I’ve learned from reading plenty of articles about common strategies used by parents to help their little reluctant ones to read more. These strategies are common:
- Discussing the importance of reading independently
- Constantly discussing books, magazines, or articles
- Asking them about what they are reading in school
- Finding what they like and don’t like to read
- Not pushing one type of media over another
- Encouraging a variety of media
And when all of these strategies, help, but only for a short duration, your only option is to become firm. Be firm, concise, consistent, and invest your time. Combined with the above, you’ll find some success.
So, what does ”firm” mean?
Well, I’ll share my experience with my son. My wife and I implemented the steps above and had varying success levels. Given my teaching experience (Elementary Special Ed. Teacher) and my experience as a parent/father, I felt confident in what I was doing.
Until, I failed.
After inconsistent success with the above strategies combined with a whole lot of ingenuous puffery, I finally resorted to good-old-fashioned firmness with my reluctant reader son.
So, now, every other day or so, we read together. He is to sit and read-at a specific time and for a specific duration. I’ll read too, to show that I’m invested.
Seems like a ”well, duhh” strategy, doesn’t it?
The missing ingredient was Me. The above strategies were failing because, ”well, duhh,” I wasn’t investing myself-my time, my honesty.
I did invest in puffery, (a new and favorite word) though. I was full of air and lectured him with skill. You know, how important reading is, and how reading on your own helps with school, that there is no such thing as a reluctant reader, just a reader that hasn’t found that great book yet.
Then, I would leave him to his own device, return, and then find that he didn’t read much or none at all. I would lecture him again, with a bit of scold folded in, but not holding him to the reading, and this whole process would start again the next day. And…he continued to be a reluctant reader.
Yup, I was failing…miserably.
Why? Hmmm, well, I was taking the one ingredient from the equation that requires the most work, therefore the greatest success level, away…Me.
I hope to eventually remove Me. However, without Me for now, removing Me will undoubtedly bring failure again.
For a curated list of information, strategies, and tips for reluctant and struggling readers, click here.