I have always loved the written word. I would read anything and everything–if it had words, I would read it. I just loved to read. I would spend hours and hours reading. So when my child who loves to learn did not develop my love of reading, I was stumped. I just did not know how this could happen. She loves a good story and loves when I read to her, but as a beginning reader she just could not find something that she liked to read. So this momma had to find a way to make reading on her own FUN.
Encouraging Young Readers
A local bookstore was doing a summer reading program and she had to read ANY 8 books to get a free book. Thankfully a book that she got to earn was a book of her favorite television show. She was motivated. She was so excited to check each book off the list and get one step closer to her goal. She happily went to the store and turned in her reading list and walked out with her new favorite book. She was devouring the book before she even left the store. This is what makes a momma happy. But how do I continue to make reading fun? My child is motivated by reaching goals and a reward at the end. Until she can find reading fun in and of itself, I have to make a goal and a reward for her to work for. I hope that in the process that she finds a love for the written word that is all her own.
She has a chapter book that is at her reading level. I knew that if she could just put in the time, she would really like the book. It had all the requirements that are needed for her to enjoy. It is a true story–fiction just will not do for her. It has to have someone that she can relate to; this book had a little girl in it. It also has to have a animal of some sort. The book had a kitten. So I gave her the goal of finishing this book. I did not attach a date when it had to be done. The only requirement was that she had to read a little each day. The reward after she completed the book was another book, but not just any book. It was the Ultimate Guide book to her favorite television show. Do I care that she is reading about a television show? No, because she is READING! Reading is the goal.
She finished the book in a week’s time and was absorbed in her new Ultimate Guide book. The book she earned is above her reading level. But she is reading what she can and then we read some together. As she is working to read this book, her reading is improving and she is realizing that she enjoys it.
So how do you encourage your young readers?
1. Have a time that they can read every day. It doesn’t have to be a long reading time; 15 minutes is a good starting point.
2. Find what they like to read. Magazines and comics are perfectly acceptable as long as they are learning to find the joy in reading.
3. Find what motivates your child and use that to encourage reading. If your child is motivated by rewards, use them.
4. Continue to read together as a family. I know that some of our greatest family times are when we read books as a family. We all get into a story and we go on the journey together. There are some great audio books that you can either buy or borrow from your local library that you can listen to as a family.
5. Go to the library. I almost didn’t mention this one because we as homeschoolers visit the library often. Allow your child to explore books even if they are above their reading level. Allow them to pick out the book that interests them.
6. Use e-readers. Not every family has one or wants one–that is perfectly fine. We have a tablet that my daughter can use. I have downloaded some e-books that I have found free from various websites. She likes to read on the tablet and I enjoy hearing all those facts that she is reading.
Angela is a homeschooling mom of two beautiful children. She had a change of heart about homeschooling when it was time to enroll her sweet daughter in school. She now blogs about her journey with homeschooling at Homeschooling — A Change of Heart. She is married to her best friend Jeff. Two weeks out of every month Angela holds down the home front while Jeff travels for business. Angela loves to learn about photography and see what she can capture behind the lens.