For many of us, reading is not only a way to educate, but also our preferred method of entertainment. As a book lover, it has come as quite a shock and challenge to discover my eight year old doesn’t like reading. What a wrench in my idyllic homeschool vision of home libraries and reading parties!
Unfortunately for him, reading is a necessary part of our school days. While we require our kids do their schoolwork —even the parts they hate—, there are ways to make the homeschool day more palatable for a child who hates reading. And when school is a happy experience for our kids, it's also happier for us!
1. Start Small
It’s okay to allow children to read books that you might consider a little too easy for them. To coax my son into required reading time, we began by choosing picture books with just a few sentences on each page. As he got used to this part of our daily schedule, we slowly increased the difficulty of the books until they were more on par with his actual ability.
2. Give Freedom of Choice
While some books maybe be required by our curriculum, make sure your kids also have reading time when they can choose what to read. Give them free reign even though the books they select may seem to you of little educational value. Reading material such as comics, picture books, joke books, or magazines give them extra reading practice and help them associate reading with fun.
3. Take Turns
In our house, my son is capable of reading well, but he gets overwhelmed with long chapter books. A compromise for us reading together. He reads one page, and I read the next. Besides being a pleasant one-on-one time for us, paired reading smooths his journey through books he finds intimidating. By taking turns, the child is still working on reading skills and learning the history or science content. But the paired reading eases the stress that longer books elicit.
4. Read Aloud
Just because your children can read silently to themselves, doesn’t mean they have to read to themselves all the time! Many children never get tired of hearing someone else read to them, no matter how old they are. Sometimes the best way for our kids to learn is by listening to us read the words to them. Reading aloud is a great option for helping a child who dislikes reading.
5. Take Small Doses
For many kids who don’t like reading, the problem is their attention span. If sitting and reading for a long time is difficult, plan breaks. Schedule a few shorter periods of reading throughout the day instead of one long reading session. Break up reading time with hands-on activities, games, and physical play.
Creating too steep an incline for a child who’s reluctant to read can make an already unpleasant task all the more unappealing. Finding ways to make that uphill plane more level will make the homeschool day less frustrating and may even jumpstart a passion for reading.