We had parents evening last night and I was thrilled to hear that the eldest appears to have started to enjoy reading. I had an inkling myself as I’ve had a few requests for books recently, which has surprised me because this hasn’t happened before. The eldest is our ‘reluctant’ reader, the other children simply cant get enough of books and the magic that is contained within.
So, how has it come to this? I thought it might be useful to let you know some of the strategies that I have used to encourage my children to read:
Most importantly, we have a house full of books. I will hardly ever refuse a request to go to the library or to buy a book (unless we cant afford it, in which case we will go to the library.
I’ve spent hours and hours reading to my youngest two children- the ones which love reading now! I was at work when the eldest was little and I think maybe this did have an influence as he simply wasn’t exposed to as many stories.
Children’s book club: For the past few years the children have all been part of a book club which meets at various times usually in school holidays. As a group of friends we make the time for this and I think this demonstrates the value that we place on books and literature. More recently a breakthrough has been made for my eldest as he has started a book club for his peer group and they thoroughly enjoy reading the books the pick and discussing them. Because he wants to impress his circle of friends he reads and has developed a bit of a habit.
Creating exciting places to read: We’ve had loads of fun in recent years creating tents and dens in various places with the express purpose of making them reading dens. This has worked a treat and its not unusual to find the children curled up under some sheets or utilising a cardboard box to create in a little den in which to enjoy a book.
Digital Reading: I’ve also purchased some Nooks which has meant that the children can use technology to read their books. This has proved especially useful and encouraging for the boys.
First News: I’ve been really surprised at how interested the children have been in reading their own newspaper. I guess its because they see me reading one on a daily basis and how much importance I place on the news. First News is a brilliant newspaper that is designed especially for kids and my children now have an annual subscription.
Boys reading club: One of the best things our school has done is to instigate a boys reading club. This has enabled the boy and his peers to sit and read about poo and the Guinness World Records and things which interest him. Its been lovely to hear about these sessions and the enthusiasm which my boy felt and if your school hasn’t got anything similar I’d suggest you ask them.
Reading Eggs: After finding it difficult to teach the boy to read, I decided that I needed to think a bit more laterally. After doing loads of research I stumbled across Reading Eggs which is an interactive computer based phonics tuition system. This really helped the boy and Fifi to get to grips which what they were learning and I will be using it for Ned as soon as he goes to nursery. Its a brilliant tool and there are also a series of very cheap iPad apps which have been useful for car journeys and waiting rooms.
I hope you have found these tips useful, they are all things that I have done personally. I’d be interested to hear any other tips you might have from your personal experience. The things I’m concentrating on now is how to keep this enthusiasm for reading fresh!