It’s not something I had to deal with and while I knew it wasn’t always going to be an issue for him, I wanted to make sure that we were giving him his best shot.
It’s a funny combination of trying to push him to try just a little harder, become interested in something that he really didn’t have too much interest in, while not making him hate the whole thing at the same time. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I wonder if it’s harder because he’s in a French Immersion program, but over the past few months I’ve seen lots of progress.
There are a few things we’re doing at home to help improve both his ability to read and his love of reading. One day, I hope it’s no longer a struggle for him and instead turns to something he really loves to do even when he doesn’t have to.
8 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Love of Reading 1 of 9
With a little bit of work, I am already seeing improvements thanks to taking these steps.
Choose Books of Interest 2 of 9
My son has books he has to read for school, but if I want to encourage him to read beyond what he has to, I've found getting books that are of interest to him really help. I've taken him with me to choose from the library or the book store and it's made a big difference.
Dual Language Help 3 of 9
Since my kids are in a French Immersion program, I found once I stated if the words were in English or French, it was easier for him to read. We have flash cards we use with common words -- one in French and another set in English and while it's a bit of a struggle now, I believe once it all clicks, he'll be off and running.
Daily Reading Time 4 of 9
We set aside about 30-45 minutes each night for reading. We usually choose 2 French books and one in English and spend that time reading them together before bed. It's made a big difference and he looks forward to doing it too.
Used Closed Captioning on TV 5 of 9
It may seem silly, but we have it on anyway and I've noticed him take an interest in the closed captioning on during his favorite movies. He will read along sometimes and does really well at that when the movie is paused. I think it helps that he knows what is being said and then can match it with the words too.
Read Outside Reading Time 6 of 9
It happens multiple times a day and during any conversation. We could be talking about apples and I'll stop and say "what does apple start with?" and it brings the spelling and reading into the every day. It makes it fun and he's interest stays.
Don’t Push Too Much 7 of 9
It's not unusual for him to get frustrated if there's extra noise around when he's trying to concentrate or if he's just not having a great day. Apart from our must-do nightly reading together, we try not to push too hard when he's resisting so much. I don't want him to resent and hate it either.
Go Beyond Just the Words 8 of 9
When we're reading, we don't just read what is on the page, but we talk a lot about what's happening in the pictures, what the story means, what we think is going to happen and so on. Allowing this conversation has increased his interest in the stories we're choosing, even if it's not always the story he wanted to hear.
Work With Different Methods 9 of 9
We read from books, magazines, televisions, using the iPad, Leapfrog Tag Readers, comic books and every day things. Doing so we seem to keep his interest longer so he's taking in a lot more too. He has some Star Wars games on the computer and his video games that encourage him to read and with things that interest him, he's more happy to give the reading a try.
Photo credits: photostock
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