When children start to learn the process of reading independently, it can be an incredibly daunting experience to open up a new book or read in front of someone else. However, with reading proficiency being essential for academic success, children who shy away from reading are much more likely to encounter greater obstacles in the future. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to nurture your child’s self-esteem when it comes to reading. Here are 5 simple ways to boost your child's reading confidence and put them on the path towards being a life-long bookworm!
1. Make Reading Interesting
It almost goes without saying that if your child is reading about something that interests them, they will be much happier and more likely to really give it a go if it’s a little tricky. Try and find reading books that are relevant to their interests. For example, if your child likes the beach, football or space- try and find some options that follow storylines relating to them. Showing your child that reading lets them explore their interests will make it much more interesting and push them to keep reading, which will also build up confidence levels. You can also look beyond books for helping your kids improve reading confidence. Comics, board games, blogs, websites, video games, leaflets, recipe books and magazines are all things your child can read to build up their self-esteem.
2. Read To A Different Audience
If your child is really having trouble building up their independent reading, it’s a good idea to suggest for them to read to a different audience. Whether this is your family pet, a younger sibling or a stuffed toy, they make for the perfect audience as they eliminate the fear of being judged. They also won’t be able to know if a word was read correctly or not, which will massively help build your child’s confidence.
3. Don’t Push Too Hard
Even though it can be tempting to try and push your child to read a more challenging book, it’s important to let them read books they feel comfortable with- even if you know they’re a little bit too easy for them. By letting them have a feeling of achievement when they know they can read a book completely on their own without your help, it will actually help reinforce the fact they know how to read. It’s likely they will naturally progress and want to move up to the next level, but feeling accomplished first will do wonders for their reading confidence levels.
Regardless of what level your child is at, it’s important as parents to remember just how far they've come, even if they've made relatively small progress. It’s also good practice to praise your child constantly when they’re reading. Not only will this encourage them to keep improving, it will show them that you recognise their hard work. Even if it’s something small like mastering a new word or being able to read a whole page with no mistakes, being positive will encourage them to try something a little more difficult the next time.
5. Avoid Overcorrecting
Finally, when your child is reading, it’s important to not correct them too much. Remember, the goal is to build confidence levels with reading- they’ll have plenty of time later on to work on their accuracy and fluency. If your child specifically asks for help with a word then it’s important to assist, however, we recommend overlooking small mistakes so your child can build confidence in their reading flow.