Reading, for many of us, is as natural as breathing. But what about those people for whom reading is a challenge? A struggle? A stress? Here are three fun and sneaky ways to get your whole family reading without anyone’s even realizing it. Try these new approaches to reading to see some big payoffs:
1. Travel (even if you stay in your own hometown!). When you’re out on the town, even if it’s in your own neighbourhood, environmental print — text on signs, posters, billboards, you name it — is a great way to get kids reading in a new and fun way.
Have your child “help” you read street signs in order to get you to your destination. Even beginning with a simple stop sign will get your child reading. Have him yell “STOP!” when he sees that big red sign, and soon he’ll recognize the letters when he sees them on the page.
Ask your child to find the big “H” for the community hospital, or to locate the EXIT sign in the movie theater or the elevator in the parking garage. Have an older child help you write grocery lists or to-do lists, checking off each item as it’s found.
If you really can skip town, travel brochures and menus will get everyone reading, as you work together to plan itineraries, meals and more.
2. Go Digital. If your child hesitates to pick up a traditional book, then don’t wait — go digital. Thousands and thousands of books and media are available to borrow on various electronic devices, and you can find them by checking your local library’s website.
Often these digital books, magazines and newspapers are interactive, which really helps engage reluctant readers. Reading comes to life in new and exciting ways, and often if a child finds something that works for him digitally — a series or new magazine, for example — he’s more likely to want to pick up the hard copy.
3. Research. Is your daughter totally into LEGOs? Does she design bridges for bugs, plant tomatoes for you or draw amazing amusement parks? Work together to find some books on these topics or on topics that relate, connect or inspire.
Does your son go nuts for Skylanders or Minecraft? Find books about the elements, about engineering or about the games themselves. Reading books about these topics will be both interesting and engaging.
As a family, research and plan something together. Research a weekend getaway. Do some Internet searches; pore through travel guides. Plan an easy gathering, and from creating invitations to facilitating the event to expediting the menu, kids will be doing so much reading they won’t even realize it.
It all counts, and often parents just need a little reminder that reading comes in many shapes, sizes and colours. So what are you waiting for? Start that sneaky reading!
*This is a guest post written by Amy Mascott, originally posted on the Sylvan Mom Minded Blog. Sylvan Learning Centre in Hamilton can assist your child by creating a customized tutoring plan (JK and up). Contact them for more information.