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Really struggle getting my 7 year old to read!

(19 Posts)
VLou77 Fri 06-Feb-15 20:50:59

Hi all,
Does anyone have any tips on how to encouage my child to read books? She is a very good reader, quite advanced, but she hates doing her reading (her school homework) and hates the thought of it.
We've tried different times, after a little chill time, after tea, after school, and bed time. Also agreed with her teacher for her to choose her own books from home, which worked the first time but then the novelty wore off. We've tried comical/highly illustrated/popular authors etc.
We've had a chat after she got so worked up about it the other day she cried. I expressed that it was something that has to be done.
I always stay calm and patient when she resists.
Her school work is to a high standard and she's in top class for maths. I'm not trying to expect too much from her but just want her to enjoy books.
And I don't like to compare too much but her older sister absolutely loves reading.
Do I make less of it? How do I encourage her? Any tips would be appreciated very much. Many thanks smile

Unicornofdoom Fri 06-Feb-15 20:55:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youbethemummylion Fri 06-Feb-15 20:58:54

My DS is 7 and hates reading. The only time he will read for any length of time is when his little brother asks him to read to him. Could you enlist a younger child? Or even a dog or cat. I know a reluctant reader who reads to the family dog.

quietlysuggests Fri 06-Feb-15 21:05:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VLou77 Fri 06-Feb-15 21:06:53

unicornofdoom that sounds a good idea, thanks!
youbethemummylion Thanks, I don't have a younger child or a pet! And that sounds very cute reading to the dog!

VLou77 Fri 06-Feb-15 21:12:30

quietlysuggests I think I was expecting someone to say that, and I think you're right. I don't want her to do it because I'm forcing her. Yes some don't like reading. I DON'T!
I am thrilled with my daughter, she's a little corker!
I thought it was something that all kids have to do, you know, do their homework/do as they're told. But on the flipside she loves writing and reading stuff in every day situations, out and about, in the home etc.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 06-Feb-15 21:12:41

Why are you making her read to you if she is already reading well?

I'd back off for a while, carry on reading to her for bedtime stories (if she still wants you to) and exposing her to lots of different sort of books.

VLou77 Fri 06-Feb-15 21:16:34

Yes rhinestonecowgirl I agree, thanks for the tips. smile

Nandocushion Fri 06-Feb-15 21:26:30

DS wasn't so keen on reading, so we relaxed about the type of book we were expecting him to read and just made sure there were lots of comic-type books around - Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, DH's old Beano annuals hmm. It turns out he loves reading comics, and his reading has really improved as a result. I don't know if he'll ever get into chapter books like his sister, but he may enjoy graphic novels instead. This won't help for your DD's required reading for school but may be something you can do in your day-to-day life, just to get her to relax and enjoy it more.

JennyWren Fri 06-Feb-15 22:38:17

Our yr 2 DS has just cracked reading for pleasure and we're encouraging it by giving him reading in bed time - he goes into bed at 7pm but is now allowed to read to himself until half past. It helped that he was due a later bedtime, and he is thrilled to be trusted in the same way as his older DSis, who is a voracious reader. We don't allow playing as an option during that time - he has to sit in bed and read. Would that work for your DD, making it a treat rather than a chore?

Ferguson Sat 07-Feb-15 20:13:58

It is a bit unusual, if she really is a good reader, that she is reluctant to read; it makes me wonder what the reason behind it might be. Maybe she is just stubborn, and WON'T read because she senses you are so keen that she does!

What is she like at writing - stories, 'news', or recounts? Or reading to support other subjects - history, geography, science? Or writing up information on those subjects?

As for reading just for the sake of HAVING to read, I would back right off, and NOT insist at all that she has to read, at least for a while, as a trial period.

Does she have hobbies, activities outside of school that she enjoys?

I'll come back sometime, and see how she is getting on.

Goldmandra Sat 07-Feb-15 21:04:45

I agree with backing off altogether and telling her teacher in advance that you are going to do that. You want reading to be a pleasure, not a chore.

Maybe after a while you could reintroduce the idea by getting her to read the first paragraph of her bedtime story while you put a few clothes away then take over. This could naturally then develop into a pattern of taking turns which definitely makes the whole thing nicer for some children.

VLou77 Sat 07-Feb-15 21:16:17

Thanks for the replies.
furguson she is very good with writing, stories, letters, recounts etc. Been very impressed lately and she seems pleased with herself.
She enjoys, and is very good at gymnastics at after school club and has friends round to play.
I will discuss the issue with her teacher. She doesn't seem to read my comments in her reading record, if she does, she never comments back!
goldmandra, thanks, I need to get back into bedtime stories, maybe that's part of the problem.

