February 8, 2016

Get Your Child to LOVE Reading

February is American Heart Month! It’s only fitting to discuss an activity that, according to psychologists, eases tensions in the muscles and heart: reading

Reading eases tension

Losing yourself in a book is considered the ultimate means of relaxation, but it doesn’t come naturally. Let me explain...

We were born to speak, not to read. Children are reluctant to read, because reading is not a natural (or instinctive) function. Children learn to speak through exposure. However, they learn to read through intentional instruction (i.e., direct teaching of phonemic awareness, decoding, and comprehension).

Reading is easily one of the most difficult skills to develop. This in mind, it may be increasingly difficult for parents and educators to cultivate fondness for reading.

1)    Your attitude about reading is reflected in your child or student. Display enthusiasm even if reading feels like a chore. One trick I use: imagine something you’re passionate about as you describe reading. Even the slightest waver in the tone of your voice affects children’s perception of reading.
2)    Punishing children by making them read creates a negative stigma; they associate reading with ‘doing something wrong’. This impression spills into the classroom.  Replacing tablets with books can make children feel penalized, because they no longer have access to a preferred means of entertainment. Though this seems like a no-brainer, children may view the substituted means of entertainment – books – as dismal.
3)    Use interests to propel children’s love of reading. If your child likes a specific character, purchase books about that character. If your child has an affinity for a specific subject or animal, subscribe to a periodical that features the same. (Getting Highlights in the mail was an epic experience for me growing up.)
4)    Find post-reading activities. My favorite activity is to make Green Eggs using avocados after reading green eggs and ham. There are countless, easy-prep activities that foster a love of reading. Pinterest has a reservoir of pre- and post-reading activities.

Is time an issue?

Is time an issue? Try these two methods:
·         Car reading - turn mundane road trips into reading adventures. Whether to the grocery store or to visit relatives, pack your car with books on your child’s reading level. Keep reading level in mind, so children move through the text independently. Though bumps are expected, encourage your child to spell difficult words for help reading.

·         Watch books - leverage a routine activity to build reading skill by incorporating story time via online platforms like Youtube. Bath time and bed time are great opportunities to listen to audio books on a mobile device. Often, the stories will include humorous character narrative to engage children. If they’re laughing while learning, mission accomplished!

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A very special thanks for this contribution goes to 
guest blogger, Jeannette Washington. 
Jeannette is the owner of