You realize your child hates reading even though you’ve faithfully read to them since birth. How can that be? What did you do wrong? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Some kids slowly recognize or pull words off the page. It’s their wiring. (With some kids you’ll notice this in their speech as well.) It’s important to note that this slow processing speed with print has nothing to do with their intelligence.
Unfortunately, reading is one of those academic tasks which demands a lot of speed. By the time your child reaches middle school, they need to recognize a word in a third of a second, on average. When your child isn’t achieving this incredibly rapid recognition rate, reading is a cumbersome, work-intensive task. Of course they’ll avoid it, and tell you they hate it. It just makes sense to evade something that requires a lot of work with little to no reward. Don’t we do this ourselves?
Thankfully, the brain is very malleable, especially a child’s brain. If your child gets the opportunity to practice pulling print off the page faster, their reading will get easier. This effortless level needs to happen at every stage while they’re learning to read. It should start with learning letter names and sounds and go all the way up to the last stage--reading phrases, recognizing complex vocabulary, and making associations and inferences.
Watch out though. The answer most programs have for a child’s reading avoidance is worksheets--and lots of them. Completing worksheets won’t help your child because they are allowed to take as much time as they need to respond. The thing they most need, improving their speed, won’t change because worksheets are designed to address their slow response time.
Then there are websites from well-meaning folks who don’t know a whole lot about reading. They encourage you to do meager, random exercises or games like go on a letter hunt or match words with cards. These aren’t bad ideas, but they don’t address the main need--to help your child build speed with print so that reading is a lot less work. Someday, I’d love to write a book called “For the Speed of Reading.” Get it? I want to play off the phrase “for the love of reading.” You can read to a child until your blue in the face, but if your child recognizes print slowly, they can’t love it because it’s simply too much work. Speed will bring the love. Speed brings books to life so your child can finally enjoy reading.
I admire parents who tell it like it is. It’s hard to admit that your child hates reading, especially if you’re an avid reader yourself. But, there is a lot of encouraging and useful brain research out there for those who are willing to address the issue. You’ve bravely acknowledged there’s a problem. Now, find the answers you’re looking for.
In my other posts, you’ll see I don’t pitch our WowzaBrain program, but this blog is the exception because it takes daily, systematic practice to change a brain that hates reading into one that will read. I can’t explain that in a blog. So, I encourage you to take a close look at our program. I believe it will help you find the answers you’re looking for.
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