A bookworm isn’t made overnight. Reading can become tedious and stressful for kids if they are not encouraged from an early age. Developing this beautiful skill takes patience and determination both from parents and teachers, but can result in great life-long traits in students that can be applied to almost every aspect of life. Clearly establishing a distinction between schoolwork and recreational reading, we can all foster a deep love for reading that cannot easily be dissipated. Here are some expert techniques to inspire reading among even the most resistant students:
1. Highlight your child’s independence:
Find ways to encourage your child to read independently. Make sure that he has the time and space to devote to reading and that he has plenty of material to read for fun. Also, make time to take your son or daughter to the library regularly and encourage him or her to explore the space and its offerings.
2. Discuss What Your Child is Reading:
Ask your child about the books he is reading, both in school and for fun. Try to ask probing questions that go beyond having him just relate the action in a book. Ask about the themes of what he is reading and encourage him to summarize what he is reading and discuss it with you.
3. Set an Example for Good Reading Behavior:
Continue to model good reading behavior by discussing what you are reading. If you’ve just read an interesting magazine article, tell your child what you learned from it. Likewise, always make time to read for your own pleasure and try to do it in your child’s presence. The imitation game goes well beyond the toddler years.
4. Play Games:
Make a game out of broadening your child’s vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for him to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your 4th grader’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.
A fun game to play in the car or home that can involve the whole family is “what happens next.” Everyone should name a different object and then one person begins telling a story using all of these words. The next person must continue the story, picking up from where the last person stopped, while using at least one of the named objects, and having the story make sense as it continues. The silliness of where the storyline goes, combined with the use of the imagination, is a fun way to practice important listening and thinking skills.
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5. Use Technology to Encourage Reading:
For me, technology should be the last resort, but some children will need more persuading than others. Learn how to use technology to help develop your 4th grader’s growing interest in reading. There is a large selection of online books for children, many with interactive features such as animations or voice recording. You can also encourage his interest in reading by helping him find online sites about topics that interest him.
What works for you? How have you gotten your 4th grader to pick up the books and learn to love language?
about the author
Professor Scott Douglas is a retired school teacher and writer, as well as an avid pet lover and musician. After 30 years instilling love for literature in students of all ages, Mr. Douglas now spends most of his days with his nose in a book, on nature hikes or strolling with his grandkids (and his 3 four-legged kids).