Sometimes it can be difficult to keep kids engaged when it comes to reading. Here are some tips for parents to maintain their child’s interest in books.
Even the most motivated child needs support mastering their literacy skills. Advanced readers and striving readers alike need a regular reading routine and steady access to a variety of reading material to foster ongoing engagement with books.
Reading to your child every day is a must for developing fundamental skills they’ll use for life.
Read-alouds also encourage discussion with your child, who will relish your attention and the time together.
“When a parent reads aloud, there can be a lot of bonding over the story,” says Kathy Sahagian, a first-grade teacher in California. “Picture books or chapter books are good for this.”
Even older independent readers benefit from sharing a book with you, especially since this set is more likely to let reading habits fall by the wayside once academic and social demands take over.
“If parents continue to show excitement and passion for reading in the upper grades, there is more of a chance that the students will hold onto their love for reading,” says Joe Saenz, a fifth-grade teacher in New Jersey. “The best way to show this excitement and passion is to share a novel together by reading aloud to each other at night.”
Here are four more tips to keep your child engaged with reading.
1. Find That Just-Right Book
Children feel confident and competent when they read books that are “just right” for them. So how do you find a just-right book? Have your child read the back and front cover to gauge their interest. Also ask them to read a sample page from the book: If there are more than five words on a given page that they cannot pronounce or understand in context, the book may be too challenging. Be supportive about finding a perfect fit. Choosing the right book will help your reader feel successful.
If your beginner reader loves humor, try the There Was an Old Lady series, which pairs rhyming text with whacky illustrations. The Dragon Masters and Diary of a Pug series are high-interest books from Scholastic’s Branches line, which supports newly independent readers with easy-to-read text, fast-paced plots, and pictures on every page.
2. Make Your Own Graphic Novel
Graphic novels are hugely popular among kids — especially striving readers, who can use context clues from the illustrations to more easily grasp story events.
To support readers drawn to graphic novels, consider making your own! During your next outing with your child, take action-packed photos. Then, have them draft captions to go with each picture. Assemble the pictures in a blank notebook or album, and write in their text in speech or thought bubbles to create a personalized — and probably hilarious — graphic novel.
Dog Man and The Bad Guys are two funny comic-style series sure to engage your child from the first book.
3. Connect With the Author
Your reader will soon develop a love for particular authors and illustrators. Nurture their fandom by helping them write a letter to their favorite author. Many authors have their own websites with contact information. You can also contact the book’s publisher, the mailing address for which can often be found on the back of the title page or on the publisher’s website.
4. Choose Short Books for Busy Weeknights
One way to fit in 20 minutes of daily reading and create moments of accomplishment for your child is to pick short books for your read-aloud. Fewer than 40 pages of a picture book or early chapter books means you can typically finish before bed — with enough time left over to discuss what your child liked about the story.
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