Children are so excited when they learn to read! After years of sitting on a parent’s lap listening, they finally get a chance to take part in the action.

Still, learning to read isn’t exactly intuitive. It takes hard work. And there are a lot of bumps and hiccups along the way.

While they’re moving through the learning-to-read process, kids can get stressed out. Every school day, they watch their classmates and sometimes they start to feel like they’re not doing as well as everyone else. When that happens, some children become negative and want to avoid reading all together. Here are a five ways to keep your new reader positive, even when the road gets rough:

  • Easy Does It. Keep a stack of books around the house that are easy enough for your child to read. Books with short sentences are great. Rhyming books are even better – because the rhymes help kids predict what words are coming. Scavenge through the things you used to read to your child when they were in preschool. Most of all, spread it around! Have books in every room of the house. You may find your child reading in the bathroom on a regular basis.
  • Use a Light Touch. Don’t force children to read. Sometimes reading out loud at school is enough for kids, and at home they need some downtime. If you notice that you are having to force your child to practice, back off a little bit. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should stop reading to them! Keep story time alive, whoever is doing the talking.
  • Talk About It. You may not be able to read how your child is feeling about reading, so ask them! If they seem down, talk to them about how everyone starts reading at different times. Let them know that they will learn how to read, and that you believe in them.
  • Mix It Up. Reading is reading, no matter what it is. If you have a reluctant reader, find whatever you can to get them excited. Let them read a children’s magazine, a comic book, the Sunday funny pages – whatever they’d like. Books are not the only way to practice reading.
  • Keep it Fun. Play games to help teach reading. Scrabble and Boggle are both wonderful ways to build vocabulary. There are also computer games available to help children learn to read. Of course, you don’t want this to be the only exposure to reading at home, but it’s a good way to change things up a bit.

Learning to read is one of life’s big adventures. But it takes a lot of practice and a lot of support. Help your child stay positive. And relax. Your child will read! And there are lots of ways that you can help them.