“I love the library; the magnificent books; I require books as I require air.” unknown
One of the keys to getting your child to enjoy reading with you is to read what he enjoys. This can be difficult if your child is not a strong reader and does not choose to read for himself for pleasure. Reading will quite possibly be looked at as a negative experience. Why would I choose to read when it is so hard and lacks fulfillment?
One way to counteract this is to choose materials that he enjoys. Consider these tips*:
1. Let him choose the book, if you are reading a chapter book.
2. Choose a book with multiple stories rather than one long story. For example, the popular Encyclopedia Brown series (and a new Christian fiction series called Scripture Sleuth for fourth to fifth grader readers) contains chapters in which each one contains its own separate story. Each chapter stands alone. This is a good strategy for students who do not feel that they can read lengthy chapter books yet. Additionally, school readers can have interesting stories that are self contained. When you are done reading for that session, you will be done with the entire story. This can be very satisfying to kids. Ask your librarian to direct you to other books that contain short stories that might interest your student as opposed to one story throughout the entire “chapter book.”
3. Consider non-book reading. Some kids do well with magazines. Others enjoy comic books. Newspapers or sports magazines appeal to some kids. You do not have to read “a book” in order to read with your child everyday.
4. Daily devotionals are good to read together. They generally contain extremely short excerpts that can be read silently in five to ten minutes (orally a little longer), and can provide much discussion and application material.
5. Adult texts can also be enjoyed by older students. Specifically, I am thinking of Guideposts or Reader’s Digest, but there are many more varied texts that kids would like too. Again, it’s about what your child will WANT to read each day with you. If he hates reading each day, it will be a struggle and will fall by the wayside.
6. Animal books, nature books, and other non-fiction materials are often enjoyed by students. Again, these can be books, like Usborne, Dorling-Kindersley, or Eyewitness or can be magazines, like National Geographic for kids or Nature’s Friend. (Magazines often have puzzles, quizzes, etc. that when done together and discussed can also aid in comprehension building.)
7. Again, adult literacy materials can provide more “grown up” material for students who do not read at grade level but are too old for “cutsie” books, say for second graders. Ask your librarian for these or look them up at an adult literacy provider, such as “Each One Teach One.” (See earlier link about Saxon Phonics Intervention and Saxon BOLD and bringing older students up to grade level in reading.)
*These same tips can be applied to choosing materials for your child to read to himself.