Make Reading Fun: 3 Ideas Kids Will Love
Wow! This is such an amazing topic, and one very dear to my heart. Working with reluctant readers, writers and drawers is thrilling.
To see an advanced writer gain a new skill and advance even further is great. To see an advanced reader find a new book they love is amazing. But to see a reluctant reader, who has never wanted to read before, suddenly reading a book three times? That is out of this world!
To see a young child who thought they couldn’t write or draw suddenly realise it IS in them, and they CAN do it, and now they want to do it all the time? That is life-changing, for them and for me.
So how do we do it? As authors, illustrators, educators, caregivers, parents and grandparents, how do we get that excitement pulsing through a reluctant reader’s veins? Well, as it happens, I have a few thoughts on the topic, and here are my Top 3!
1. Make it fun! Even as adults, we want to do more of the things we enjoy! It’s pretty simple! We want to be around people who make us feel good, we want to do activities we love doing, and so that is what we long to do more of. Funnily enough, children are the same. I know! Crazy, right? But they are. If we’re making them read boring books just so they are reading, why would they want to do more of that? If we treat reading as a chore, why would they want to do more of that? We need to make it fun, and exciting, and an adventure, because that’s exactly what it is!
2. Make it achievable. I believe this is true with reading, writing and drawing! Children (and adults) often think they can’t draw, but if you break it down, suddenly they see it is little steps, and little steps they can totally do. Once you go through the steps, you have a picture! It’s the same with reading. If a child doesn’t want to read, and you shove a book with pages filled with text at them, it’s overwhelming for them. Even if they want to read, they probably won’t. Make it achievable. Make it something they feel like they can do, and even if that means a picture book you think is too young for them, if they’re reading … they’re reading! They will move on. They will get sick of reading something too easy for them.
3. When reading for fun, let the child choose the book (within reason). This is a tricky one for lots of adults. We don’t want our kids reading comics, or books that seem too young for them, or gross books, or whatever, but here’s the thing … if we are choosing for them, we’re putting our beliefs of what is a good book on them. We want to create a love of reading. If it isn’t fun, or it isn’t achievable, or it isn’t what they want to read, they won’t read for fun, and that’s what we want! And they will grow out of it. If they are reading picture books and loving reading, it won’t be long before they’re thirsting for more. If they’re reading gross books, it won’t be long before they want to branch out to other topics as well. Letting them choose gives them responsibility and accountability and most of all, choice!
So there you go. My two cents on engaging reluctant readers. Of course, these are just my thoughts, but I hope you had fun reading them!
About the Author
Adam Wallace is a New York Times best-selling author of over 100 books including the How to Catch series, 24 Absolutely, Totally True Facts About Penguins, Invisible Jerry and many more! You can find Adam at adam-wallace-books.com, and on Make Momentos!