Many parents of struggling readers share that their children refuse to participate or argue when it comes to reading. In my experience this happens when children are not confident in their reading and do not feel successful.
When I work with struggling readers, I talk about the logic behind the written word and explain that communication is a form of dialogue. According to Britannica, communication is the exchange of information between individuals through a common set of symbols.
Reading is a form of communication where the author is the speaker, and the reader is the listener. When individuals truly engage while reading, the process is like listening to a story. As a reader I must be fully present and engaged to listen well to the author and as the writer I have to be clear in my thoughts so as to engage my reader. It is ebb and flow – give and take. No one likes to listen to someone who talks over their head. In the same way children do not enjoy stories that they cannot understand because they have limited vocabulary or difficulty decoding the words.
Give your children a reason to read. Write notes to your child. Encourage your child to write letters. Play games where you look for words on the cereal box, the macaroni and cheese instructions, or the signs going to and from the swimming pool. There are words literally everywhere and when encouraged to be intentional, kids will find them.
When you have a struggling reader, it is important to look for ways to make reading fun and engaging. Visit your local library and check out some fun comic books or magazines in your child's interest level. Consider subscribing to a few of your own. As a child, I looked forward to going to our local library to check out the Cricket Magazine and Highlights Magazine. Oftentimes the doctor's office or the dentist’s office will have these kinds of magazines. They are not a pricey investment and very worthwhile to have available for your child's reading enjoyment. Encourage aunts and uncles, grandparents, or anyone who gives your child Christmas gifts or birthday gifts to purchase them a subscription to a worthwhile children's literary magazine.
Another activity that children greatly enjoy is reading their own book. I wrote little stories for my children whenever I could – simple stories with simple words talking about the kids, their toys and their adventures. Your children will love to read about themselves and the adventures of their toys. Be creative when you engage with literacy your children will also engage.
If you search carefully on the internet, you will find several fun and engaging reading channels such as:
KidTimeStoryTime https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPsNDUhUm-7yZhUjQQNqwQ .
Toadstools and FairyDust https://www.youtube.com/@ToadstoolsandFairyDust
Vooks Narated Story Books https://www.youtube.com/@VooksStorybooks
Channels such as these allow children to engage in reading while enjoying a fun story.
Reading by themselves, reading alongside others, being read to or intentionally engaging in audio books are all forms of reading! Our kids need to read to become solid readers. When our children avoid the activity of reading, we must do everything possible to reverse the trend. Let’s give kids the opportunity and reason to Drop Everything And Read to make reading the choice rather than a chore.
CAUTION: I have had many students share that they stopped enjoying reading when it became an assignment. Having to read for points and/or being told what they could and could not read made them lose the enjoyment of reading.