8 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Attention When Reading

improve child focus

Sitting down to read a book requires a great deal of focus. This can be a challenge for restless or reluctant young readers who struggle to pay attention while reading or being read aloud to.

Focusing on reading a book is something that even adults struggle to do. Low concentration and attention levels are a common issue for many young children, and can affect the way they learn and retain new information at school.

If your child struggles with staying focused while reading, here are eight helpful ways you can help them improve:

1. Break up their reading time. Your child may feel more motivated to start reading if they know they won’t be expected to sit for long periods of time. Encourage your child to take regular reading breaks every 15-20 minutes. Make it fun by having them stop, put down their book, and do ten star jumps or run on the spot.

2. Observe optimal times of the day. A child’s level of focus and alertness can change dramatically over the course of a day. Observe which time of the day your child is most ready and prepared to sit down and focus on reading a book. It could be early in the morning, in the middle of the day, or just before sitting down for dinner.

3. Create a distraction-free zone. Your child should have a comfortable and quiet place to read. Create a reading environment that is free from distractions like toys, the computer or the television.

4. Get creative. Your child may struggle to read the first page of a book, but have no problems spending 30 minutes building pictures with wooden craft sticks. A child’s level of focus depends on how interested they are in the activity. Get creative and turn the reading experience into a fun hands-on activity. You can role-play scenes from a book as you read aloud together, or have your child shape the letters of different words using craft sticks or play dough.

5. Observe your child’s interest. What has your child been talking about recently? They may have taken up an interest in dinosaurs, trucks, witches or horses. Whatever your child is fascinated by, find a book you know they will love.

6. Encourage physical activity. Educational experts have long made the link between physical activity and improved concentration levels. Before your child sits down to read, encourage them to engage in an outdoor game or a fun dance routine to help “wake up” their mind.

7. Provide fun instructions. Create excitement about reading by singing your instructions or using a piece of music or a fun sound to prompt reading time. Use a visual reminder that reading time is happening by displaying a poster on the wall or giving your child a ‘Reading Bear’ which they can sit with, hold on their lap, or read aloud to during reading time.

8. Encourage focusing techniques. Meditation is a great way to help your child focus before sitting down to read. Begin with short sessions of a minute or two and ask your child to focus on a particular object in the room or in their mind. When they get distracted while reading, encourage them to take a moment to refocus on the same object to push out any distracting thoughts.

Do you have any other special techniques or tips to help your child to stay focused while reading?

Why Your Child Might Be a Reluctant Reader (And How to Change It)

reluctant-reader

Many of us wish that our children would read more. But what happens when the very thought of picking up a book sends shivers down their back?

There are many reasons why your child might dislike reading. Maybe they haven’t discovered a genre that interests them. Maybe they get restless and would rather play outside.

Often, children become reluctant readers because the books they’re reading are too hard. If your child lacks confidence in reading, they’re likely to avoid doing it altogether.

There are several things parents can do to help motivate their reluctant reader towards a lifelong love of reading. But first, it’s important to figure out what may be the cause:

Is it too boring? Before you choose your child’s next book, take a step back and consider their interests; what excites or intrigues them most? Choosing genres that interest your child helps them to stay motivated and eager to read.

Is it too difficult? If your child lacks confidence in their reading ability, start with books that are suited to their reading level. The Five Finger Rule is a quick and simple way to see if a book is too difficult for your child to read on their own. Read 5 Signs Your Child May be Struggling with Reading.

Is it too foreign? When was the last time you picked up a book in your spare time? If your child doesn’t see you or anybody else enjoying a good book now and then, chances are they will struggle to see the value in doing it for themselves. Let your child see you read and talk to them about the books you love.

Is it too blurry? If your child struggles to make out the letters on the page, make sure it isn’t a result of any vision problems. A simple eye check can rule this out, or let you know whether your child needs glasses.

Is it too ‘sitty’? If your child would rather play outside than read a book, try doing activities that pair reading with play. Some fun activities that require reading include making a new recipe, doing a scavenger hunt or creating your own greeting cards to send to friends and family. Read 5 Hands-on Ways to Make Reading Fun.

Is it too much of a chore? Try not to push your child to read, instead, try to encourage them to see reading as something to do for leisure. Read aloud with them and make it fun and interesting. Be patient if they’re struggling with a word and avoid pushing them to finish a book any faster than what they’re comfortable with.

Is it too long? If your child has a short attention span, opt for shorter books like joke books, comic books and nursery rhymes. If you’re getting through a longer book, break their reading time into shorter intervals which gradually increase over time, or take breaks from reading to discuss what’s happening in the book.

Is it too isolating? Does your child insist on spending time with friends or siblings rather than reading a book? If they prefer being around other people, try to encourage book sharing. Host a book swap at your house and invite all of your child’s friends to bring a book to share. Reading can be a shared experience by taking turns reading aloud and discussing the plot and characters.

