icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


When your child doesn't like to read

"She isn't even reading yet, so how can she be ready for Kindergarten?" "He hates the book the class is reading. I think he hates reading period!"

With frustrated voice, friends through the ages have asked me about their kid's readiness for literacy and or future success outlooks. I don't own a crystal ball. But most worry, I do know, is without cause. Kids grow at their own pace, and reading readiness while it can be influenced, should never be forced.
Each child is unique to the universe. Each has different likes, dislikes, habits, and talents. Some parents worry that if their child isn't already reading by Kindergarten they will be left behind. Some parents get frustrated with their boy, who won't crack open an assigned novel, thinking their tween hates to read.

From being in the kindergarten classroom, I've learned that children start school at all levels of literacy skill. While some can read, even at a second- third grade level, most don't, and some children come in not even knowing their alphabet. That's a wide spectrum, so don't despair. Learning comes, and at the pre-school age, you can tell who is ready for learning academics and who isn't. To place undo pressure in forcing a child into this level of development before he/ or she is ready is harmful, so be patient.

From a very young age, literacy can be taught by example. Reading to your children is the very best gift you can give them. Bedtime stories can soothe and become a favorite bonding ritual. When you read to a child you give them a number of messages. "I like spending time with you." "I value stories." "Nothing is more important to me than this time with you." "Reading is fun," and more. You can ask them questions to promote conversation, and in time they can share the story in reading to you, taking turns enjoying the adventure for the duration of the book.

When young children start becoming interested in letters, learning time can be turned into play. Young children love snow. Using a department store shirt box, one clever Kindergarten teacher filled the bottom with sugar. Children loved "making snow letters" by simply tracing the letter with their finger. There are many creative ways to turn learning into play, and this happy place is where children like to be. With a removable lid, keeping snow all year long for drawing fun is easy. Children can draw also shapes and numbers.

Flash cards are readily available for teaching, turn it into play by turning a box or large tin can into a monster. Let kids have fun creating the critter, then enjoy "feeding the monster" the letters (or any flashcards) they know turning it into a game. Be quick to praise and don't forget the monster munching sounds that send young ones into giggle fits.

For older children, as with the tween that doesn't wish to crack open the assigned fiction, there have been some interesting finds through studies, and this too might help some parents.

#1. The majority of reluctant readers are boys.

But are all these boys truly boys that don't like to read? That's where another study was done, and the answer is a profound "no." When replacing fiction with non fiction, many of these boys found books that intrigued them.

#2. More than not, reluctant reader boys prefer non-fiction.

If you think about it, this makes sense. Boys want to take things apart and try to figure out what makes something work, or how to put it together again. They like facts. They like mechanics, and books about favorite people, sports, and hobbies. So what do you do?

First, start young. There is required reading in the upper grades, so get books into the child's hands from the start. If a kid grows up without reading or being read to, you can't expect enthusiasm when a teacher sticks "The Outsiders" in his hands.

Second, be supportive. Learn what the "child" likes to read, learn what interests him/ her by taking them to the library and set the reader loose to explore on his/her own. Be active. Ask questions to guide the child to self discovery, but let him/her be free to explore what he/she likes.

Three, limit TV/ video game time. This can suck up a child's entire day if allowed. Too much leisure time is not good for a child's body or brain. Have a time to read, and even read together. Let your child catch you reading.

Last, if you find a flashlight between your child's bed and the wall, with a book.... leave it.

Be the first to comment