HELP YOUR RELUCTANT READER RENEW THE JOY OF READING THIS EASTER

What does Easter mean to you?

Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Saviour Jesus Christ, three days after a painful and public death on the cross. Whatever your faith, or even if you don’t have any spiritual beliefs, it is widely accepted that Easter has come to symbolise hope and rebirth, and it has come to be associated with scavenger hunts, copious amounts of chocolates and rabbits (bunnies). Fittingly, it falls in the season of spring, a metaphor for regrowth and blooming of new life.

We say that there is no better season to attempt what has challenged you in the past, with renewed hope.

If you have been frustrated by a child who is reluctant to read, you will know that they do not enjoy reading, and are skilled at resisting opportunities to do so. They may try to distract you by clowning or even throwing tantrums, merely to avoid reading.

Your reluctant reader may be an able reader who does not enjoy reading, and has no desire to read because they do not see any benefits associated with this activity. Your child might think that it makes them look “uncool”, as they may believe that reading is for nerds. The instant pleasure offered by the TV, tablet or games console is far more appealing than the slow burn promised by the printed word. Others simply find it a boring activity, because they have never found a book that fires up their imaginations and speaks their language. Yet others are rebellious and find that refusing to read is an effective way of “taking a stand” against expectations.

All is not lost! Remember that this is the season of hope. There are strategies that you can follow or adapt to encourage your child take one step closer…

Let your child catch you enjoying a book, newspaper, magazine, anything printed! Children whose parents read for pleasure tend to copy them.

Shared reading, where you might read one page and have your child read a page or a paragraph, depending on their mood. You may also choose to let them read random isolated words, until they want to read more!

Don’t let them struggle. If they cannot read a word, simply read it for them and move on. Correct errors in a non-dramatic and non-critical way, but be sure to correct every error.

Be lavish and specific with your praise – “Wow, Kian, you blended those sounds together perfectly”! “Awesome, you have read a whole page all by yourself”. Non-specific “Well done” or “Good boy” is meaningless and may demotivate your child.

Rewards and recognition are great incentives for younger readers – give them stickers for achieving the daily reading goal, and at the end of the week, give them a treat (an Easter egg, perhaps?)!

Let older readers choose their book, even it wouldn’t be your first choice. Where possible, begin the tradition of reading a book, then watching the movie.

Audio books are a great way to share stories. Young children who are starting out on their journey to literacy can listen to a book while they follow the physical book, as a model of fluent reading. Established readers can close their eyes and let their imaginations roam unfettered, as they listen.

If all else fails and your child simply will not pick up a book, get them to read everything else for you. Recipes, instructions, maps, even the subtitles on television programmes!

Play games on your Easter Egg hunt – I spy with a twist, where you sound out the word and they have to blend the sounds to get the word answer.

Easter-themed books to enjoy:

Ages 3 - 6

Orchard Aesop’s Fables by Michael Morpugo (classic fiction/fables)

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (poetry collection)

The First Egg Hunt by Adam & Charlotte Guillain and Pippa Curnick
Paddington’s Easter Egg Hunt by Michael Bond & R. W. Alley

Ages 6-10

A Room Full of Chocolate by Jane Elson

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams & Sarah Massini

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Springtime Stories by Enid Blyton

Enjoy!

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