Learning to read can be a challenging adventure for some children. It seems that everyone from a child’s teacher to mom and dad is excited and waiting for the child to learn to read. All the pressure and expectations from the adults can sure put a damper on the excitement for the child. This loss of excitement can lead to a child who loses the desire to read. If we as parents can find ways to make reading fun and enjoyable, our children will be more willing to sit down and read a book together.
Here are a few ideas you can try to make reading fun for your child.
Make a “reading corner” somewhere in your home. Let your child be a part of decorating it and picking just the right spot to place it. Add some bean bags or pillows, maybe a favourite poster on the wall or even some family photos.
Which child hasn’t built a fort at one time or another? You can help your child to create one even if you don't have the space (e.g. a backyard). It can be a blanket fort, a cardboard fort, or even a simple under-the-bed fort. (Just make sure you both can fit; being able to get out once you’ve gotten in is helpful too!) Bring your child’s favorite reading book, get comfortable and read away.
Pair your child up with an older “reading buddy” and have them read a book out loud together. We all have had times where an explanation of something made more sense coming from one of our peers or a sibling. This gives you child the opportunity to practice reading without an adults watchful eye causing possible nervousness.
Grab a highlighter and a book meant for older kids and have your child highlight every word one the page that he/she can read. After all the words your child knows are highlighted on the page, take a moment and have your child look and see how many words he/she can actually read. This is quite a confidence booster.
Before your child is too tired at the end of the day, take some time and read in a dark room. Take a flashlight with you and read the book by flashlight. Little boys especially like this one.
Have your child flip through a book and look at all the pictures and tell you what he/she thinks is going to happen in the story. Read the story and see how close he/she was.
This is a fun way for a child to be able to read the words he/she knows and pass on the words that are causing frustration. While reading a book together, each of you take a turn reading aloud. When the one who is reading says the word “popcorn”, it is the other person's turn to read.
Pick one word that your child has a particular hard time with and every time your child reads that word, both of you stand up. This will help him/her remember the word because an action is associated with it. This works particularly well with kinesthetic learners (i.e. a child who wants to move all the time and likes to touch and feel everything).
Star of the Story
Have you ever seen a personalised story book where your child’s name is printed in the story? This is a unique way to get your reluctant reader excited about a book. In these kinds of books, your child’s name and the name of his/her friends are printed in the storyline, making your child the star of his/her very own book! How motivating is that? He/she will have to read the book to find out what kind of adventure he/she will be going on!
Take a break and just read to your child
This is self-explanatory. Yes, you may be busy with work, household chores, running errands, etc., but surely you can afford to take a short break and spend time with your child.
Sometimes all it takes to make reading fun is some imagination and a change of scenery.
Community Ambassador; as someone who was raised in a rather privileged family, I hope to address the inequity in educational outcomes based on the circumstance of birth. Bounced around between Australia and Singapore a fair bit.