It is no secret that parents should be helping kiddos foster a love of reading at home, through daily literacy activities. However, what happens when children do not enjoy reading? Fighting just to get your child to sit down to read for a few minutes can really take the fun out of the whole experience. Making literacy more enjoyable can help your child to resist arguing when it is time to pick a book. Gradually, after several positive reading sessions. you'll notice less of an argument. Try some of these suggestions for making reading more FUNctional in your house:
1. Let you child select the story. It is okay if it isn't high quality literature, or age/grade appropriate. What is important is spending some time reading together on your child's terms. Any positive reading experience is a good one. Over time, you can suggest some different texts after you have built a more consistent reading routine.
2. Keep it short. Start with a goal of five or ten minutes. Some reading time is better than none. After a few sessions you can gradually add to the amount minutes spent on literacy. If you start by making it a long, drawn-out process, it will only appear to be a less enjoyable task. Provide positive reinforcement by praising your child for sitting with you to read. As you extend your time, tell them they did a great job sitting and reading!
3. Provide "story time snacks". Everyone likes a good snack. Sit down with a story time snack plate and a good book. Making it a regular occurrence will help. Children are creatures of habit and will begin to look forward to the time spent. You can reserve a special preferred snack just for story time to get them requesting a snack/story session.
4. Act it out. Make it a point to be extra animated, using different voices or silly sound effects whenever possible to add to the "fun factor".
5. Reread. If your child is reading the book to practice decoding skills, you can read the page or paragraph first. Then they can reread it after you. Not only will they pick up on your fluency cues, but when they get to a challenging word, it may help them decode it faster, building confidence.
6. Get into character. We don't just mean the characters in a specific story. Reading the story as a completely different character, one your child prefers, or role playing during the story is a great way to get them into literacy. If your child wants to hold a stuffed animal or wear a special mask while reading, let them. You are just working on increasing positive reading experiences. Being silly is a great way to accomplish this goal!