Do you have a reluctant reader? Want some book suggestions for reluctant readers? The secret is turning your child on to stories.
Here are my five top tips:
1) Start with story.
Your child will fall in love with reading when they are driven from inside themselves to turn the pages. Choose books with stories that will resonate with your individual child.
To turn your kid onto reading, you need to find them stories about the things they’re interested in. Stories about monsters and sacrifice and true friendship and fight scenes and magic and miracles and unicorns and quests and so much more.
2) Read out loud to your child.
Even if your kid knows how to read, read to them out loud. This is about you and your child sitting together on the couch. No music, no TV, no devices. And *YOU* do all the reading. No strings attached.
Reading to your kid is super-important, because learning to read can be super-boring. When was the last time you sat down to read the phone book? Or a dictionary? Reading is about so much more than recognising words and letters. It’s about STORY. So choose a story to read to you child that is so exciting, so thrilling, so engaging that they will beg to you keep reading. Because THEY HAVE TO KNOW what happens next. And then read that story to them.
3) Don’t try to shield your kid from the world
Scary and sad and mean are part of your child’s world. And there is no safer way to learn to cope with these things that to read scary and sad and mean stories and scenes together with your trusted adult, on the couch, together.
Reading stories is a super way to learn how to cope with difficulties and hard times. And 99% of children’s stories have a happy ending that fills you and your child with hope. Sharing stories together is an incredibly positive way for your child to learn about the world.
4) Aim high.
The more words your child hears, the better their literacy becomes, so don’t limit the vocabulary you expose them to.
Choose a book that is far in advance of what your child can read. Choose a book that contains words they don’t understand. Don’t worry if even you don’t understand some of the words (this happens to me a lot!). Anything goes so long as the story is something that hooks them in and has them wanting more.
5) Read together every day
Make reading together on the couch or in bed a daily thing. Your aim is to hook your child with the story you are reading. You can’t do this if you only read every now and then. You need to remember the story and the characters if you are to care about what happens next.
Fair warning: despite the author’s very best efforts, it may take a few chapters for your child to become fully invested in a story. Try to read for at least 15 minutes together, every day. You don’t have to finish a complete chapter (some chapters are SOOOO long), but aim to finish on a bit of a cliffhanger.
You want your child to beg you for five more minutes of reading, so they can find out what happens next.
This is the power of stories.
And stories are the purpose of reading.