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When my youngest daughter was about four, she would quietly watch and listen to her brother and sister reading books aloud. As soon as the book was finished, she would bounce up and down, calling "Again! Again.. read it again." She listened until they were tired of reading.
And then she would take the book over to me and, opening to the first page, she would begin 'reading' it to me. She 'read' it perfectly, hardly missing a word. But sometimes she would turn the page too soon for the words.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss,
Learning to read can be a challenging adventure for some children. Everyone is excited, ready to encourage and help with those first steps into reading. Whether it's the teacher, mum, dad or, if you're like me, even the grandma- everyone is ready to jump in and help them progress and develop a life-long love of reading.
But sometimes, all the pressure and expectations from the adults can put a damper on the excitement of reading for your child. And, too, some kids expect to be able to read after just one day at school.
I remember my son telling me, after his first day at school, that he didn't have to go back 'cause he'd done that; he could read now. So I know how very disheartening it can be for children to discover that learning to read takes a lot of time. The subsequent discouragement and loss of excitement can lead to a child who loses the desire to read.
If we, as parents and grandparents, can find ways to make reading fun and enjoyable, our children will be more willing to sit down with us and read a book together. And... excitement is catching. If you're having fun reading with your child, they'll catch the excitement, too.
Here are a few ideas you might like to try make reading fun for your child.
1. Popcorn Reading
This is a fun way for a child to be able to read the words he/she knows and pass on the words that are causing frustration. While reading a book together, each of you take a turn reading aloud. When the one who is reading says the word popcorn, it is the other persons turn to read. For even more fun, have a bowl of popcorn to enjoy together.
2. Reading Buddy
Pair your reader up with an older reading buddy and have them read a book out loud together. We all have had times where an explanation of something made more sense coming from one of our peers or a sibling. This gives your child the opportunity to practice reading without an adult's watchful eye.
Another alternative, and one that is increasingly being used in schools, is to encourage your child to read the story to a friendly pet. You can be sure that your dog will watch and listen attentively throughout the book... and might even reward your child with an encouraging lick.
3. Highlight Delight
Grab an older book and a highlighter and have your child highlight every word one the page that he/she can read. After all the words your child knows are highlighted on the page, take a moment and have your child look and see how many words he/she can actually read. This is quite a confidence booster. (Don't do this with school readers or library books that must be returned.)
4. Torchlight Reading
Before your child is too tired at the end of the day, take some time and read in a dark room- maybe even on a blanket outdoors. Take a torch with you and read the book by the light of the torch. Little boys especially like this one.
5. Secret Hideout
What child hasn't built a fort at one time or another? If you don't already have a fort in your house or outside in the yard, help your child create one. It can a blanket fort, a small tent, a plywood fort outside, a tree house, or even a simple under to bed fort. (Just make sure you both can fit...being able to get out once you're in is helpful too!) Bring your child's favourite reading book, get comfortable and read away.
6. Reading Corner
Make a reading corner somewhere in your home. Let your child be a part of decorating it and picking just the right spot to place it. Add some bean bags or pillows, maybe a favourite poster on the wall or even some family pictures.
7. Picture Detective
Have your child flip through a book and look at all the pictures and tell you what he/she thinks is going to happen in the story. Read the story and see how close he/she was.
8. Pop-up word
Pick one word that your child particularly has a hard time with and every time your child reads that word, both of you stand up. This will help him/her remember the word because an action is associated with it. This works particularly well with kinesthetic learners. (A child who wants to move all the time and likes to touch and feel everything.)
9. Star of the Story
Have you ever seen a personalised story book where your child's name is printed in the story? This is a unique way to get your reluctant reader excited about a book. In these kinds of books, your child's name and the name of his/her friends are printed in the story-line, making your child the star of his/her very own book! How motivating is that? He/she will have to read the book to find out what kind of adventure he/she will be going on!
To learn more about personalised story books, click the link below.
10. Sign up for a subscription to an online/app reading program like Epic.
Now this, is great! I've just recently taken out a subscription with this award-winning program for my grandkids and everyone is loving it. Epic has been described as the Netflix of reading books for kids.
You can access the program via your computer but it's easy for the kids to use the app on an iPad or smartphone. When you sign up, you set up the reading level for each child and then it's like an online library. Your child can choose any book or reading suggestion within their reading level- non-fiction, fiction, read-to-me, STEM, learning videos, quizzes and more. The audio-enabled read-to-me books highlight the text on the page as each word is spoken. It's a simple, yet effective way for your child to gain confidence and fluency in their reading.
My grandkids are home-schooled so it works well as an additional learning resource. Whenever they finish their work or have some free time, they just take out the iPad and choose a book.
A weekly progress report is emailed and can be printed off and presented to each reader. The badges earned are a great incentive.
Sometimes, just taking your child to the library so they can choose their own books to read can make a big difference, or taking a beanbag outside to read in the shade of a tree. I remember much of my childhood was spent with a book perched high amongst the leaves of a shady tree in the backyard.
Take a break and just read to your child sometimes. No explanation needed here. There are so many different ideas. Hopefully, these should get you started and will help you and your grandkids enjoy the reading adventures you share together.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.