You all know the reading journey I’ve been taking with Monkey since he was little. He’s a lover of books, but not the reading of them. It’s so alien to me, an avid bookworm from the year dot. My house has often resembled a library as I’ve tried encouraging a reluctant reader to quite frankly, read anything. This last year we’ve seen a great improvement in his reading really. I have to think back on where we’ve come from, rather than comparing him with other children.
The How to Train Your Dragon books that I’ve been reading to him, have started to show him where reading can take you. That books can transport you to a different place and time, and they’ve really hit a cord with him. He’s not confident enough to read these books for himself, but one day he will be.
He was meant to have done a reading challenge for homework over the holidays, with him reading as many books by himself as possible. But we abandoned that idea pretty quickly, holiday time is meant to be fun time in our book. But that didn’t mean he didn’t do any reading, in fact he was doing it without being consciously aware that it was happening. Whether it be a trail around a National Trust property, or a word search in a Bella Italia activity sheet. There was a lot more reading going on generally without me having to force the issue. Monkey finds his own way of doing things and I was more than happy to encourage this softer approach to his reading.
We have a lot of delaying tactics when it comes to going to bed. I need a cup of water, I need this, that and every other thing under the sun a 7 year old boy can think of. But last week there was a different request, one I wasn’t going to dismiss, I’ll do anything when it comes to encouraging a reluctant reader. For the first time Monkey actually asked if he could read to himself, after I’d finished reading to him.
Of course you can Monkey, but not for too long as it’s school in the morning came my reply. I was somewhat astonished. He picked out some early reader, which are actually below his reading level at school and got back into bed. It was clear that this was something he wanted to do without me being in the room, but he was worried about words he might get stuck on. No problem.
I found his notepad and a pencil and suggested he wrote down every word he got stuck on so that we could discuss them the next day. He was happy with that solution and I left him to it.
When I went up later to check on him, he was fast asleep with his books, notepad and pencil on the floor. I had a sneaky peek at the words and was rather impressed with his handwriting. Two birds, one stone!
Encouraging a reluctant reader, we talked through the tricky words the next morning. There were some that really he should have been able to break down, some that I know he does actually know, but others we needed to talk through. There was even a nonsense word that had got him totally stumped. But he’d kept going and enjoyed reading.
Now this new found activity hasn’t been happening every night since, and I’m not pushing it, but I’ll be popping a few more easy reads into his book box in the hope that he’ll continue at his own pace.
It’s a start.