5 Ways to Help Improve Your Child's Reading Scores
Not a lot of kids enjoy reading Shakespeare or Homer, but they're going to have to do it at some point. But how do you help a student, who is unwilling to read on their own accord (without some force), take interest in such an important aspect of their education?
1. Allow them to read about their interest.
Most parents asks their kids to read books from either the school curriculum (e.g. reading lists, assigned reading, etc.) or to ask them to read the classics. Although, this may be essential for them to pass the class/do the homework/complete the assignment, this could lead to some kids feeling pressured. Some may even grow to dislike reading!
A good way to encourage more reading, is to just let the kids read. Whether it be a comic book, a picture book (even if you think they are too old to read it), or a romantic novel. It's essential that kids read something. Think of it this way, in every book, there is something for us to learn. Maybe a new vocabulary word? Or a new theme? Maybe they learn about conflict. Maybe they can relate the story that they like to one of the stories assigned at school. Whatever it may be, it will be beneficial.
2. Read together.
But my kid 's 14! I have no time to read Hamlet with them!
And, that's the problem. Yes, you may have a lot of responsibilities, but so does your kid. Not only do they have school, but with every age group comes different milestones and developmental hurdles. This may not work with every family situation, but it's food for thought. Investing some time in reading with them will motivate them to read as well. Maybe you don't have to read together. Maybe you read separately, but make it known. Make sure they know that you are also on this journey with them. Talk about it. It's like an age-old way to connect through stories. Just like how we can binge-watch Game of Thrones, you can discuss why you think The Tale of Two Cities suuuuucckkkkks.
3. Set time apart for reading.
Kids love structure. They crave it, biologically-speaking. So, set up a routine time for them to sit down and read. They will do it, eventually, but that's the easy part. As the parent, you need to ensure that this magical hour is not disturbed by loud conversations, the TV, or even a little sibling. All because you tell a kid to sit in a corner and read, doesn't mean they will do it. Make sure that they have the right tools to do it. The most important ones are good lighting and no distractions.
If you have a little one running around, use this time to also get them in the habit of good reading! Maybe you can go in the other room and read to the younger one, while the older child is outside reading (undisturbed!). For older kids, it's a bit trickier because of their cellphones. Ask them to unplug for an hour. Trust me, they may think it's torture, but as you and I know, they'll crave these nice "curl-up into a ball with a book" moments in the future.
4. Allow them to doodle.
For the younger ones, you can ask them to draw a picture related to the story. This will not only help them understand what they have read, but it boosts their creativity. For the older kids, I would say 8 or older, you can allow them to draw or even write on their books. This is their first step to learning how to annotate. They can do whatever they want, in whatever color they want. It will help them process the story faster and they can always refer to their "notes".
Now, no one is asking you to allow your kids to scribble all over your first edition of Harry Potter. Please don't do that.
5. Never give up.
I know it's hard sometimes, especially when you're dealing with a grouchy teenager or a energetic toddler. Either way, it's a long process. Some kids may need more pushing than others. Some kids may even say that they're just not good readers. Everybody can be a good reader, but it takes time and effort. Some days, you may miss the reading hour and some weeks, you may skip it all together. Don't give up. Reading is a beautiful past-time, that everybody, no matter their age, can enjoy.