By Audrey Okaneko
As parents we all recognize the importance of reading, but what do you do when your child just does not like or enjoy reading? Here are several ideas and tips I found over the years.
Magazines are a wonderful way to help your child enjoy reading. My daughter loved fashion and beauty magazines. She would spend hours reading the articles and tips. Over the years, several teachers allowed her to count her magazine reading and write her reports on articles she found in magazines. If you have a child that is not enjoying reading, talk to the teacher and see if magazine reading is an acceptable alternative.
Read to your child as they follow along. I remember as an adult I met a 14 year old boy through a teen community I worked for online. He once told me that his mother still read to him. I asked him about this routine. He said he loved hearing his mom read to him and it gave him and his mom great quality time together. He had a younger sister and his mom read to her each night, so after putting her to bed she would come spend time with her son and they would read together. He chose the books and she would read. This got her involved in his favorite books and this allowed him to comprehend the book without him actually reading it. He told me that often after hearing his mom read the book, he would go back and reread the section they had read last night.
Buy a craft kit or model airplane kit and have your child read the instructions to put it together. This again is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your child while helping them enjoy reading. The end results are wonderful as they have not only read the instructions and followed them, but in the end you have a wonderful product you can use, hold or display.
Cook together, with your child reading the instructions. There is no incentive like brownies, cookies, or even lasagna. The catch is the child has to help read and prepare the food. My daughter has spent hours pouring through and reading cookbooks. We’ve also spent hours online looking at, reading and printing recipes. Young children can help measure, pour and mix. Older children can help shop for the foods, read the labels and make sure you have the right ingredients.
Crossword puzzle books, word find books and logic puzzle books are wonderful for older kids. I have also seen very simple word find books for younger children. Not only does your child have to read the words in word find books but then they have to find the words hidden amongst other letters. As my kids got a little older they used to create their own word find puzzles. We would make the grid on the computer. They would then create a word find based on a theme. They’d write the words, insert the words into the grid and then use the remaining letters of the alphabet as fillers. It was always fun for them to make sure they used every letter of the alphabet at least once or twice.
Does your child like comic books? Again, this might be an area where you can negotiate with a teacher. Can your child write a report on the theme of the comics? Can your child share any lessons learned from the comics? Can your child write a report about the characters in the comic book? How does the character dress? What are some of the personality traits of the character? What criteria is the child using to determine the personality traits?
When you have a child that does not like to read, it’s time to get creative and try some of the above ideas or others you may have to interest your child in written words.