I have a confession to make. I’m a fraud. You see the photos of the boys reading books? It wasn’t always that way. I am an avid reader and we are a relatively screen-free family. But dragging my children away from their Lego, imploring them to READ A BOOK, was a battle not worth having. Screaming, crying (and that was just me) turned what was meant to be an enjoyable, bonding activity into a dreaded, hellish ‘chore’. Thankfully this is no longer the case. I am going to help you turn your reluctant reader into the bookworm you always dreamed of, by sharing my 5 ways to raise a reader in this blog post.
5 Ways To Raise A Reader
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1. Lead by example
I love to read, but since having children I no longer had the time. I started marking out a deliberate time each week where I would make myself a cup of tea and read a book to myself. Both of the boys are of the mindset “If it’s good enough for mum, it’s good enough for us”. They often won’t do something unless they see me doing it first. So sure enough, they started to join me. B (5) would often grab a book from their bookshelf and a play teacup to join me on the sofa.
2. Build confidence
W (7) who is now reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was my reluctant reader out of the two of them. He really lacked confidence and I would get frustrated as he fumbled over words he had read perfectly the week before. In the end, I decided to go back to basics. He joined in during the phonics sessions I did with B. We re-read our reading set books and I signed him up to Teach Your Monster To Read. His “I can’t read this” turned into “What else can I read?” and he soon surpassed his expected reading level for his peer group. Your child will be a reader if they BELIEVE they are a reader. I got it right straight off the bat with B, so much so that he essentially taught himself to read.
3. Make it fun
Sometimes we can get bogged down with the practical aspects of learning to read. Writing book reports or comprehension activities etc. (honestly very important says me with my educator hat on). But, STEAM or sensory activities based on a current reading book can do wonders for understanding the story, and enjoying it as well. I also don’t limit these activities by age and I’ve assembled a few ideas for you on Pinterest:
4. Bedtime stories
I don’t mean read them a bedtime story every night. As a single parent this is just not a possibility for me. But once or twice a week, I will read them a bedtime story and offer each of the boys a turn to read a word/sentence/page, depending on their reading level. I also have a rule that the only way they can stay up past bedtime is if they are reading a book.
5. Gift a book
There’s nothing the boys love more than a visit to the library or a bookshop to pick out a new book, other than receiving a new book as a gift.
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