One of the biggest challenges for kids with learning disabilities is reading. If they can’t read they won’t do well in school. They also won’t want to read. And we all know the only way to get better at reading is by doing it.
Most schools expect kids to read every day for at least 20 minutes when they’re young and then more as they get older. While they recommend reading a book at a time, here’s a slightly different approach. My favorite tip for getting kids to read – ice cream.
After many unsuccessful attempts at finding a book my daughter wanted to read, I realized that she wasn’t unwilling to read, she just didn’t want to read a book. But every time we went to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream, she either read the scribbles on the walls and tables, or she wanted to know what they said.
Soon we were reading menus and signs everywhere we went. Ice cream parlors and restaurants have plenty to read. Many have kid’s menus with games to play and word puzzles to figure out.
Billboards and bus stop shelters all have words, magazine ads, commercials, television listings, cereal boxes, junk mail…the list goes on.
We’re bombarded with words and messages everyhwere we look. I remember when I was a kid I’d sit down with a bowl of cereal and read the box. Still do today. When you can occupy a child’s mind with something to do like eating, the brain goes into a different state of awareness. For us it was ice cream. We would go there for a treat and a reading lesson.
A trip to the ice cream parlor is good for about twenty minutes. Think of all the places you could go for twenty minutes and read. The trick to reading is just to get started. Then move on to something a little more structured like a magazine with lots of ads and pictures. When the reading gets better ease into fun books. Just don’t get stuck on thinking that reading has to be all about books. Make reading fun.