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Inspiration for Uninspired Readers

When reading is a chore for a child, it loses its enjoyment. Here is a lighthearted approach to helping a child who finds reading tiresome and frustrating.

The article comes via Just a Touch of Crazy blog.

I wish I could say that JJ loved to read. But he doesn't. In fact, if you ask him if he likes to read, he definitely doesn't sugar coat it. "Nope," he says very matter of factly, and then turns his head back to the television.

Haha, get it? He doesn't love reading and he's always watching TV. That's what I was implying. Which is only partly true. He doesn't love reading and he's just sometimes watching TV.

Anyway, I must admit that we failed big time in the reading this summer. BIG time. I read to him some, and I made him read to me occasionally. . . but there was definitely not the reading every day for half an hour like I told myself we would do. Our summer reading hours turned into crazy hours of playing, packing, unpacking, or driving. The reading kind of got left in the dust.

But tomorrow JJ starts school. And to be honest, I'm not too worried that I ruined him over the summer and that he'll be back where he started last year. He'll be fine and I'm sure he'll pick up right where he left off and keep continuing to progress.

What I'm worried about it how I can help him to learn to love reading. At least a little bit. At least so that when I tell him it's time to read I don't have to pick up a crying, whining, limp, and pathetic child off the floor and throw loads of empty threats his way to get him to sit by me on the couch and read a book.

I'm obviously no pro at getting my child to clap his hands for joy when it comes to reading, BUT here are a few things I've figured out that have helped in our quest to get this kid reading.

1. It's fine to read a book multiple times. In fact, I think the more you read a book, the better it is. Usually this refers to shorter picture books, or chapter books that you can easily read aloud in one night and have your child start reading them to you the next night. JJ was always more eager to read when I read the book to him first. And not because he memorized the book from listening to it just one time, but because some of the harder words were easier for him to figure out when he kind of remembered what was going on, or what was going to happen.

2. If your child comes to word he doesn't know just tell him the word. It took me awhile to get on board with this. When kindergarten first started I encouraged Jace to sound out every word. But really, that was taking forever. And was painfully slow and painfully boring and just painful. Of course reading would be a dreaded time when you had to break a sweat trying to figure out each word. Poor little JJ. I'm sorry, buddy. But I figured it out, and now when we get to a word he doesn't know, I just tell him and we move on. I also think that helps with building a child's fluency.

3. If your child gets a word wrong, and it doesn't affect the comprehension let it go. If you need help remembering that, just sing this little song to the tune of the beloved Frozen Let It Go:

Let it go, let it go, cause it's just one little word!

Let it go, let it go, don't be an obnoxious turd!

It's possible I used to be an obnoxious reading turd. I'm trying to get better. And if the sentence is "the boy said" and your child reads, "the boy says" is it really necessary to jump in and make him do it over every single time? I think not. Especially when you're supposed to be reading for enjoyment.

4. Take turns reading. Read a paragraph to your child, and then have him read one. Read a page, then have him read one. And I totally think that when doing this, your reading time should be counted in the "minutes" of reading your child should be doing each night. (And speaking of, how long is your child supposed to read each night? Just curious. . .) Because when your children listen to you read, they are getting so much more than just a story. They are learning how to read fluently by listening to you reading fluently. Then they can mimic how you read immediately after you, and the process can be repeated over and over again in one sitting. Plus also once JJ said to me, "Here, Mom, you read this page. Because I really want to know what happens." It suddenly clicked, and I realized that when he was reading, he was working so hard to figure out the words, he couldn't follow the meaning of the story as much as he wanted to. And he really did want to! (YAAAY!)

5. Read fun books that interest your kid. I've been a believer of this since my very first class of second graders. We read chapter books together that were funny or suspenseful or exciting. Or all three combined. If I could tell my students just weren't getting into a book I picked, I would throw it aside and we would immediately start another. I try to do the same thing with JJ. Eventually he'll be forced to read the classics, right? For now, I say let's read something he wants to read. I try to show him two or three different books and let him pick the one he wants to read. When he gets to pick the book, he's usually a lot more agreeable about reading it. Click here to check out some books we've enjoyed together.

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