7 Ways to Help Students to Enjoy Reading

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Sometimes we come across a child that simply does not enjoy reading. I am finding it a little more common than one would expect, but it is not limited to any particular kind of schooling population. At some point, each teacher will find himself sitting across the table from a stubborn reader. Here are some tips to rev that reading engine.

Prime the pump- If you’ve found a book that you’re sure your reader will love, prime their pump by reading the first chapter or two aloud to them. Get them hooked and let them know you will be close by if they need help with any words on the page.

Give loads of options- Find some uninterrupted time and head to the local library. Slowly walk past the aisles of books – whether they are the appropriate reading level or not. Go past the crafting section, the drawing section, the coffee table books about history, cooking, fiction of all sorts, young readers books, picture books, books for gamers or athletes. Pull as many off the shelf as you can carry and sit down. Peruse the books until something strikes her fancy. Don’t worry about the reading level at this point. If it’s too hard, enjoy the pictures and read a few sentences to her. If it’s too easy, just let her enjoy the simplicity of the text. The point is to find what is interesting. Once you have found a topic or style that she likes, check out every book that is similar.

Audio Books- Sometimes the effort required to read ruins the fun of hearing the story. Indulge in books on CD or podcast stories. Surround your reader with great stories.

Reading fort- set aside an extra special spot in your house for reading. Include a cool lamp, comfortable pillows and even a timer. Set a timer for the kids that love to read (to bring them back into the real world) or for your hesitant reader (so they know how much time is left).

Model- Nothing speaks louder to our kids than our own actions. Set aside your own time to read (during the day, if possible) so the kids can see you enjoying it, or share parts of the books you are reading while doing other things. My kids are always surprised to find out about things I do after they go to bed, so telling them about the interesting things I am reading is intriguing to them.

Book Club- Find a friend or two and talk about the great book you’ve all just read. If you are reading the same book together, you can discuss it in greater detail. If you are all reading different books, then you can give recommendations.

New styles of book reports– Make a t-shirt depicting your favorite scene in the book, construct a diorama, bake a recipe shared in the book, host a costume party where each person dresses as a character of the book- then share the story. Again, give recommendations about whether your friends might like the book or not. This is great fun with friends from co-op. Also, libraries are often very fond of displaying projects (posters, 3-d art, pictures, etc.) made from a book’s theme.

Reading isn’t always loved right away. Personally, it took until after college for me to truly enjoy reading. I read books I was forced to read and rarely retained much of what I read – not because I wasn’t able to, but because I didn’t care. I have taught myself to read for fun as well as for learning.

Can you think of other ways to help someone else learn to love reading?

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.


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