15 Ways to Build Your Child's Reading Confidence
For children who struggle with reading, opening a book or reading in front of their peers in class can be an incredibly daunting experience.
Reading confidence matters. Developing reading proficiency is essential for achieving overall success in school, and children who shy away from reading are likely to encounter even greater obstacles in the future.
To nurture a child's self‑esteem it's important for parents to be patient and encouraging. Here are some simple ways to boost your child's reading confidence and put them on the right path towards a lifelong love of reading.
1. Appreciate the sweat and tears
Struggling with reading can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting for a child. Make it clear that you acknowledge their effort when they try.
2. Give them control
Visit a bookstore or library and let them choose their own books. Allow them to choose where to read and at what time in the day. Give your child some freedom and space to figure out what works best for them.
Laugh together. Pause and talk about the pictures. Forget about reading practice and focus more on enjoying the quality time together. Sooner or later, they'll start associating reading with positive things.
4. Make a game out of it
There are so many fun reading games you can play with your child every single day to build up their confidence. Online reading programmes like Reading Eggs give children the opportunity to progress at their own pace with the aid of bright animations, high‑level interactivity and motivating rewards.
5. Talk excitedly about books
Show your child how fun it is to read by talking enthusiastically about books every day. Ask questions about books you've read together and discuss the parts you liked best.
6. Make it relevant
Demonstrate the usefulness of reading by making it as relevant as possible. Going to a natural history museum? Read a book about animals. Baking a delicious cake? Read the ingredients you need from a recipe.
7. Don't push too hard
Challenging your child every now and then is great, but if your child wants to read the same book for the twentieth time, allow it. Let them feel proud about reading a book from cover to cover without needing your help. This is important for building their confidence.
8. Do paired reading every day
It should go without saying, but reading together every day is one of the most helpful ways you can build your child's confidence. Take turns reading each page or give them one word in each line to read.
9. Give privacy
Allow your child some alone time to read without any fear of judgement. They won't have to worry about taking too long to finish a line or getting stuck on a word.
10. Read to the family dog or cat
Companion animals make the perfect audience and eliminate the fear of being judged. If you don't have an animal at home, your child can read to a younger sibling or even to their toys.
11. Show them that struggle is normal
Don't fret over hiding your own weaknesses, in fact, letting your child see you get stuck on certain words will help them understand that struggle is normal, even for grownups.
12. Don't overcorrect
Resist the temptation to correct small mistakes. Remember, the overall goal is to build confidence. There will be plenty of opportunities to work on accuracy and fluency later.
No matter what level your child is at, remind yourself how far they've come, even if they've made relatively small progress. Praise constantly. It will encourage them to keep improving.
14. Write your own books together
Home-made books are a fantastic way to build your child's fluency. After all, reading a familiar story is great fun! Start with a few words, some drawings or photos on each page, and a simple title, like 'Sarah's First Trip to the Beach'.
15. Look beyond books
Building your child's reading confidence doesn't have to come from books. Comics, video games, trading cards, board games, shopping lists, cereal boxes – you name it – are all things your child can read to build up their self‑esteem.