But Mom, I hate reading

School has begun again. Your child’s teacher wants her to read at least 20 minutes each night. You know that reading is important, and you want to help your child become a successful student. But each night she whines and complains, “I HATE reading!” You never were much of a reader yourself, so you just don’t want to make it a battle. Or maybe you love to read, and you don’t understand your child’s hesitance. Read on for some thoughts to consider:

  • Most likely, your child will have some period of silent reading at school. Ask her how reading is done in her classroom. Email her teacher for some hints. (In the early grades, your child believes the teacher’s word is law.)
  • Expectyour child to read at home. Find a comfortable place for her to read. A sofa, a comfy chair, or some pillows on the floor may be her choice.
  • Turn offthe TV, the video games, and silence your cell phone. This tells your child that you value this as learning time.
  • Model As your child gets settled in to read, pick up your favorite book and begin reading. (Magazines don’t count. They rarely have the rich detail one finds in books.)
  • For a beginning reader, read withyour child; you read a sentence or paragraph and then it is her turn. After a few minutes of reading, prompt your child to recall the sequence of events in the story. Ask questions to encourage her to think about what might come next, or what the character in the story might be thinking. Give your perceptions and predictions as well to broaden her thinking.
  • If you have younger children that don’t read yet, read aloudto them in another location, or invite them to be quiet listeners as your school ager reads aloud.
  • Make your reading time part of the family routine. After dinner, or before bed are often when families find time to read together.  Pick a time that works for you and be consistent.

You do your very best to provide a safe place to live and healthy food for your child. With just a little structure and encouragement, you can open up the world of reading to her as well. Just begin!

Hint:  Don’t know how to help your child find an appropriate book.  As her teacher or your local librarian for some titles, or check out the Reading Is Fundamental website.

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