You might be the sort of person who has said to another person, “I don’t really read.” If not you, then there is probably a few people (or a lot) who have said something similar at some point in time. For those who are voracious readers, they cannot consider living their lives differently. I can’t go on a weekend trip out of town without at least two or three titles and my Kindle. My wife just isn’t wired that way.
As we raise our children, we might quickly find that some of them just aren’t really into reading. They have a long list of things they would rather do than read. Some parents get concerned; many go to teachers for insight and help. Yet, some kids are just wired that way.
One thing that might hold a kid back from reading, is that they are struggling in some way, shape, or form. In the future we’ll talk about what to do if your child has comprehension, fluency, or even phonemic awareness issues.
As for the kids who can read, and just prefer not to, the issue is a bit different. The introverted child can sit down with a book and spend a lot of time by themselves enjoying the comfort and amusement of a book. Yet most kids aren’t really wired that way. They are wired to be social beings, and when they choose not to read, it is often times in favor of activities that allow them to directly interact with other people. These are the kids who will complain about reading, and the fact that they find it boring.
What is a parent to do?
Talk About Books With Your Kids!
If your kid is one of those who simply finds reading boring, the best way to change that is to try and turn reading in to a social activity. The simplest way to do this, is to have regular and frequent conversations about books and the things they are reading? Ask them about their favorite books, their favorite writers, and have them explain why. Every book your child reads is an opportunity to have an intelligent and thoughtful discussion. You can find all sorts of information about HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Questions). Teachers use these to develop thinking and problem solving skills with their students. As a parent, it should be more about the conversation. Reading doesn’t have to be about sitting quietly in a chair and flipping through the pages. For a kid who finds reading boring, it can be about having interesting and fun things to talk about when you have these discussions about reading.
Take Advantage of Local Story Times
We are very fortunate to be living in Cincinnati, with the large number of story time opportunities that exist within the city limits. These types of events allow families and friends to get together, interact with each other, in an experience based entirely around reading. Not only do these types of things expose kids to books and literature, but they are able to connect it to having a good time with other people.
For the animal lover, there is a chain of used bookstores that have started Puppy Reading programs, in which once or twice a month volunteers bring in dogs for children to read to. It takes the somewhat solitary act of reading into a more exciting and memorable experience.
Find Ways to Read Together
This can look a lot of different ways. For starters, it can mean setting aside time each day or each day for everybody to sit down and read together. This of course could lend itself to those conversations about books from earlier. For families who spend a lot of time in the car, it’s the perfect place to enjoy an audiobook. Everybody gets to listen to the same story and the same time, which again allows families the chance to discuss books and stories with each other. For those with older kids, you can just read the same book at the same time. Is your teenager anxious and excited about the new Hunger Games movie? Why not both read the book before seeing it in theatres? It would be like having a book club with your kids. More than anything, it allows you to have better conversations with your kids about books and what they’re reading.
Look For More Social Reading Opportunities
There are so many ways you can take reading and make it a social activity, each one doing its small part to make reading a valuable and exciting part of a child’s life. A few examples include:
- Take your kid to the annual Books by the Banks convention, in which thousands of people gather to share their love of reading. The next one is in October 2015.
- The Cincinnati Comic Expo is another large scale event directly connected with reading, which will be back in the summer.
- Bring your children to Book Signing and Author Events. There are a few bookstores in the area that regularly bring authors in for signings and readings. It can be really cool for a kid to meet and interact with the person who writes the books they enjoy.
- For the internet savvy, consider setting up your kid with a Goodreads account. Goodreads is a social media site which allows people to track and discuss what they are reading, create book reviews, and discover new authors and titles.
There is no limit to the ways you can show your kids that reading doesn’t have to be boring, and that there can be a huge social aspect to reading. Putting some of these suggestions and strategies to work is a great way to show your kid that reading doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be a gateway to a number of amazing conversations and exciting experiences.
To read the first installments in this series on How to Build a Bookworm, click HERE.