How to we get students to read for enjoyment? Three tips that worked for me as a teacher and consultant may help you too.
1. Find a novel that is part of a series that your child will enjoy. No one spends their free time doing something that is not interesting or entertaining. Books face strong competition from the Internet and Social Media. But I was surprised to learn, when I talked to a woman who works in the children and teens section of Chapters, that their biggest increase in sales has been in the teen section. She says it is because there are so many excellent new novels being written in the genre of fantasy, dragons and vampires, the favorite movies of teens.
A good novel is like a soap opera, you can’t wait to find out how it all turns out. The book becomes a constant companion until finished. This spurs readers to read the next novel in the series and they are hooked on reading. So, begin by taking your child to a good bookstore to spend time with a knowledgeable staff member who will help you to find just the right book.
2. Read the first chapter aloud to your child and discuss it. Do this for your adolescent reader as well as for younger children. The first chapter sets up the characters and theme of the book and makes the reader want to find out more. It would be helpful to read the book yourself so that you and your reader can discuss it together at the end. You will love the dialogue you will have as you view the characters and events through each other’s eyes. It will enable you to step inside your child’s mind and to understand the world from his or her point of view.
I shared Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut with my grandson, Sean, when he was in grade twelve. It is one of my most cherished memories. This was the first time we had important and interesting discussions around such topics as politics, society, religion and death. I`m sharing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut with my grandson, Bryce, right now. What joy!
Another good practice is to talk about the books you are reading yourself to your family. It is good modelling and helps to interest them in reading.
3. Make sure that your child is able to read well because otherwise he or she won’t take the time to read a whole book. I meet adults who read so slowly that they never attempt a novel. How sad! The Making Sense Approach to Reading increases speed and comprehension not just for those who are struggling but for average readers as well. Many adults who have taken The Reading Coach`s Toolkit Online Reading Course to help their children improve their reading discover that their own reading improves as they use the Making Sense Approach to Reading with their child.
Create excitement about books by talking together about them. Many older students and adults are turned off from reading because they have had to read books they didn`t like for school. We have to rekindle the fun and joy of reading.