Hello everyone! How are you? With the closure of school to mark the end of Term 1, I hope you are all enjoying this short break! Some of you will probably relish the opportunity to wake up a little later and also have the freedom to do what you want for a week 🙂 I usually advise my students to play hard AND also work hard during this holiday. That is because once school reopens for Term 2, it won’t be long till they will have to sit for the Semestral Examination.
Unfortunately, my advice will elicit some groans from the class as I think that’s probably the last thing students want to hear at the start of their holidays! Nonetheless, I tell them that working hard doesn’t have to be sitting down and doing assessment books. Catching up on some reading counts too!
But… what if your child is completely resistant to reading? We all know how important reading is for learners of English. How can we help these reluctant readers to pick up reading and more importantly, finish that book? Here are 3 tips that I have prepared for you today!
1. Select reading materials which are a right fit for your child
Individual interest and pitching are two things to consider when it comes to selecting the right reading materials for your child. Start off by knowing what genre(s) your child likes and pull engaging books from such area(s). The books chosen should also be pitched at a level well-suited to your child’s ability in the language. Check out our recommendations here! It is important that you try not to dictate what your child should read as it might stifle their interest or put them off reading completely.
Additionally, it is important to recognise that reading is not confined to sitting down with a chapter book, and reading non-fiction is just as important these days. If your child is not particularly keen on books, perhaps try alternative sources. Notice that your child likes to read about wildlife or factual articles relating to Science? Take advantage of it and look for articles that talk about the subject matter. The Internet has a myriad of free news sources which you can make use of!
2. Start reading with your child
Once your child has reached a certain age (say upper Primary), do you find yourself simply just picking out books for him/her and then asking him/her to read them. Yet sometimes, for children, especially reluctant readers, the inertia is simply too great.
What I’ve come to realise is that as adults, we can help these children build momentum for their reading. Once a child’s interest is piqued, they will be keen to continue the book on their own, even without much prompting.
If you start reading with your child, get him/her hooked on the storyline. You could find interesting facts about the book to share with them (for example, books which have been made into movies), show them book trailers (visual learners may enjoy this!) or if you have read the book yourself, share snippets of it that will attract your child! Once you’ve sparked their interest, they will probably be inclined to go through the rest of it alone. After all, nobody likes being left hanging, do they?
3. Help your child pace his/her reading
Some children don’t read not because they lack interest but rather, they do not know how to fit it into their lives. As school work becomes more rigorous, adding extra classes and CCA on top of it will mean that they do not have much free time left. Using whatever limited free time they have left to read may be a less attractive option compared to play.
One thing you can do is to tell your child that even reading a little every day is better than none. One idea which I liked was the use of a pacing bookmark to show the child that if he/she does a bit of reading everyday, it will eventually accumulate and there will still be the consequent payoff!
These pacing bookmarks are also especially useful in helping the child stay on track. For example, instead of setting the goal of reading one book each month, the pacing bookmark will allow the child to set more specific and attainable goals. For some children, the idea of conquering a few pages at once will seem less daunting than an entire book. Moreover, it can also serve as a good confidence booster when he/she gets through each page goal set.
So there you have it! I hope you find the above useful. Cultivating the interest to read may take some time but with some patience and encouragement, I believe that we can help these children grow to love it!