Are you troubled by your child’s dislike for reading? Maybe you have a young child just learning to read. You try to encourage learning by reading together. However, each reading session is a struggle. Your child shuns it like a hated vegetable. Or maybe your child can already read, but just doesn’t want to. They even tell you straight in your face, “I hate reading.”
How did it come to this? Why does your child dislike reading? Basically, it comes down to one thing: the love for reading was never ignited or have been extinguished. Here are 8 ways to kill a child’s love for reading:
Reading is not only informed by what’s going on with us at that moment, but also governed by how our eyes and brains work to process information. What you see and what you’re experiencing as you read these words is quite different.
1. Reading sessions are more like drilling sessions. Don’t quiz and test children when reading. It’s ok to point things out and ask questions to promote thinking but make sure it stays FUN. Don’t turn it into a pressurized teaching session. Yes, you hope that they learn something from the reading but don’t make that your main objective. Read to enjoy the story. Learning usually takes place when the teaching is not so obvious.
2. Television, video and computer games take centre stage when it comes to relaxation and entertainment. These strongly distract children from reading. There needs to be a limit to these activities if you want to convince them that books can be entertaining too.
3. Reading books that are too difficult for their reading level. It is very discouraging for children to open a book and not know how to read many of the words. Where is the joy when you struggle to get through a page? Know your child’s reading ability and get books appropriate to their level.
4. Reading sessions turn into screaming and put down sessions. Parents need to hold realistic expectations of their children. Control frustrations when children don’t excel as fast as you wish they would. Watch your tongue and avoid derogatory remarks such as “Can’t you remember that word, we just read it,” or “I’ve told you many times already. What’s wrong with you?”
5. Reading books that are of no interest to them. How do children regard these books? BORING! To a young boy, reading a book on dinosaurs may be more captivating than reading a book about Dick and Jane. Draw your teenagers into reading with books that they can relate too. I know when I was that age I was game for books on love, romance, and friendship. Capitalize on your child’s hobbies and interests.
6. Forced reading. for older children, sometimes homework is in the form of assigned readings. Usually, a report has to be handed in at the end. Although this is done under good intentions, it is easy for a child to regard reading as a chore to be done. Very likely too, the assigned reading is not of their choice and therefore, not of their liking. Reading in this situation is like dragging feet in the mud.
7. Peer pressure. This is another factor that affects older children. Kids can be cruel with their branding and teasing. The term “nerds” and “geeks” are usually thrown at those that indulge in books. Your child may very well choose to shun books just to fit in and be one of the “cool kids.”
8. Limiting what children read. Imagine if you loved sci-fi books but was told you could only read classics. What a damper that would be for you right? Be open to what your child wants to read. You may think your child has moved passed picture books but he wants it anyway. Let him. Or you may think reading comic books have less educational value then reading well-known novels. Remember, it’s a book in their hands nonetheless. So, whether it be fiction, non-fiction, picture books, comic books, magazines etc… be supportive.
You want to get your child reading, you have to first show that it is fun and enjoyable. Don’t push too hard to get your child to learn to read or read to learn. Only when there is love for reading can the learning begin.