Encouraging Reading

For many kids, diagnosed with ADHD or not, reading is problematic, and they can come up with some very creative ways to avoid it. 

As a prior teacher and a book lover for as long as I can remember, it always saddened me to see anyone, student or adult, not able to find joy in the written word.

Whether or not your child loves reading, however, is not the most important issue.  What is more important is that the ability to read and understand what is written is the basis for getting ahead academically and, by extension, life. 

We all do better with things we are good at and we know that we tend to do better when we are relaxed and not anxious.  It stands to reason that if we can get our kids to read in a less anxious environment, they will engage in it more, enjoy it more, and become more developed readers.

Here are some ideas to engage your child in the act of reading.

  • Read the cereal box
  • Graphic novels/comic books
  • Ask them to add items to your shopping list for you (yes, keep that list on the fridge!)
  • There are many board games that focus on reading
  • Use audiobooks:  They can follow along with the book while listening.  Kids can also do that with you, by the way!  Listen to audiobooks while doing chores around the house to develop listening comprehension. 
  • Enlist the aid of a relative to read the same book your child is reading via Skype or another app.
  • Does your child have a movie they want to see?  If it’s based on a book, read the book first (use the “shared” reading technique – you read a page, they read a page.  If there is too much print, they can read a paragraph or eve the last sentence on each page and you read the rest.)
  • Look at all the signs while driving (alphabet game!)  Find a word that starts with each letter, etc.
  • Plan trips to the library; it’s never too early to start! 
  • Find books on a subject that your child is interested in.
  • Encourage them to read to a younger sibling or neighborhood child

Help them with words they don’t know – this isn’t school or instruction.  The goal is to reduce anxiety with reading so they will want to do it more. 

Finally, if they have been struggling with reading, take action early!  Find out if there is a cognitive weakness that can be corrected to enable them to be a more successful reader.  Testing takes only about an hour and the subsequent consultation will give you insight into their strengths and weaknesses as a reader.   

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