Teaching a Child to Read Expressively

Posted by Elisabeth Tanner on 7/18/2016 to Homeschooling
My daughter loves to read, be read to, listen to audio books…she is a story girl. Finding a genre that will keep her attention is not hard. Much like her Mama, if it has print, she will read it. My third grade son, however, approaches reading very differently. Although a good reader, he still often views reading as work and not entertainment. We have introduced him to many different authors, genres, and styles of writing before we discovered the type of books that will hold his attention. As stated before, I will read anything I can get my hands on (including the back of the cereal box and my husband’s hunting magazines). In order to encourage my son in a love for stories, I have had to step out of my own enthusiastic response to words and look at reading though his eyes. This young boy enjoys action from the get-go. If a book takes three chapters to get interesting, he’s done with it. He wants stories that feel relevant to him—topics that interest him (cowboys and historical wars) and characters he can relate to and act out. He wants to be stirred in his imagination and challenged by a mysterious plotline. My son will not read just for the sheer pleasure of reading, but for the content of the story and how it affects him.

Do you have an enthusiastic reader—a lover of words? Or like my son, do you have a child who could find three hundred other things to do before he/she would chose to read? I encourage you to not give up in this pursuit of an interested reader! Ask your child to describe a few of his favorite things and then look for books about those topics (both fiction and non-fiction). What do they like to play? Choose a biography about a person who has lived those same kind of adventures in real life. Offer a variety of styles of literature, as well: physical printed books, e-readers, books on audio, comic books, etc.

Although not everyone will find the same level of delight in a book, reading is a crucial life skill and has been proven to benefit greatly those who participate in it often. We must continue to promote reading in our homes and do what we can to help our children discover the joy of a good story.



Date: 7/31/2016
Many years ago, I also had a reluctant reader. He "could" read, but as a young child, our son didn't like to read just for the enjoyment of it. Agreeing with the blog author in recognizing that reading is a crucial skill that brings many valuable things into a child's life, I couldn't bear to have a 'que sera, sera' ~~~ whatever will be, will be ~~~ outlook on this. Therein, I engaged every strategy I could think of in his young years to encourage him to develop a love of reading, some of which the author listed. Other encouragements were by extensively reading aloud to him ---- sometimes stopping at a very interesting place in the story and then because he just had to know what was going to happen, he would continue reading on his own. Another encouragement was seeing his father, uncle, grandfather, and others all reading ~~~ that embodied the idea that reading is just what we do! Developing talking discussions/conversations (not interrogations!) around what he/we had read was also an encouragement to him as he enjoyed the interaction. Basically,I was open to any idea that would encourage him to read --- even for short venues of time. He eventually became an avid reader and continues to enjoy reading yet today at age 35. How exciting it was to me and I still remember the day when he was home one time on break from college and said, "Mom, I'm really thankful you taught me to read. Reading is basically all that exists in college courses. My friends and roommates who struggle with reading find their classes to be so much harder than I do. I'm really glad I learned to enjoy reading." And I'm really glad we persevered in encouraging him! l encourage everyone to hang in there, try different approaches, options, and encouragements to help your child to develop a love of reading. You won't be sorry!

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