I hate reading! I don’t want to read! Why do I have to read such boring stuff?
Any of these ring a bell? Yes, in a fast moving, digital world, reading has become less and less popular, particularly amongst children and teenagers. These days, our youngsters would much prefer to game or sit for hours looking at their phone trawling their way through the maze that is social media!
You don’t need me to tell you about the importance of reading. There are SO many reasons why children should read regularly. Reading ignites their imagination, helps them understand people through character development, increases their vocabulary and understanding of the world and feeds across to other interests as well as the school curriculum. Being able to read, understand and enjoy stories as well as broadening knowledge by reading non-fiction sources will equip them for the adult world. You can find some suggested resources here.
So you have a reluctant reader? Remember, this is not the same as a struggling reader – if your child continually puts up barriers to reading, it’s important to find out if there are any specific learning difficulties first. These could be hereditary difficulties such as dyslexia, being unable to concentrate, speech and language issues, hearing loss or even a true anxiety about reading. Many issues like this are hereditary, take a look here for more information.
What can I do?
Once, you’ve exhausted this angle and arrive at having a reluctant reader, here are some tips to encourage them back to reading for pleasure:
- Read aloud to your children – from newborn
- Make reading a shared activity
- Read together
- Listen to an audiobook instead of reading a book
- Use technology to inspire reading
- Read anything and everything
- Let your child choose their reading material
- Talk about books!
- Watch a film or TV series which is linked to a particular book/narrative
- Read material which is linked to their interests
- Put away the school bookbag and make reading fun
- Put reading into their daily routine
From experience, I’ve found that children stop reading for enjoyment usually around the time they start at high school. This is probably due to not being expected to read their book from school and wanting to pursue other interests which are common amongst their peer group. If this seems to be the case, step in quickly and put into practice some of the tips above. It’s almost impossible to encourage a 15 year old to read if they haven’t touched a book since year 6!
And maybe, in time, the dreaded phrase I hate reading will become a thing of the past!