EyeoftheStorm Sat 07-Feb-15 21:53:51

I worried about the same thing with my DS. He has always been a reluctant reader and would never voluntarily pick up a book.

I decided if he didn't want to read - even though he was a good reader who did well at school - then i would read to him. I think it's worked in his favour as I chose books I like and probably ones that would be a little too hard for him.

I read, we talk about words he doesn't understand, I ask some comprehension type questions like why did that character do that? He really enjoys that time with me at the end of the day.

He's just done well in his 11+ exams and I have allowed myself a tiny pat on the back for that decision back when he was in year 2 not to make a big deal out of reading himself and sneak it in without him noticing.

sesamechoc Sun 08-Feb-15 00:30:32

I think it's important not to make reading an issue or a chore. Fwiw, our 8 year old somtimes reads a lot , if he's really absorbed but other days, would rather do other yhings like football. We still read to hom every night as it's lovely and bonding. His school insist on 20 minutes of reading every night and we ignore it. If she's a good reader, making her read when she doesn't want to is likely to backfire in the longrun. If you snuggle up with her and read at night, you can somtimes say something like I'm getting a bit tired , can you read to me a bit?

Ferguson Sun 08-Feb-15 19:59:47

For slightly older children I sometimes recommend what I call "Value Added" books, that is they have an aspect in addition to just reading a story.

The best one is Arthur Ransome's "Coot Club" set on the Norfolk Broads in 1930. All the places in the book are actual locations, and can be found on the Ordnance Survey 2-1/2inch map of the Broads. All the villages, rivers, lakes, pubs and windmill pumping stations can be seen on the map. Apart from some railways being closed, and there now being more main roads, little has changed. It also gives an interesting insights to the social history of the '30s: the children want to contact friends in a nearby village, and say if they post a letter in the morning, it will get there by the second post in the afternoon! When they buy provisions at a riverside shop, the shop-boy carries the goods down to their boat for them.

Another book in a 'real' place, is "Watership Down". The rabbits' home threatened by development is actually on the outskirts of Newbury, in Berkshire. There are several web sites about the locations, and even guided tours sometimes to places featured in the book.

So children can research things relating to the book, which may make it seem more worthwhile for them.

NellyTheElephant Sun 08-Feb-15 20:58:11

I would definitely keep on with the bedtime stories, I think they are a vital part of the enjoyment of reading for pleasure. My Dad continued to read to me until I was about 12 progressing onto Dickens etc. and instilling a great love of literature. I still read to my three (eldest is 10) pretty much every night (we all pile into my double bed, I think I look forward to it as much as they do to spend 20 / 30 mins or so with them winding down with a story after work) and I try to keep a step ahead of what they are reading themselves, or I read them more 'classic' type or old fashioned novels they they wouldn't necessarily read.

But for now with your DD I would stick to easy books that she could read herself and stop a little way from the end of a chapter and a leave her to read the last paragraph (not with you listening, just on her own). Start at the beginning of the next chapter the following night. My DD1 was a bit of reluctant reader and this really worked with her. Before I knew it she would be asking me to start 2 or 3 chapters further on the next night. Now I have to keep whatever is the current bedtime story book in my room to stop them all stealing it and reading on!

Something like the Mr Gum books (utterly mad), the How to train you dragon ones or Horrid Henry work well for this - or even the ghastly Rainbow fairy ones which are super easy to read and my girls both loved (although I didn't!!)

gourd Mon 09-Feb-15 11:57:30

She likes reading whist out and about? Maybe she prefers " useful" reading, instructions (for building/crafts), recipes, maps, treasure hunts or orienteering, gardening books.. Have you got her to read recipes & instructions to you whilst doing an activity? She sounds like she reads well but perhaps for that reason doesn't see the point of reading for its own sake. However a hobby or activity which required her to read small amounts of instructions (treasure hunts, orienteering, recipes) may help her see the use in it. You cant force her to enjoy reading children's fiction though!

gourd Mon 09-Feb-15 12:06:20

Also agree that researching a project could be one way fir her to read without really realising that she is. As a child (about 8 years) i did a lot of self directed research on Tudor Britain, Roman Britain, think i also did one on Elizabeth 1st etc and filled whole exercise books with writing and drawings of Roman ladies fashions, and hair styles etc - nothing to do with school, i was just interested in the subjects and therefore read various books to help me write/draw.

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