How to Get Kids Reading with Book Love!
Now that I’ve gotten all three of my kids reading, I realize that they were all reluctant readers at some point. Which made me wonder. Are all kids reluctant readers? Is reading like learning to ride a bicycle? A milestone skill that comes to kids at different points in their life? And, like learning to ride a bike, if we keep at it as parents, can we get all kids to love reading?
My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is now in 7th grade and a voracious reader but this was not always so. She was a classic reluctant reader when she was learning to read in Kindergarten and 1st grade. It turned out that it was the “performance” aspect of reading out loud that she hated. And the pressure … oops, from me, a newbie and stressed-out mom thinking that some of her friends were reading, actually reading at age 3 and we were far, far behind.
Parenting Fail #1. Run your own race. Read when you’re ready my child!
My middle child, PickyKidPix, is in 5th grade. By all accounts — report cards and standardized tests — she is a stellar student with excellent reading comprehension and writing skills. But, ah…. here’s the rub: She Only Reads To Complete Class Assignments. She absolutely does not read for pleasure. Ok, correction as I can hear her screaming in my brain though she is fast asleep. The Hunger Games trilogy. She raced through that with great enthusiasm.
I thought by 5th grade, a love of reading would naturally kick in. She’s picky, true, but she has excellent taste in books as evidenced from the high traffic to her blog on her recommended book lists.
Although she is capable of reading on her own, she needs someone to read the first few chapters aloud to her, just to get her into the “good” part of the story. I did this for her in 3rd grade and 4th grade and I should probably keep doing it for her.
Parenting Fail #2. A love of reading is a lifelong love of learning. Not to be confused with good grades or high standardized test scores.
My youngest is in 2nd grade. He too looks good on paper. He reads all kinds of books from non-fiction to chapter books. He likes picture books and graphic novels. He has piles and piles of books in his room. When he doesn’t get the books of his choosing during library time at school, he comes home really upset, particularly with the “stupid number drawing system” that he never seems to best.
But … he prefers to read solely at night. And I need to read out loud to him. When he takes a turn, he rushes through the words, skipping the conjunctions, and makes up words when he doesn’t recognize them, in an effort to get to the “good” stuff. The plot. The action. The funny part.
Parenting Fail #3. Speed reading does not actually win the race.
And so, I think every parent can benefit from a book on turning kids into enthusiastic readers. One of my very favorite bloggers, Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup, wrote an ebook that helps parents of all kinds of readers navigate the milestones to reading. I wish I had this book 10 years ago!
Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant Reader to Enthusiastic Reader by Melissa Taylor is for:
- Parents of kids who don’t like reading books.
- Parents of kids in preschool.
- Parents of kids in elementary school.
- Parents who don’t like to read themselves and worry it will rub off on their kids.
- ALL parents of children ages 4 – 10. Because who can’t use more ideas to motivate kids to read?
What else will you find in Book Love?
- book lists by interests (with links)
- alphabet and phonics activities and crafts
- sight word games
- favorite reading products
- rhyming word play games
- and more!
Melissa breaks down reasons why kids might not want to read (Too Boring, Too Tricky, Too Blurry, Too Sitty) and then offers simple and easy to implement reading strategies. It’s her range of ideas that are especially useful. She walks parents step-by-step though a process to help parents identify what the problem is and how to solve it.
Having trouble finding books that interest your child? Melissa walks you through an exercise to identify your child’s obsession: toys, games, animals, foods, friends, TV shows, movies, careers, sports, and colors. Then, you match obsession to books!
Her book feels like a trusted friend taking you by the hand to solve your problem of getting your child to love reading. Like a good friend, she never gives up. Her advice is doable. Her enthusiasm infectious. Her ideas practical. If you follow this book, you will succeed! Melissa was, after all, one of the most lauded teachers in Colorado.
Download the first chapter FREE here.
Kindle Fire version here.
Kindle paperwhite here.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
5 thoughts on “Are All Kids Reluctant Readers? Mine Are! And What to Do”
Yay! I love her blog, too. This book looks incredibly useful. My 4th grader started out strong reading, but has since become distracted with all the other fun things she could be doing instead, like iPad, painting her nails, jumping around and being loud. I feel like she’ll rediscover her love of reading, but for now she gets started just to complete her assigned reading time.
Fen is so talented like her mom and dad! If she loved reading before, I’m sure she will rediscover it this year. 4th grade is great because the chapter books all of a sudden get soooo good!
I really might get this book from Melissa, thanks for sharing it Sue!
It’s a really great resource!! I highly recommend it for any parent struggling with trying to get their child reading. I just emailed a few of my mom friends with the link.
Mia, thanks for sharing this and other timely info, being an older first time Dad, having 4 and 6 year old boy’s, definitely out of touch with expectations and pressure from the outside as to what levels children should be versus where they are at. We just moved out from Back Bay and now renting in Needham, so a little out of rhythm with the community, Jeff B.