C has been reading independently for some time now, and its not unusual to find her sitting down with one of the many picture books from her bookshelf. However, I’ve had trouble persuading her to pick up a chapter book out of her own accord.
It’s not that she has difficulty reading – her assignments from enrichment class include chapter books from the Katie Woo series, which she has no trouble completing. Aside from doing her homework, there was no motivation to read “thick books with few pictures”.
In order to spark her interest in chapter books, I tried introducing different books without much success. This included titles from several popular children’s series:
- Arthur (I borrowed the DVDs, and the computer game too)
- Geronimo Stilton (all the rage among the younger crowd… but apparently not for C)
- Rainbow Fairies (somehow she didn’t find the books attractive enough).
- Secret Kingdom (she started reading but didn’t have the motivation to complete it).
Although she didn’t complete the Secret Kingdom book, it gave me a good idea of what got her interest: (1) the cover had glittery stars (yes, that helped!) and (2) the mention of a token given in the book.
She had asked about the token – how it looked like, how it appeared. Somehow, she got the impression that it appeared magically at the end of the book. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was in fact a coupon to be cut out. Instead, I told her that the tokens were given by the book fairy, and yes, they appeared if she read the book. She seemed rather taken with this idea.
Last week, I tried another chapter book. This time, I introduced her to one of my favourite authors from my own childhood – Enid Blyton. I made sure to find a book that had a glittery cover , and told her that the book fairy would give her a token at the end of the book. The fairy would know if she really read the book or if she simply flipped through it – mummy would help the fairy check.
The New Adventures of the Wishing-chair was the chosen book. You can’t see the sparkles here, but the actual book had a really pretty, glittery cover page. It’s part of the early reader series, so there were not too many words on a page, and fonts were bigger.
C dove into it with gusto, finishing the book in three days (it was not a difficult book to read, she only spent about five to ten minutes a day on it). Here’s the token that “magically appeared” a day after she completed the book:
She was elated to get the token (she claims that it was a present from Jack, Jessica and Wishler from the book, and the book fairy just helped to pass it to her). When asked if she liked the book, she replied that she did, and asked to read a second book! 🙂
Although the method used was not the conventional “read with the child, they will grow to love reading” way, it got C started. Perhaps she is reading the books for the tokens now, but I hope that she will grow to love chapter books in time. For the sake of my pocket, I’ve explained that there are only certain special books that contain tokens, so she has to read more in order to find them.
I’ve got her a little wooden box to keep her book fairy tokens. Hopefully she will get to fill it up soon. I can’t wait to share some of my favourite childhood books with her (Roald Dahl, Nancy Drew, Malory Towers etc) once she is ready. 🙂
Have you used alternative ways to get your child to read?