“Avanthika loved books as a child,” says her mother. “Her face used to light up every time I pulled out her favourite set of books to read. We have read so many books over and over again. But things changed once she started school and the pressure to read on her own increased.”
That statement kept working on my mind and prompted me to look at the “reading” situation from Avanthika’s perspective. Sitting on her mother’s lap and listening to a wonderful story from a book that has the most beautiful pictures, always took her to a different world altogether. Things changed once school came into the picture. While initially it all seemed like fun, the pressure to perform and read on her own caught on. The very thing that she loved about books was lost.
She was being bombarded with a variety of materials in the form of flash cards, videos, some of which are funny but many bored her. But the worst of it all was someone breathing down her neck, seeing her with keen eyes, waiting for her to read, waiting for her to make a mistake that can be corrected. All of a sudden, books that promised the comfort of a parent’s lap or welcome change of scene in class becomes yet another learning task. It appears that is exactly what happened as one day she told her mother, learning to read on one’s own is no fun at all. There is no story, nothing to look forward to.
Ensuring that reading is a tool to learn more and not a barrier.
The process of learning to read can be quite challenging, frustrating even both for the child and parent. Children at the risk of reading failure are more likely to lose self esteem and motivation to learn unless they have the required support. Without support it is highly likely that reading will be seen more as barrier than a tool that enables learning.
In order to support children with reading difficulties, targeted reading practice using tools such as flash cards, audio and video kits are important. Frequent testing too is required and cannot be avoided much to the dismay of children. However this can be made pleasurable activity by showing children story books that they like. Even better story books with themselves as characters, achieving something important, such as solving a problem or helping someone in need. What this does is to take off the stress in reading by focusing on their self esteem and showing them as a person who is capable of doing something important. The concept can be extended further to show her character in the book as someone who works hard to master reading and immensely benefitting from all that hard work. This could reinforce the fact that with sufficient practice he or she could read well in real life too. After all stories are a means of communication and probably the best way to convey anything to a child.
If you would like to be part of a reading community that discusses about making reading fun for children, MerryGoBooks has a quickly growing community on Facebook- THE READING JOURNEY. Please feel free to join in and talk about your experiences in this regard, ask for book recommendations, suggestions to get your child interested in reading and so on. Looking forward to seeing you there.