The 4 Things Children Need to Enjoy Learning to Read


Children are curious and anxious to learn about the world around them. Books are naturally a part of the learning process even before reading is expected. Parents are encouraged to read to their babies during infancy, and babies and toddlers explore colorful board books during play. Parenting guides commonly suggest toilet-training children read while sitting on the potty, and books are an incentive for youngsters who are preparing for bedtime.

Like many children, our son was introduced to reading at an early age, read to every day, taken to the library to select books and attend story hours, attended preschool circle times, and given books for his home collection as presents from friends and family. Still, it was rare to find him looking at books on his own, and his reading skills were not flourishing.

Learning to Read

Last year, when our son was 6 years old and starting 1st grade, he was very, very frustrated by reading. After a particularly rough night of attempting to read, he went to bed very upset. The next morning, we asked him what a story would need to have for him to enjoy reading. He came up with 4 things:

  1. I need to be in the story
  2. I need to be able to choose what happens
  3. I need to go to real places and it needs to have real pictures of the places
  4. It needs to be an adventure where I find something cool

Creating Empowering Solutions

We know as parents, we can be frustrated by the many challenges of raising children- our lack of sleep, potty accidents, temper tantrums- but what a blessing it is too. We have the ability to be the major positive influence in the lives of our children, and it is a privilege we should not ignore or take too lightly.

As concerned parents, we’d like to find out why they don’t like to read and what can be done to help make the situation better. That’s why we asked what it would take to enjoy reading and took action on what our son shared. We ended up writing a story – an Amazon Adventure – where he

  1. was in the story,
  2. was able to choose what happens,
  3. went to a real place, and
  4. found something cool.

The Ripple Effect of Taking Action

He loved the story, but more importantly he loved reading and wanted more stories like it. So did his friends. So did his 1st grade teacher. Then, he had another idea. He wanted to turn this into an app, so he could have it on his iTouch and share it with his friends. This was exciting. Watching the results grow and turn into something he wanted to do to help others facing a similar challenge. Thus, Learn to Read Adventures was born. Stay tuned to the blog and enter your email in the box on the right side to join the adventure and hear updates on the project that is becoming an app and book series that will be available soon.

So, while this post was about 4 things children need to enjoy learning to read, maybe it goes beyond the 4 things our son wanted to be in a story, into what we as parents can do when our children are faced with challenges. In summary, here are the 4 steps we went through:

  1. Listen to the problem
  2. Come up with an empowering solution
  3. Take action to make it happen
  4. Watch the results grow

Best of luck in your journey of parenting and let us know your thoughts and tips… and most of all be sure to enjoy this incredibly special time that we’ve been blessed with in raising children to be the best they can be.

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