Some kids love to read and some don’t. Some children are content to curl up somewhere and listen to a story being read (or to read for themselves when they are capable). They enjoy being lost in the story and spending that special time with a parent or loved one.
Other children, however, just don’t like the intensity of concentration required for reading (or listening to a story) and have a hard time sitting still that long. For these children, they equate reading with having to sit still and be quiet and that can cause some discomfort for them and in turn, create an aversion to reading to, in general.
If you have a child who falls into the second category, you might want to try some of these easy techniques to get your child excited about reading.
First, if you haven’t done so already, make it a point to make a big event out of visiting your local library’s children’s department. Usually the people who work at the library are so pleasant and helpful and they can help your child find books that would be of the most interest to them, which helps tremendously when it is actually time to get your child to listen to the story.
Getting their very own library card can be a significant event in a youngster’s life. And a lot of libraries also have computers set up with educational games for the children, as well. This, in itself, creates a pleasant association with choosing the books you will read together and many children will then look forward to coming back each week or however often you choose.
Another great idea is to create a “Reading Worm”. You and your child can cut out circles from construction paper in all different colors or a certain color pattern your child likes best. Then you cut out one big circle for the head and have your child decorate it however they like, maybe with pipe cleaners for antennae or plastic beady eyes, whatever they want.
Next, choose an area to display your reading worm and hang the head. You can use a wall or the refrigerator or even a special notebook. For every book you read together, your child gets to choose a circle to add to the body. You can even have your child draw a picture on the circle inspired by the story or write the name of the book and the author. Just have fun with it. Perhaps, for every five or ten books you read together you can create a small reward, such as a small ice cream cone or a matchbox car. Your child will enjoy watching the worm get bigger and being able to see what they have accomplished.
Third, if your child is fidgety or hyper and has a hard time sitting still for long, give him/her something quiet to play with, right before story time. For whatever reason, your child may have a need to release excess energy and having a ball of Play-Doh to knead and work with during story time can actually help them focus that energy in a contained and quiet way that will allow them to be more receptive to listening to the story.