The next step to improving your child's reading
Nurture a love of reading. Just make reading a part of your home. This is about a small amount of time every day.
Make trips to the library and bookshops regular events and give your child control over what they choose. Don’t discount the importance of computers if you are trying to get your child to read in spite of themselves.
If you have an older child who has difficulty reading, explore the idea of buying some Hi-Lo reading books online. These deal with topics and subject matter appropriate for older children but using language a lower reading level. As your child becomes more proficient, gently encourage them to try something a little more challenging.
Books you can try: Reading Resources
Hi-Lo reading books are an invaluable resource if your child is older but their reading is weak. They are available online.
High-quality picture books are also a valuable resource for the reluctant reader.
Billy the Kid by Michael Morpurgo
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt
Other books for older readers:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik (watch the movie Hugo afterwards and compare versions)
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Five point plan: Supporting reluctant learners
* It can be hard to know what to do when your son or daughter seems reluctant to learn. Check if there are underlying reasons. Talk to the school. If it just seems that your child is not interested or motivated, try a few of the following ideas.
* Get into good habits. Have planned homework time and a consistent, distraction-free space. Make sure that they are actually doing their homework. A parent’s job is as coach and supporter. If your child gets badly stuck, a quick note into school is better than slogging over it all night.
* Use information technology to support the motivation of the reluctant learner. The interactivity and multisensory nature of technology can help.
* Take an interest. Make time to show an interest in your child’s learning. You can be a good role model as an enthusiastic learner, prepared to learn stuff that is new to you, such as speaking Irish with your son over breakfast or watching the film-of-the-book with your daughter.
* Catch them being good. Name the behaviour that you are praising them for. “I love that you are taking such an interest in this”; “You are taking such care with this.”
* Keep it in perspective. Learning and education are crucial, but so is other stuff. Your child is more than their academic side.
Dr Martin Gleesonis a teacher educator at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, who specialises in literacy education. He helped to develop the Building Bridges of Understanding approach to children’s comprehension development.
Dr Eithne Kennedyis a teacher educator at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin. Her book Raising Literacy Achievement in High-Poverty Schools: An Evidence-Based Approach will be published by Routledge in 2013.
Barry Morrisseyis literacy co-ordinator and learning-support teacher at Scoil na Naomh Uilig, Newbridge, Co Kildare.
Donald Ewingis the head of psychological and educational services with the Dyslexia Association of Ireland. He has also advised the Scottish government.
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