Do you have a reluctant reader?

Do you have a reluctant reader? Or perhaps you have a young learner who has not yet discovered a love of books? Over my years of teaching I have discovered that every child can experience the thrill of a new story book or enjoy the calmness that comes with reading a favourite fairy tale. There are three aspects that I feel are particularly important when trying to encourage little ones to read, and thus foster a great passion for books. First, children need to be aware of the purpose of reading. Secondly, it always helps to maintain their enthusiasm by incorporating their interests and thirdly we should model the behaviour that we want to see.

I always make the purpose of reading glaringly apparent to my young audience by mentioning how important ‘reading’ is before we start any game or story. It’s the underlying skill set that preludes any great game or imaginary play. For example you might try,
“We need to read the instructions on how to play this new game… we should read the lyrics to our favourite song so we can sing it correctly! … We could read the TV guide to find out what time your favourite television programme is on.” Ensure that your child realises that reading is part of your everyday lives and they will soon begin to see that it is an integral form of communication.

Using children’s interests works as a great hook to get them reading more often. If your child has a particular interest, such as animals, why not access the digital library Epic (www.getepic.com) and allow them to enjoy reading non-fiction texts about their favourite animal. There is lots of choice within this online resource, a must see if your book collection is a little bare. If your child loves to bake then find some recipes together, in books or online, and read them in order to gather what is needed. Your child will soon realise the importance of reading the ingredient list when its time to ‘taste test’ those freshly baked cookies!

Most importantly, if we want our children to be interested in books then we need to show them what an interest in books looks like. We need to model the joy and happiness that can be found from reading, sharing stories and being immersed in a text. A good way to do this is to build it into your routine. Bedtime stories are a must for every age! If you try to establish just one reading habit this would be it. Studies show that children who are read to from an early age have better language development which is turn supports their reading skills. But why stop there? Why not visit one of Dubai’s Public Libraries to find some new material, either share a story there or borrow some books to take home. Perhaps your child would enjoy a more active approach, there is currently a “Look for a Book” activity going on in many parks across Dubai. The idea is that children share books by hiding a text for another child to find and enjoy, before continuing the cycle. What a fantastic new way to read new books. Search for the group on Facebook for more information.

If you need any help or have any questions please come and chat to us about how we can help your child foster a love of reading, because it’s our mission to make every Arcadia student a book worm.

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