School will begin for many children in just a few weeks, so it’s a good time to set aside a few minutes every day to prepare for school. Plus, summertime is a great opportunity for children to read, especially as they get older, and homework requirements take away some of the joy of reading. It’s especially important if you have a hesitant or reluctant reader.
Reluctant Readers: During Summer
Reading can be made enjoyable and should never feel like work, especially during the summer vacation. If you have a hesitant or reluctant reader, there are ways to help spark the love of reading. You can develop positive feelings towards books by joining a book club, finding a special place within your home where your child might feel secluded from the world and, therefore, uninterrupted, or by stirring up some friendly competition to encourage reading.
Reluctant Readers: The library is an excellent resource!
Check out your local library for reading programs that aim to encourage reading. These can include incentive programs or book clubs – a time for children and even parents to come together and talk about a particular book being read by members. Often libraries will invite authors to do readings, or put on small performances based on popular books.
Librarians are trained on ways to help gather interest from a child to recommend appropriate books if he/she is overwhelmed at where to start when choosing a book. Often children want to read what everyone else is reading, yet the level is either too difficult, too easy, or they are uninterested in the genre. That’s where a Librarian can help them find something similar, but which fits his/her particular needs. Take advantage of these opportunities to promote a healthy relationship between children and their books.
Reluctant Readers: A special place to read a unique book
Students of mine from past years have talked about their reading place as a special fort, tree house, a cubby in the home, or tent outside. Create a special snack to enjoy while reading, let your child invite a friend over for a sleepover each week so they can read the book together, or purchase fun décor to spice up the reading spot – add fun pillows, blankets or slumber bags, art, or a special reading lamp.
Allow your child to go to a bookstore to purchase a book with you. Sometimes just the act of picking out a book and knowing it will be theirs forever, versus checking out from a library, allows a child to feel a sense of ownership for the book. By making reading fun, I promise your kids will be more inclined to take out that book and read.
Reluctant Readers: Did somebody say competition?
Other programs such as Battle of the Books are popular in schools for intermediate students (grades 3+). Students receive a list of age-appropriate books that can be purchased online at Amazon or checked out from your library. The book list is released prior to the end of the school year so kids can begin reading the books during their summer vacation.
Teams are chosen once students return to school, and the battles begin to see who is more knowledgeable about the books. It’s an excellent program for children motivated by competition among peers. Check out www.battleofthebooks.org for more information and current lists.
Reluctant Readers: Don’t Give Up
Reading can seem like a chore to many children, especially during the summer months, but don’t give up. Sometimes it takes children years to develop a love of reading but once they find a book they can’t set down, they’ll be encouraged to reach out for more. Help out as much as you can without pushing your child away. Good luck!
Do you have a hesitant or reluctant reader?