Children are often encouraged to write book reviews based on books that they have chosen. You would expect them to jump at the idea and get down to work right away. After all it is a favourite book. Yet, most of the time, children who hate reading, resist the activity.
While it is a great idea to encourage children to write book reviews, using it as an instrument to inculcate a reading habit among children will most definitely fail. Most kids who don’t look forward to reading will not look forward to another activity such as writing after reading. To begin with reading is a chore. Add another activity that they are likely to hate, you have the perfect recipe for a disaster.
Most kids who don’t look forward to reading, will not look forward to another activity such as writing after reading.
7 year old Adam loves sports but could not find a book on sports in his library for his book review. Instead he chose a story book that he thought he might like. Back home he had no interest whatsoever in picking up that book, until his mother intervened and insisted that he must finish his work on time. Here is what followed after he read the book.
Mother: “You could start with if you liked the book.”
Mother: “Awesome! You could probably write what you liked most about the book and recommend it to others to read.”
Adam: “But I don’t want to recommend it.”
Mother: “Why not? I thought you said you liked it!”
Adam: “I liked it but I don’t want to recommend it.”
Clearly, Adam is least interested in reading or writing. Having been coerced to finish his work, he reads the book. Later he is trying to find a good reason to avoid the writing bit. The result is reading is being associated as a chore that results in more homework. There is no room for fun in this whole activity and hence a negative association with reading is firmly established.
What do you do if your child’s teacher sends home writing work based on a chosen book?
The teacher definitely has a specific purpose in sending that work home. The primary focus need not be reading, it could even be to enable the child to refine his or her comprehension skills, the ability to feel each character, appreciate the story and so on.
How to establish a positive association with reading?
You as a parent must have joint reading sessions that you both look forward to everyday. That means a set time and place for reading together. Did you know that if you stop reading thinking that your child is an independent reader and does not have to be read to, your child could lose interest in reading. All your years of hard work in exposing your child to a variety of books will go waste, if you stop reading.
Reading at all times must be associated with pleasure or fun. The time allotted for this must involve the child choosing a book and having the liberty to say “no” to your book suggestions.
While looking for books, the following pointers may help. Children love it when they know more than the character in the book. They can’t sit still trying to warn the character, but of course the character cannot be warned! A good book with loads of suspense and even better with humour is a treat for lovers of fiction. Lovers of non-fiction is perhaps more direct. The subject matter and the manner of presentation needs to catch their attention. If that’s done, they are on board.
Hi It is extremely important not to have a test at the end of this activity. You don’t have to find out if your child remembers everything or has understood everything. This has nothing to do with assessment. This has everything to do with fun!
So what are you waiting for? Pull out some time from your busy schedule to snuggle with your child to read a wonderful book today.
If you are a parent or a teacher, wanting to contribute your experience with respect to encouraging children to read for pleasure, please feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can ask to join our Facebook Group of parents and teachers- Reading Journey by MerryGoBooks