“Students who met the standard in reading in Grades 3 and 6 and were successful in Grade 10 were two and a half times more likely to be engaged in reading outside of school,” said Debra Rantz, chief assessment officer for Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).
This statistic doesn’t actually come as a great surprise. It only makes sense that learners would excel in their studies with more practice in reading. The challenge is, of course, getting kids to read in the first place. At Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space we support a great number of children and teens who are less than fond of reading. Some struggle cognitively, others have visual/spatial interferences, and many are simply unmotivated by the stories and text they have been required to read. Reading for pleasure is a lifestyle that must be modeled and nurtured.
Follow the tips below to help inspire your son or daughter to read at home for pleasure, not just for homework!
Start them early – Feed off of children’s early eagerness to explore books, listen and tell stories, and to prove themselves as readers. By establishing a daily routine of reading at an early age, children are more likely to adopt reading for life.
Appeal to specific interests – Ask your children to choose their own books. Everyone is more motivated and engaged by his or her own unique interests.
Visit your local library – As often as possible, take a family trip to your local library to immerse your children in the world of books. Let them become involved in one of the many clubs and/or reading groups.
Set goals, track & reward – Align reading with the notion of achievement by encouraging your children to set personal reading goals, track these on a visual calendar, or list and reward them with a special activity or outing for their successes along the way.
Put limits on screen time – This is a simple way to leave more time for reading at home. However, beware of linking the idea of reading as a consequence to not having screens. Be strategic in how you implement and communicate this.
Build a home library – Having access to as many reading materials as possible can naturally inspire reading for pleasure. A personal library can be a great source of pride for a child and can provide a sense of responsibility and maturity.
Be a role model – As a parent, it is important that you regularly read at home. Whether novels, magazines, newspapers, or on-line, reading yourself will set a healthy example for your children.
Reading is more than books – Some readers prefer short stories, non-fiction articles, or reading recipes. Whatever the source, reading is always valuable.
Read for purpose – We all like to know that what we are doing or working toward is meaningful and perhaps even leading to something tangible. Reading for purpose is a practical way to motivate reading (game instructions, map directions, shopping lists, etc.).
Books for gifts – Give your child a book for every holiday to build in a feeling of anticipation and joy for a new book. Write a personal note on the inside cover to add a special touch.
Personalize – Create a feeling of ownership and pride by providing your son or daughter with personalized book labels or fun and fancy book accessories (e.g., book cozy, book marks etc.).
Bring stories to life – Discuss stories with your children to increase their verbal communication skills, recall skills, and descriptive language. Encourage their imagination and creativity by having them act out the story and video record them for fun.
Read with heart – Involve your family in a reading charity or book donation program to teach your children how great giving feels.
Community book swap – Keep reading green and make it social by gathering family and neighbours for a full afternoon of book swapping.
For more ideas on how to inspire your children or teens to read for pleasure, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.