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For some kids, reading comes naturally. They grow up loving words, and you always have a hard time prying books from their hands. Unfortunately for others, reading is a chore and not something they enjoy doing.
While it’s perfectly normal for kids not to love reading, those who actively avoid it are developing problems in learning later on. For children who move overseas, whether to an English-speaking city like Manila or somewhere dominated by another popular language, enrolment at an international school could be influenced by their poor reading ability and the school’s learning support capacity.
Your child could join private reading programmes, but it’s better if they discover a love for reading organically. Below, are a few ways you can encourage reluctant readers to become bookworms.
Find out why your child doesn’t like reading
Children who find reading a chore are not likely to relish curling-up with a book. But why do they struggle with reading in the first place? Some children may have issues with fluency or understanding phonograms. Maybe they’re guessing at words, or they haven’t developed their vocabulary enough to understand some of the text. Whatever the reason, by identifying the cause, you will be able to work out a solution.
Identify what motivates them to read
Just as it’s important to know why your child is reluctant to read, so is understanding why they read. When it comes to reading motivations, there are two kinds of readers: intrinsically motivated and extrinsically motivated.
Intrinsically motivated readers read because they find enjoyment or satisfaction when they do. Extrinsically motivated readers read because of some outside pressure, like a reward or fear of a low mark at school. While both result in children reading, there’s a difference. Intrinsic motivation has a positive correlation to a child’s achievement, while extrinsic motivation is the opposite.
Keep this in mind when trying to motivate your child to read. Remember that the goal is not only for your child to read but for them to become intrinsically motivated to do so.
Help them find the fun in reading
Often, kids are assigned reading homework from school. Teachers may give them a book or short story to read, which they then have to annotate or critique as part of a bigger assignment. As a parent, you may be focused on getting them to read the text and complete the work on time. This extra pressure turns the task into a chore and contributes to the child’s reluctance to read.
So, how do you make reading fun? Reading for fun encourages reading. Work with your child to find stories they enjoy. Give your reluctant reader independent reading time and freedom of choice with no strings attached. A popular children’s book series like Harry Potter may tickle their imagination, or your child may enjoy relating to the stories in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books; graphic novels are another way of encouraging reading. Consider their hobbies and interests, and encourage them to read non-fiction books. Create a comfortable and peaceful environment conducive to reading, and support the idea that reading is a cool pastime.
Reading is an essential skill in education. But remember that while it’s important academically, reading is also for pleasure. This is the key to changing a reluctant reader into a page-turning enthusiast.