White or wheat? Cronut or donut? Matt or Ben? Ah…the great choices of the 21st century.
Our lives are filled with choice, and in turn, we have become accustomed to, and need choice. Going out to dinner has never been filled with more choices: gluten free, dairy free, nut free. Options galore, and yet we all have individual preferences. Picking the restaurant is a choice. And going out that night is a choice, and how you get there is a choice….you get my drift. Choices are everywhere.
Well, your children need choices too. They need to have choice when choosing a book. Why? Because we all know that when we have choice we have more control over a situation. When your children do not enjoy or want to read, giving them a choice will make the situation more manageable and interesting for them.
How to give choice:
- When your child is involved in independent reading, have a bag of books that are at their reading level. They can choose to read anything from that bag. They don’t have to finish a book when they start it, and they don’t have to read in any order. Remember that your goal is to get them reading independently. Once they are comfortable, they will CHOOSE to read stories in order and from beginning to end.
- When you are reading aloud to your child, ask them to pick the book. They will be much more invested in the story if it is a book of their choice.
- When you go to the library to choose books, ask your child to help decide. Here is a great strategy for that.
- When at the bookstore, have your child choose one book that they want to read; it can be a book for the future or right now. Not every book needs to be “parent approved”. If they are four years old and pick a Harry Potter book, that’s great! It becomes a book for the shelf and a potential read aloud when they are ready. Building their library will be a fun activity and they will be so excited once they get to read one of their books that has been waiting. Even better, one day they will be able to read all those books independently, giving the book yet another go-around.
- When you are in the car, give the choice of an audio book. Charlotte’s Web or The BFG? Audio books are online and can be put on your iPod / iPhone making this simple and brilliantly accessible. Bring headphones with you everywhere you go and if your child is ever waiting around for you, an audio book might just be the answer.