December 29, 2020-Let’s talk about reluctant readers! What are they and what can we do about it? Reluctant readers are defined as any child who does not show an interest in reading. They may actively resist reading, mask their dislike by clowning around or misbehaving when asked to read, become easily frustrated during reading, or need to be coaxed into picking up a book.
We know that literacy matters and that it’s the key to success; that’s why we need to encourage children to enjoy reading at a young age, the sooner they learn to love books, the better! Illiteracy impacts 12 million Canadians, here’s how to ensure that your child does not become a statistic:
- Start early-One of the most critical time frames for brain development in children is 6-12 months old. Read with your child. Although they may not understand what you’re saying or the words on the page, you’re setting them up for success! You’re introducing them to sounds, words, visual stimulation, and spending valuable time with them bonding over books.
- Start small-If your reluctant reader is a bit older, start small-start by reading the back of the cereal box, street signs, grocery items, and other daily use items. Label the items in your home and make a game of it!
- Focus on their interests– Whatever your kid wants to read, let them! Whether it’s short stories, Manga, poetry, comic books, or graphic novels, let them read! Do they love sports? Maybe they love fashion, adventures, or animals! Whatever they want to read about that interests them, encourage it!
- Go graphic-Graphic novels are still novels! Yes, they have pictures, but if your child enjoys reading these types of books, allow them. Any reading is better than none.
- Read together-Spending time reading together as a family makes magical memories that will last a lifetime! Take turns reading to each other and carve out some time each day to read. Treat it as a ritual, something sacred and special!
- Make it fun– Pair interactive activities to encourage reading. Have your kids read the book before seeing the movie and have a discussion afterward of which was better and why. Host a scavenger hunt with themed items from the book e.g. An acorn, bird’s nest, a daisy, a blue car, etc. Set up a reading chart with stickers for each book completed and see how many books can be read by the end of the year for an epic prize (maybe a new book, bookmark, or digital book download).
Reading is power! Books are portable magic that expand our minds and imaginations! You cannot be a good writer if you don’t read-remember that. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the tools to write, it’s that simple.
Here are some of our favourite options for the reluctant reader in your life: