Reading proficiency by the end of the third grade is a key marker in a child’s development. After third grade, children are expected to be able to read in order to learn other subjects. Children who read a lot, do better at school, study faster, and in general are more confident to do their homework by themselves. But there is more. Many studies have shown that those who read well normally go on to university, have better-paying jobs, and are more successful in business. The warning signs are on red alert, unfortunately. A recent study in the USA revealed that 66% of fourth-graders were not proficient in reading. It will be worse here in South Africa is my quick guess.
So, how do we get our children to love something that they consider boring or “hard”? How do we get them to enjoy something that is not visually as pleasing as TV, computer games, and YouTube videos?
In many cases, children find reading not interesting just because they have not been exposed to reading material that motivates them. If you know what they like, you might be able to find books that pique their interest enough to start reading.
Children who find reading hard might have underlying challenges you might not know about. They might struggle because they have not developed strong vocabulary skills and therefore are guessing at words, there might be attention deficiency or even dyslexia. The bottom-line is to have your child’s reading skills evaluated and then start to address the areas of weakness.