TIPS TO ENCOURAGE
- Begin reading to children early. Nursery rhymes and rhyming books will help them learn to read.
- Continue family reading through the teen years. Reading together aloud or silently creates an atmosphere in which children are likely to love books.
- Permit children to stay up half an hour later at night if they’re reading to themselves in bed (kids don’t usually like to sleep; it’s adults who do).
- Encourage children to read whatever they enjoy. Don’t insist they read grade-level material. Comics, cartoons, sports magazines, easy material, and books read multiple times are all good for building reading confidence.
- Model reading by keeping a book or magazine around that your children see you enjoying.
- Become a regular visitor with your children to libraries. Wander through them as part of your travels.
- When shopping, stop by bookstores and browse and purchase books.
- Computers and the Internet can be sources of good reading. Keep the computer in a family room to prevent inappropriate use.
- Limit TV watching and video games. If this becomes a power struggle, you may find a plug lock1 very effective.
- Encourage classroom contests and rewards for
numbers of books read. Begin with small numbers and increase expectations gradually.
ADDITIONAL TIPS TO
ENCOURAGE POOR READERS
- If your child is having serious reading problems, ask your school psychologist or private clinic to provide an evaluation for a reading disability.
- If that yields no explanation, you may want to have your child evaluated for a specific reading disability called Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome2. It is a biological disorder that is typically inherited.
- Don’t force children to read aloud to you be-cause your anxiety about their poor reading may convey itself to them and cause them to become more anxious. You should, however, encourage children to read to you if they enjoy it.
- Encourage your children to read to their younger siblings or neighbors.
- Ask your children’s teachers to permit them to read aloud to preschoolers or kindergarteners. The books are easy, and the enthusiastic audience of small children will build their confidence.
- Encourage children to read stories while listening to audio tapes of the stories.
- Don’t read homework instructions to your children. If they don’t understand, encourage them to “whisper” read the instructions to themselves several times.
- If your children continue to require assistance in understanding assignments, tape record the instructions, and let them listen while they’re reading them.
- Content area textbooks such as social studies or science should be available to your children on cassette tapes for simultaneous listening while reading.
- Don’t assume your children are less intelligent because they don’t read well. Many poor readers have average, above-average, and even gifted abilities. (See NAGC Position Paper on Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities; excerpts can be found on the next page.)
- Don’t force your children to read aloud under unpredictable or embarrassing circumstances.
- Don’t unintentionally label your children as poor readers by talking about their problems (referentially) to others within their hearing.
- Encourage responsibility. Identify a means by which your children can carry on activities independently by use of audio equipment instead of depending on others.
- Encourage your children to become actively involved in drama or speech. Memorizing lines will build their confidence.
- Be patient and supportive. If your children continue to read in an unpressured way, they will eventually learn to love reading.
by Sylvia B. Rimm. All rights reserved. This publication, or
parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written
permission of the author.