Tips for getting child to read

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Anoneemoose
Anoneemoose Posts: 2,258 Forumite
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edited 26 September 2018 at 9:22AM in Marriage, relationships & families
Hi,

I hope this is the right place to post this. My nearly 9 year old son is a little behind or ‘below national average’ with the comprehension he does at school. His teacher said reading is the best thing we can do at home to help.

The problem is, he just doesn’t seem interested. At all. He’s also at the age where he’s not keen on reading aloud to me or his dad, preferring to read to himself (when he actually does it). I keep saying he has to do some reading on an evening but it’s such a chore, in that his attention won’t stay on the book. Even with all other distractions removed.

We’ve tried what we can think of...his screen time is regulated but to be fair, he’d rather be out playing anyway. I’ve tried buying books he says he likes, going to the library, encouraging reading when we’re out and about. He’s also very good at spellings. I don’t want to make it a chore for him either as I’d hate it if he started not to like it.

I’m really stuck, but I know it’s so important. Can anyone suggest anything please?

Many thanks,

Anon


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  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    Reading is words. If he won't read books, then you could try some word games... like Scrabble ... and let him use a dictionary to "cheat".... and make it a close shave that he mostly wins his games.

    He might then start asking questions about some words/subjects ... and you could suggest you go together to see what the library's got on that....

    Also, word search puzzles might help.
  • Anoneemoose
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    Reading is words. If he won't read books, then you could try some word games... like Scrabble ... and let him use a dictionary to "cheat".... and make it a close shave that he mostly wins his games.

    He might then start asking questions about some words/subjects ... and you could suggest you go together to see what the library's got on that....

    Also, word search puzzles might help.

    Ooh, actually, he loves word searches...he does them a lot, either in a book or on his iPad. He even makes his own.

    Scrabble is one game we haven’t got so I’ll get that for his birthday.

    Thank you.
  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,496 Forumite
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    Does the school do mini projects? If he enjoys them that could be a good opportunity to expand his reading.

    Or start making a list of "all the things he wants to know" and use it as a game to find the books he wants to read about the things he wants to know.

    It won't help with the school books but you could do a 1 chapter of a school book = 1 chapter on his next topic he wants to know about with an activity related to it.

    You could have it all on a target chart and make a massive fuss of each target / topic being completed with a special treat at the end.
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,338 Forumite
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    Do you read? If he sees adults around him reading for pleasure he may be more inclined to join in.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    Scrabble is one game we haven’t got so I’ll get that for his birthday.

    No. Birthdays are special .... don't get scrabble (that he didn't ask for) for that. Pick one up at a charity shop or car boot... for £1.

    If you get him scrabble and he doesn't want it/wanted an action man, you'd be putting yourself behind the game....
  • 74jax
    74jax Posts: 7,929 Forumite
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    Maybe do a nature trail and read out what you have to find.

    Do a treasure hunt and he reads clues to find the next clue.

    Write letters to his grand parents and go and post them.

    Make posters of words for his room.

    Is there a kid theatre group that he would have to read lines for.
    Forty and fabulous, well that's what my cards say....
  • Anoneemoose
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    theoretica wrote: »
    Do you read? If he sees adults around him reading for pleasure he may be more inclined to join in.

    Yes, but both his dad and I have Kindles, which is the not same as having shelves full of books.

    I wonder if comics might help, if you can still get them, that is!
  • Anoneemoose
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    Thanks everyone. We’ll have a go at some of the suggestions.
  • rach_k
    rach_k Posts: 2,236 Forumite
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    I have a 7 year old and a 9 year old. They go to bed an hour before lights-out time, then have half an hour where they can use their Kindles and half an hour where they read a book, or they can skip those and go straight to sleep. Mine do love reading anyway, but I think most children will do almost anything to delay sleep time so something like that could work for you.

    Have you tried magazines and newspapers as well as books? Mine love Whizz Pop Bang (science) magazine and we've just subscribed to First News, which is a kids' newspaper they get in school. There are loads of mags covering different topics. I'm of the opinion that, if a child is reluctant to read, it doesn't really matter what they read as long as they are reading, so I wouldn't worry too much about some magazines being a bit rubbish. Mine love those 'cute animal' ones which are awful but they're reading!
  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,050 Forumite
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    edited 23 September 2018 at 4:54PM
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    Go back to the school and ask exactly what makes him 'below national average' with his comprehension.

    If they are using some kind of SATs comprehension test (which I suspect they are) then these can be very misleading about someone's comprehension of a text.

    It is not clear whether your son can actually read or has difficulty with reading or can read but is not understanding the 'nuances' of text.

    You need to ask the teacher to be more specific.

    It is not unusual for children of his age to have difficulty understanding/comprehending some forms of text and it could be that he can read but does not have experience of 'interpreting' text.

    The reason I say this is because reading in itself doesn't necessarily help with comprehending. Children do need to have some 'expressions' explained to them and questions asked about what they are reading.

    Some children are excellent at deciphering words but have no idea of comprehending what those words are actually saying/meaning.

    I fear I am not explaining myself very well!

    Do go back to the teacher and ask for some examples about his lack of comprehension. This will at least give you a clue as to what the problem actually is. Since your son is very good at spelling I suspect that his reading is fine, hence the need for clarification about his comprehension.

    And try not to worry. There are children (boys in particular) who show very little interest in reading. You have to find something to make him want to read. Comics are good. Tin Tin books are great. Information books are great - instructions to make things - you get the idea.

    But in the end it may take years (or never) for someone to want to read. Some adults never read books yet they survive and manage quite well. Not everyone becomes an avid reader. As long as you can read everything you need to live/get on with your life then there will be no problem.

    PS And 'going on' about it will make things a hundred times worse (I am sure you know this!)
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