"My Kid Doesn't Like to Read. What do I do?"
It's a great question. It's a question I hear often, because I meet parents who want to the best for their kids almost every day. So, I suggest at least three options, and all of them involve collaboration.
When my kids were little - they didn't like reading either - at least not at first. But over time, they developed a love for reading. Eventually their burgeoning interest in reading led to higher reading comprehension scores and better communication (both personally and professionally).
So, let's discuss some specific ways that you can help your student build collaborative reading!
Introduce Kids to Different Genres
One of the best ways to get kids reading is to build enthusiasm by selecting books from different genres and introducing them to more reading opportunities. When my kids were little, I took them to the library and asked them to select books in the following categories (Side Note: I also vetoed books that would give them nightmares):
One easy book
One challenging book
One fiction or story book
One science or history
Initially, my boys picked books about cars and star fish. Then they began reading more fiction books. Today, they read all sorts of genres including biography, professional books, and several books from other cultural backgrounds. My daughter liked fiction from the outset, and only when prompted would she choose non-fiction. But the point isn't actually what they liked best - it's that they were willing to learn and explore different genres. But they had to be prompted to make selections that expanded their horizons.
Notice that this suggestion involves collaborating with your kids! When you make suggestions, and involve kids in reading choices, this shows them that you value their opinions, and that they have choices that matter.
Make Reading a Treat by Offering Books as Rewards
When you make books treats, you set your kids up to get excited about reading. Set up "field" trips to the library or to book stores. Give books as gifts. Make bad days fun days with reading rewards.
Do whatever you can to make reading a reward and not a chore. When you go to the bookstore - call it a date. When you go to the library - call it an adventure. When you read at home - offer more rewards for finishing books.
Create Opportunities for Reading Collaboration
Search out opportunities.
Every year I teach book clubs to bright students who are asked to read all year long. I'm always a little surprised (and delighted) that I get to meet engaged kids are enthusiastic enough to spend after school hours in remote workshops. But I also understand it. Parents are busy, and parents love partners. I get to cheer kids on for little and big successes, and I get to partner with parents who want to see their kids cheered on. It works out for us both to support kids by creating collaborative environments where peer pressure works in their favor - and it works. I can honestly say I have whole book clubs filled with kids who either say they love to read, or are learning to love to read.
But, you don't have to sign up for a book club or for writing workshops to help your student to read. You can be your child's collaborator! Read to them. Read with them. Listen when they want to tell you about what they've read.
Make Reading Fun, Add a Little Challenge
The latter three suggestions are all ways to collaborate to help foster a love for learning, and more particularly a love for reading. But it is also worth noting that figuring out ways to make reading fun is a key change agent in helping your students learn .
Most kids love a challenge. Challenge can be hard, but it can also be fun. If you help kids to overcome academic challenges early, they develop confidence. When kids engage early in reading and cultivate a love for great characters, fan understanding of theme, and the ability to analyze literature by solving the clues and puzzles each book presents, they learn to love even the hard books, and the books that aren't their favorite genre. Reading skills will carry them not just to their next English class, but also into greater confidence for their next reading comprehension test, and hopefully into finding the right word for the right interview and beyond.
Our Gift to You: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Organizer!
Today, we'd like to share the fun of reading and give you and your students a new challenge. We are sharing one of the resources we'll be using during the fall in our workshops with middle school students. This resource is a handy worksheet to use Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mystery story, "The Speckled Band."
Please feel free to use this with your middle school or high school student, or if you need some one-on-one assistance, reach out to us at www.nelson-notes.com.
Thanks for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!