5 Ways To Encourage Your Complex Learner To Love Reading
The benefits of reading are widely known – everything from improved vocabulary and cognitive function to reduced stress and increased empathy. It’s no surprise that every parent wants their child to love books and become a lifelong reader. Trying to convince your child to turn off his Xbox and pick up a book can sound like a difficult enough task, but when your child is a Complex Learner, this comes with additional struggles. Whether he struggles with reading issues like dyslexia or has attention difficulties like ADHD that make focusing on a book for an hour at a time an impossible feat, there are ways you can encourage your Complex Learner to become a lifelong reader. Take a look below for our 5 top tips!
Encourage reading from a young age
One of the best ways to ensure your child will grow up to be a lifelong reader is to begin reading to him at a young age. Establishing a routine of reading to your child every night before bed can help reading become an engrained part of his life and a beloved tradition.
Reading aloud to your child also helps him develop his own reading skills and offers a great opportunity for connection between parent and child. Even after your child has grown and is capable of reading on his own, this doesn’t mean you have to stop reading together. As your child gets older, rotate who reads out loud – you read a page and then your child does the same. This can be especially helpful with struggling readers since it will take some of the pressure off of trying to read alone and give him time to relax and enjoy the story without any struggle.
Let your Complex Learner pick the material
Whether it’s a magazine or Captain Underpants for the thousandth time, it doesn’t matter what your child is reading – it matters that they’re reading! This is especially true for Complex Learners. Reading outside of school should be for pleasure so try not to stress about whether they are challenging themselves with a new chapter book and instead celebrate the fact that your child found reading material (any type of reading material!) that he connects with.
If your child is struggling to connect with traditional reading materials, encourage her to explore less traditional material like comic books, graphic novels or even cookbooks. For children who struggle with reading, picking out audio books is another great alternative!
This is also a great way to encourage independence in your child, as she is tasked with the decision of what to read next.
Set An Example
You are your child’s biggest influence. The best way to encourage your child to be a lifelong reader is to demonstrate what that looks like. Be sure to take time for yourself to dive into your latest book. Take your child with you when you go to the library or book store to browse for new reading material. Be open about why you always make time for reading, even when life gets busy.
To encourage thoughtful discussion about his reading material, you can even pick up a second copy of whatever he’s reading and join in! Creating your own mini book club with your Complex Learner provides you a great opportunity to connect through discussions about plot points, themes, and character decisions.
Make it fun
Make reading an exciting experience by incorporating fun activities for the whole family to do! For example, after finishing a book have a movie night and watch the film version. Or have your child grab whatever props she can find around the house and act out one of her favorite scenes after dinner one night. You can even pull out the art supplies and have everyone draw their favorite characters from the story.
Doing these enrichment activities not only provides a fun bonding opportunity for the family but it can also help your child further understand the book she just read by thinking about the story and characters in a new way. As your child gets older, you can even encourage her to try and write a new ending to the story.
Provide the right environment
A key ingredient in making your Complex Learner a lifelong reader is providing the right environment for reading – be sure to have a special designated space where he can read. Whether this is a comfy chair in his bedroom or a little nook in the home office, having a designated quiet, comfortable space away from as many distractions as possible can help your child focus on reading.
A necessary part of creating the right environment also means have plenty of reading material available for your child to pick up. Whether this means having your family library fully stocked or making a trip to the library a monthly reoccurrence is up to you, but your goal should be for your child to not have to look too hard to find something to read.
While Complex Learners may struggle with reading, this doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to love it and grow up to be a lifelong reader! As we’re all spending more time in our homes lately, this could be a great opportunity to encourage your child to pick up a book and get lost in a story. Keep reading!
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