Do you have a kid that despises reading? No matter what you try, they turn their nose up at the idea? Does it feel like everyone else’s kids are soaring past yours in the reading department and you just don’t know what else to try? Don’t fret, I think I have found the secret to turn any kid who hates reading into a rock-star reader!
First of all, I want you to know that you are not alone. In my many years in the classroom, I faced this problem every single year. I had kids who appeared to hate reading. The didn’t have a favorite character, they didn’t have a topic they wanted to read and they definitely didn’t want to participate in reading activities or nightly readings.
Some might try to place the blame on the parents, but I refuse to do that. You see, I know that many of these kids had parents who cared just like you do. They had a nightly routine, they had books in the home, and they even modeled good reading habits… yet, their kids appeared to hate reading.
I recently read an amazing book by my good friends, Amy Mascott and Allison Mcdonald called Raising a Rock-Star Reader. In it, the authors describe 75 quick tips to help your child develop a lifelong love of reading. They start with the importance of creating a a house that is full of books, how to create a special book nook, and even how to set a rock-solid bedtime reading routine.
You see, these are the fundamental foundations from day one that every parent can do to develop rock star readers. But what happens when that isn’t enough? What happens when you think you are doing everything you can, but your child still appears to hate reading?
I have to let you in on a little secret that is a little vulnerable for me to discuss openly. I am a national board certified teacher. I taught in the classroom for 12 years. I have awards and badges behind my name in the name of early literacy… yet… my kids appeared to hate reading. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get my kids to read independently. Both kids were exactly the same way.
Now, put them in a room with books and they would ask anyone and everyone to read aloud to them. They loved other people reading to them, but reading to themselves, reading for pleasure, forget about it. It used to frustrate me to no end.
In fact, I was embarrassed. Here I was, this “guru” in early literacy and my kids couldn’t (wouldn’t) read on level or on their own. They appeared to hate reading.
Deep down I knew this couldn’t be the answer. So I started to reframe my thinking and take a deeper look.
Why Kids Might Hate Reading
In Raising a Rock Star Reader, Amy & Allison give so many tips and tricks for helping children develop a love of reading. In fact, many of their tips a based in these core reasons why a child might appear to hate reading.
- Under-exposure | Did you know that children that are exposed to books at an early age have a higher chance of being “frequent readers” (reading books 5-7 days a week) ? Raising a Rock-Star Reader has over 10 simple ways to expose children to more literacy at an earlier age.
- Speech and Language Development | Speech and language skills are developmental (which means they develop over time). This means that not all children are ready to hear the sounds and patterns in language at the same age as their peers. If a child is not able to understand the speech of others or others have difficulty understanding them, reading can be a struggle and they can appear to hate reading. Raising a Rock-Star Reader has over 20 tips dedicated to helping kids get confident in their language and sounds.
- Confidence | Many times children who appear to hate reading, in fact, have very little confidence in their reading abilities. They struggle to find what they are good at and use that to become stronger readers. This lack of confidence could be from some of the other reasons mentioned or due to a lack of skills needed to read what they are being given. Whatever the case, building a child’s confidence is key in building rock star readers.
- Connections | Often times a child appears to hate reading because they have difficulty connecting with the text they are reading. Building their comprehension and connections to text can be a catalyst for finding a love of reading.
The Secret to Getting Kids to Love Reading
You may have figured out by now that I stopped saying my kids “hate reading”. Instead, I continue to use the term “appear to hate reading”. Its a very slight change in semantics but really changes things 100%. You see, I strongly believe that no child Hates reading, they simply appear to hate it due to outside circumstances.
The secret to turning these kids into rock-star readers is to find out their hurdle. Why do they appear to hate reading? What skills do they lack? What connections do they need? What interests aren’t there? What is the missing link? What exactly is keeping them from loving reading?
Once you get to the bottom of that, you will see your child take off! I saw it happen for my own children. Allison and Amy talk about it with the children they’ve taught and I know it can happen with your child too.
For my oldest son the hurdle was that he was overwhelmed and anxious by the amount of words on a page. In isolation, he could read pretty much any word I threw at him, but he didn’t like it. He was in fifth grade before he read his first chapter book, however just a few months before that we discovered his love for listening to audio books. There isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t listen to an audio book now. And do you know the last book he finished reading independently…. a 250 page anthology about greek mythology! I’d say he has definitely turned into a rock star reader!
With the help of the tips from Raising a Rock-Star Reader and your ability to become a detective for your child, I believe that you can turn your child into a rock star reader too! With 75 simple and quick tips
So tell me, what is your child’s hurdle?
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