Welcome Fiona to 3 Boys and a Dog. Fiona has an AWESOME story so after reading her tips and tricks, be sure to run to her website to find out more about her and her adopted daughter. 🙂
Helping Kids Read Better With Homeschooling
Parents give many reasons why they prefer to home school their kids: better academic test results, poor public school environment, improved character/morality development, and objections to what is taught locally in public school. Homeschooling cannot be undertaken lightly. Parents need to be dedicated and may have to sacrifice two incomes for one because one parent has to take on the schooling task. The benefits can be enormous, and include better bonding with kids, being able to monitor their academic progress, and sharing the joy of reading, obviously the cornerstone of any schooling program.
Reading is one of the hardest aspects of learning because kids must love reading to benefit. Here the home school parent can really ‘get stuck in’ with loads of novel and fun ideas that transform reading from a chore to the best activity imaginable. It can be disappointing when your child expresses absolutely no interest in reading. However, you can change that by coming up with new and interesting ways to ‘package’ the art of reading. Reading is a skill, just like any other skill. It has to be introduced, nurtured, and developed. Children don’t enjoy what they can’t do. When reading is difficult, they shy away from even coming near a book. Turning your non-reader into a reader will require your participation and encouragement every step of the way.
- A good way to begin is to actually assess your child’s reading level. If it’s below par, then that’s one reason why he or she isn’t keen on books. Have your child read a page or two from a variety of books they might enjoy. Make a list of the words they find easy/hard/not understood. Once you have an idea of their level, based on vocabulary skills, then you can move forward. In fact, to build your child’s confidence, perhaps begin with a book for a younger age. Your child will skim through it, feeling proud at having finished and understood it, and you can offer praise by saying, “Look how easily you managed that! Shall we try something else?”
- A book can appear quite a formidable object to a non-reader. Begin small. Start with a thinner book and say, “I bet we’ll finish this quickly.” Then let your child read the book in bite-sized pieces. Don’t try for ten pages—read only four or five pages. Your child will feel this is not a huge task after all.
- Reading aloud is something that all parents should do, regardless of children’s age. Most children really love that special time when Mom or Dad comes in to say good night. You can say, “Hey! I’ve got something really exciting here. Want to hear some?” Anything to delay turning off the light, your child will say (of course) “Yeah!” You can make this session into something really memorable by acting the parts and using your Repertoire of Funny Voices, but more importantly, stop at a really exciting point, just when the hero is about to be plunged into mortal danger. Close the book and say, “Gosh! I hope he survives. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.” Generally, no kid can go to sleep without confirming their hero is indeed still alive…
- Praise and admiration boost a child’s confidence. You can do this by letting friends and family members know just how well your child is doing. “It’s amazing how many pages (child’s name) is reading every day now!” Soon your child will be the one to suggest reading. Use the time together to understand your child’s thought processes, and structure the book choices around what really sparks their interest.
- Get your child their own library card and encourage them to begin choosing their own material, based on what captures their interest. Buying book vouchers instead of other kinds of gifts will encourage your child to start building their ‘own’ collection of cherished books.
Fiona Ingram (B.A., Hons. (Natal), M.A., (Wits)) was born and educated in South Africa. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. The first book was inspired by an actual trip the author took to Egypt with her two young nephews (then aged 10 and 12).
Fiona’s dedication to helping children read better was inspired when she adopted a disadvantaged African child who was still basically illiterate at age eleven. Visit Fiona’s author site at www.FionaIngram.com for more articles on helping your child become a better reader.
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