Motivating Reluctant Readers
I love sharing with you the children’s books that I love, both new and old. I also share tips that I find that make learning to read as easy as possible for our kids. But I know that some of you have hit the wall and are maybe getting more than a little frustrated.
What if you’ve done everything “right” and your kids still aren’t that interested in reading? You love to read. You’re in a book club. You have kids books and magazines and comics around the house. Your kids see you and your partner reading. You take regular family trips to the library. You read to them daily.
But your kids still would rather do anything else than read. Maybe even outright refuse to read. They are frustrated. You are frustrated. What if you are even starting to lose a little sleep over it? What then?
Here’s a secret – all of our “helping” can tip over into becoming a problem if WE care more about our kids’ ability to read than they do.
What? Am I telling you to care less? Kind of. Well, not so much less, but in a different way. I’m encouraging you to re-imagine your role in your kids’ reading life.
Here it comes…
If we love to read, if we adore finding a new book to dive into, if we always have a book on the go, we need to accept that our kids may never love books as much as we do.
I know! It’s a little scary to write those words.
Our job isn’t to motivate them to love it like we do, our job is to create the conditions and consequences for them to learn to read at a level appropriate for their age.
Of course knowing how to read is not negotiable – it’s not an extracurricular like the neighborhood soccer team that some kids are part of and some aren’t. It’s not a choice – everyone needs to know how to read.
As long as you are creating a home environment that values reading – lots of books around, limited screen time (TV and computers), regular library visits, daily reading (by your kids and to your kids) – let it go. Let go of the outcome. Let go of the frustration. Let go of dreaming and hoping that your motivation will somehow become their motivation. And trust that you are doing the right things – because you are.
ps. Here’s the caveat – make sure that you and your child’s teachers have ruled out any learning challenge that may be getting in the way of reading.