1. Find out their interests. I, often, make the analogy that if someone forced you to eat creme brulee in a structured, rigid manner, like school often does with education, you would lose the taste for it no matter how good it was. That’s the same with reading. People don’t like doing things that don’t interest them. So kids are naturally inclined to hate reading because it’s most popularly formed into a curriculum. Whether it’s video games, model cars, frogs or anything, if you’re kid finds it interesting, you won’t have to force them to read.
2. Make reading the entertainment. Do you know why kids like TV so much? Because it’s not structured and rigid. They can flop on the couch while laying back and watching their favorite programs. I wasn’t much of a reader, as a kid, because my parents would offer me TV as entertainment. Once your kids have found out what interests them, allow them to casually read their favorite book rather than turn on the TV.
3. Make it a “family thing”. Kids like being with family and they like learning, so why not mix the two. Spend lots of time reading with them to cultivate a love of it. Discuss topics that you read over dinner. Whether they realize it or not, kids long for parental attachment and when you give it to them, they feel encouraged to do what they need to do. Support them in getting involved with the things that you think matter to them.
4. Ditch curriculum. If you think structured creme brulee eating sounds weird, imagine structured reading. There is no curriculum for reading other than opening a book and reading it. If you think a curriculum or set of rules is going to make your child want to read, you’ve thought wrong. If your child is struggling, it’s obvious that the status quo of curriculum doesn’t work. So forget it and move on.
5. Figure it out. Most schools want you to believe that if your child doesn’t meet its “standards” of curriculum and development, than there’s something wrong. Your child does not have to learn to read or be an enthusiastic reader by a certain age. So, the thing to do is to start asking yourself questions. Is she ready to learn to read? Is she being forced to read when she doesn’t want to? If your child can not read yet, it’s quite likely that she is not ready to but will eventually, in her own time. If your child can read but is not that interested, find what interests them or let it go and be patience, they’ll read when they’re ready not when a school or educator tells them they should be.