My girls get given the task of reading for 15 minutes every night as part of their school homework which I am sure is the same for nearly every primary school in the UK.
When my girls were younger and I was new to motherhood I wanted to make sure I did the right thing for my children and followed the schools advice and made them do their reading homework every night.
To start with it was fine my girls have always loved reading and I have bought them up with books. After the novelty of homework had worn off sitting down to do reading every night was met with tears, arguments and when they did read it was very forced and they weren’t getting any enjoyment from it.
I couldn’t understand why, as they had always enjoyed books, loved going to the library and would happily pick up a book on their own accord and read so why was it such a big deal when it came to sitting down reading their school books for homework??
In the end they broke me and I gave up caring about whether or not they did their reading homework and left them to decide when to read.
This turned out to be the best thing I had ever done. At first they were excited to rebel and missing reading but after their initial reaction they all realised that it wasn’t the reading they didn’t like it was being told when to read that they had a problem with (typical child response to anything you want them to do).
By giving them the choice they rekindled their love of books and started reading again and would then be asking me if they could do their reading.
Sometimes they would read the books they had picked at school but other times when the school books weren’t interesting them they would pick a book from home to read. Most of the time they would read to me and other times when they just didn’t feel like reading out loud I would let them quietly read a book to themselves.
I know when they are young it is important for them to read out loud so we can ensure they are reading the words right but when they are tired or in a funny mood I feel it is better to let them chill out and read a book quietly than to force them to read out loud.
I am a believer that if you force a child to read then by doing this you will never install a love for reading in them, you have to encourage, be patient and let them discover reading themselves. All children are different you can’t expect to do the same thing with every child and get the same results. Some children may love to do their reading homework every night without argument but there are other children like mine who will find it difficult.
Ahaparenting.com states the following with regards to reading, ‘Children who choose to read independently become better readers, they score higher on achievement tests and have greater content knowledge than those who don’t.’
Reading material is also a key part, if your child is not enjoying the book then let them read something else don’t make them finish it. There are so many amazing children’s books available now which cover a wide range of topics that I am sure you can find a book your child is interested in. Libraries are always a great place to look for a book that your child will enjoy and they can look through them first.
I think reading is so important there is so much that can be learnt from books both fiction and non-fiction but I am a strong believer that to be a long term reader you have to find the love of reading on your own and not be forced to do so.
I am currently working on my new children’s book ‘The Silly Book of Rhymes‘ that will be printed in a special font designed to help children with dyslexia read the words easier. It is also packed full of short rhymes so children can read in small bursts and read the book in any order this will help children who struggle to stay focused when reading a full book, the rhymes are also funny and a little bit rude so they will add laughter to reading time and keep children engaged. Sign up to my newsletter via the pink sign up box below to be kept up to date on the progress of my next book.