How to Make Your Kid Run to Books

by Queenie on March 11, 2010

Image of QueenieSo you have a kid, who in your mind is a genius, I mean everybody knows just how great your kid is, right? He or she asks the most astonishing questions and their mind can conceive of the most amazing things but there is just one thing,

Your kid hates to read.

I mean he will listen to a story- but when it’s his turn to read? Uh-uh. He is like a little escape artists dodging your request at all cost.

You feel like you’re doing something wrong. But just think- your kid is accustomed to learning everything with

Lights!

Camera!

Action!

And now you want your child to read words that are black with a white background.

Humm…Your child might be thinking one thing and one thing only: B-O-R-I-N-G!

Or, “Mom, dad that’s like a zillion itzy bitzy ants on the page and they look like they’re gonna crawl on me, EEKK get it away.”

Guess what. Reading is not something that is fun for all kids instantly.

In fact, because everyone is always talking about how reading is the gateway to success, from your child’s perspective its often seen as an ironclad gate filled with information that no one understands but the members of the secret reading society.

Wait, did you say Secret Society?

Trust me, everybody wants to be a member of the Secret Reading Society. But it looks overwhelming to join! Watching a Sesame Street video kids might think that they are catching tourettes or an instant stuttering problem with all the weird concoctions they have to do with their mouth and weird sounds.

So what can you do? As a member of this Secret Society you have to invite your child to what I’m calling Reading Rush Week. As the president you have to put on a spectacle!

In other words  you cant be bland or shy about this because that’s not what’cha want. You got have some spunk. Pizzazz. A little attitude. Like, “Ya know what’cha  talkin’ bout!” You gotta sell the benefits of membership to this Lifelong Fraternal Order.

Everytime you read a book to your child you have to give it magic. Shine a light on it. Like you’re the star that led the three wise men to baby Jesus – I mean you gotta dazzle it with a little flava.

Set a daily reading time, as the reading time is approaching say things like “I can’t wait to read that story,” or “I wonder what’s gonna happen in the end?”

If you have finished a book connect a character to the daily goings ons of the day. This is just like what happen to [insert characters name].

Smile after you read a story. I mean if you want your child to want in to this thang, you gotta show that you appreciate your membership. I mean if you’ve been a member for X amount of years you gotta show that you’re still thrilled about your society.

Its simple if you want your child to want it- you gotta do a lil something more than say “Go read.” Its an attitude. A culture. There is Pleasure. There is excitement. Start showing it!

Queenie Lindsey is an academic coach and educational consultant. She is the founder of Tandem Teaching and Distinguished Learning Group, an academic coaching firm. Follow her on Twitter.

{ 8 comments }

Sandy March 13, 2010 at 7:29 am

Keep getting the message out, Queenie! Showing my kids that I’M excited about reading has been the single most effective tool I’ve used to instill a love of reading in them. Thanks for sharing!

Leah March 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Great tips! I like the suggestion of bringing story characters up in everyday life.
.-= Leah´s last blog ..Guest Post by Bridget Pilloud =-.

Queenie March 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Leah,
Yes, reading is definitely a magical journey! Talking about the characters adds a splash of pizzaz and brings them to life.

Melissa March 22, 2010 at 7:05 am

I agree with Leah. When you talk about characters in every day life, you can help them to see how reading can be a thinking guide, to help them learn how to interact in the world in a positive way. It’s also easier to talk about really important issues when you’re talking about characters that your family knows well, rather than people in your life, or your child’s specific experiences. It opens the door to exploring all sorts of options, and gives a safe language to talk about difficult topics. “What do you think the character SHOULD do?” or, “Why did the character do that?” is sometimes easier for a child to discuss than “Why did you do that?” They are able to discuss real issues and form a mental framework for ways they can act when a challenging experience comes up!

Krys March 24, 2010 at 8:52 am

So I was on BART a few weeks back and this woman was reading to her younger of two sons, and he was barely one I think. She paused ever so often to ask him “Where is the organe fish?” “Where is the sun?” Perhaps to see what vocabulary he had mastered from previous readings.

But what was clear was that she was excited, and helpful – letting the young boy choose the book to read and then even switching cheerfully when he changed his mind.

I was trying NOT to stare, but my heart was warmed listening to how she engaged her little ones, including how she and her other son, who looked about 6, and was simply adorable. His cognitive skills seemed so advanced for his age. His little tie, and dress shoes were ABSOLUTELY precious.

So I totally agree on making it interesting – giving it flava… with your child especially in mind.

Keep up the great work Queenie 🙂
.-= Krys´s last blog ..On HAITI: Dear Journalists, Looting Doesn’t Exist in a DISASTER Area =-.

Queenie March 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Thats exactly what I am talking about Krys, children read and love to read when parents, or adults who care for them are truly apart of the process and are excited about it. Thanks for sharing this story- its really powerful~
.-= Queenie´s last blog ..Simple Stories to Chapter Books – Four Series Your Kids Will Love =-.

Melissa March 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for sharing this story, Krys! I love public transport stories. It brought back so many memories of the field trips we’d take when I was Patrick’s partner-we almost always took the public bus and the sweetest things would happen. Patrick would always tell his famous stories, and the kids would hang on his every word.

I remember this one time, we took over the back of the bus and there was a busboy wearing his uniform on the way to work, surrounded by all of our kids, enjoying the stories as much as we were. At a particularly suspenseful point, one of our shy sweeties was listening so closely it was like nothing else existed except his story, and she slowly sat down on the busboy’s lap! We all started laughing, and he joined in with the laughter! I wish I would’ve had a camera.

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