We all have our likes and dislikes, even when it comes to things that are good for us. One of my children has always liked vegetables, while another loathes them. My wife craves physical activity, and I think of exercise as more of a chore. I’m always reading three or four books at once; my brother can’t remember the last time he read a book. As parents, I’m sure we all have our favorite tactics for encouraging our children to eat healthy foods and stay physically active. But do we have strategies for motivating them to read?
I recently came across some great ideas for helping kids to become more successful readers. Ann Lodgson, a school psychologist who specializes in helping parents and teachers help struggling students, offers the following five strategies for motivating reluctant readers with reading activities they will enjoy.
1. Pair books with audio books
Many libraries have both printed and audio versions of books. Check them out and have your child follow the words in the printed book as the audio book plays. Or, have your child read a chapter, then listen to the chapter on tape.
2. Use your television’s closed caption feature
Turn on closed captioning on your TV or a favorite DVD. Following the captions can help your child improve sight word vocabulary while also helping him or her get a better feel for the way both written and spoken language flows.
3. Create your own books on tape
Research shows that kids’ reading skills improve when they listen to themselves read. Have your child read a book into a voice recorder and then listen to the recording. Kids can record stories and listen to their recordings in several of Imagine Learning English’s activities.
4. Read together as a family
Set aside a half hour every evening just for family reading. Family members can read individually and then talk about what they read, or they can take turns reading to each other from the same book.
5. Adapt reading materials to your child’s reading level
If your child struggles to read the materials required to learn subject matter at school, read the material yourself and help your child with the meaning and pronunciation of new words. Demonstrate how to look up new words and help your reader through difficult passages. If your child has a disability, check with your school district or library for CD versions of textbooks or for text readers that can be used on your home computer.
Investing the time and energy to implement these strategies can help transform your reluctant reader into a more confident and competent reader—and maybe even an eager one.
For more information on how Imagine Learning supports struggling readers, click here.