The golden rule to encouraging your child to read for pleasure is to lead by example. If the child sees the parent reaching out to a book or newspaper or a magazine to read as a means of unwinding or just for pleasure, children will follow.
Asha is a mother to a 9 year old who hates to read. Asha is a voracious reader, who has to have a book going on in the background of her life so to speak! A book that serves as incentive to wrap up all her work on time, so that she can settle with that book without having to worry about anything. Evidently she reads for pleasure and yet her 9 year old does not associate reading as an enjoyable activity. What went wrong?
”Isn’t Diary of a Wimpy Kid” for children who don’t like to read?” she asks. “I got him some copies. Tried telling him that we could read together. I even suggested that I will read 10 pages and he could read only 2 pages if he likes. He read 2 pages and said he is done. When I asked him what happened in the story, he was clueless! How do I make him read?”
Although at first this seems like a situation that makes you think “oh no, the golden rule did not work. Mom reads a lot but the kid does not want to read!” But a closer look points out some very interesting facts.
- Reading a book is shown as a chore. Saying that I will do some and you can do little if not as much as me, clearly indicates to the child that the parent looks at it as a job that needs to be ticked off. Thankfully, she is being considerate enough to keep his share of the job down to only 2 pages.
- Being quizzed after 2 pages reminds the child of all the tests that appear in school. Reading is not being associated with joy or fun but something that will be tested.
- In all probability the mother might have shown her disappointment when he could not tell her what happened in the story.
All that put together gives the following picture to the child:-
Reading is a chore that I can get rid off by doing a little. It is detestable however as I may get quizzed later on. Worst of all, my mother gets disappointed with me. But I detest this activity and I do not like seeing her disappointed. If I can somehow completely avoid this activity then I am free from all of the above.
Do you have another opinion of what could have gone wrong? Feel free to write about your opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org.