We all do things we believe we can do and what we believe is worth doing. Our children are no different when it comes to reading. Motivating your child to fulfil their reading potential and encouraging them to see the value in reading are great places to start.

6 Ways to Get Your Child Excited For Back to School

back to school reading

The first few weeks of back to school can either be filled with excitement or dread. There are several reasons for why children might be feeling the latter – from being nervous about meeting new friends to simply wanting to hang on to the carefree sentiment of the holiday period. But with the right tips, you can help your child feel eager and excited about starting the new school year.

1. Go back to school shopping

Shiny new shoes, glittery notepads and decorated binders are a great way to get your child motivated about going back to school. Take your child along for back to school shopping, equipped with a shopping list and a budget (for tips on creating a budget and shopping with kids check out our blog post on maths tips here). Going lunch shopping is also a fun activity too – your child will love picking out what snacks they would like for their first week of school.

2. Organise play dates

For some kids, going back to school means making new friends. Once the class list comes out, hop on the phone or email and start scheduling play dates with old and new friends to remind your child about one of the best parts about going back to school. Often children will talk excitedly about starting school together, and it’s always helpful to have a friend by their side on the very first day.

3. Have fun with labels

Children love stickers! Brand new items like school bags, lunchboxes, pencil cases and exercise books are just waiting to be decorated all over. Stock up on stickers, labels and colourful pens and let your child have fun personalising their new items in their own unique way – it will be a great way to motivate them to go back to school and show off to their classmates!

4. Sign up for extracurricular activities

Even if your child isn’t looking forward to cracking open the books and learning new things, they might get excited about sports, music or art. There are so many extra-curricular activities to suit all ages, capabilities and interests. If your child is excited about what’s to come after school, it may help them feel more motivated about waking up to a new school day.

5. Alphabet breakfasts

‘A’ on a Monday is for apple pancakes. ‘B’ on a Tuesday is for banana oatmeal. ‘C’ on a Wednesday is for cereal. Have some fun on the first week of school and plan an alphabet breakfast for each day of the week. Let your child suggest some ideas and even let them help with preparing the ingredients. It will be so much more fun to wake up on a school morning and say, “Today is a letter ‘E’ day for eggs on toast!”

6. Scrapbook your memories

Scrapping your child’s school year is a great way to create memories of a major part of your child’s life. Throughout the year, find opportunities to take photos and record memorable events and milestones. Let your child be a part of starting the new scrapbook for the year. Go shopping together to pick out stickers, pens and decals, and take photos of them in their school uniform on their first day or waiting for the bus for the very first time. Record what their favourite things are and what they want to be when they grow up – it’s always fun to watch how these things change over the years.

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6 Tips to Develop Your Child’s Vocabulary at Home

children vocabulary

Children who develop a substantial vocabulary are often able to progress in their reading more quickly and derive deeper meaning from books. Try the following 6 ways you can help your child develop their vocabulary at home:

1. Develop word consciousness – encourage your child to notice when they encounter new words, and to develop the habit of memorising these words. If they notice a new word, ask them to explain any special characteristics that it has. Reading Eggs is carefully designed to develop word consciousness in young children (see how it works with a free two week trial here).

2. Record words – using a recording device, your child can easily record a list of words they have learned recently and play them back to themselves to commit them to memory. Repetition is key to remembering new words, and hearing their own voice will make the activity all the more interesting. They can even record the meaning of each new word, and perhaps a sentence in which it can be used.

3. Set a ‘word of the week’ – designate a new word each week for your child to learn. Write it up on the fridge or whiteboard and try and use the word in regular conversation with your child.

4.  Use words in familiar contexts – try and introduce new words during activities that your child is familiar with. For example, if you’re baking a cake with your child, you can ‘whisk’ the eggs, and check the ‘thermometer’ on the oven.

5. Use intriguing words in conversation – if your child is learning new words regularly and is prepared for a challenge, pique their curiosity by introducing words into conversation that are long, difficult to pronounce or spell.

6. Teach words that are related – learning new words can be far easier for a child if the words they are learning are conceptually related. For example, your child could learn the names of different fruits, or learn words related to animals, or house-hold objects, etc.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Tips for Doing Homework

homework tips for kids

1. Set a regular homework time get your child into a daily routine so they know at what time they need to do their homework.  Find a time that suits your child. Make it a routine of them coming home, having some afternoon tea, and then getting straight into their homework. If your child does their homework at the same time every afternoon, they will soon become aware of what needs to happen when. A good idea is to set a timer for 10, 20 or 30 minutes (depending on the age of your child) so that when the timer rings, your child will know they can go if they have worked through that period.

2. Set a place to do homework – designate a quiet place free from distractions where your child can do their homework. Set a clearly defined space so they know when they sit down in this space, that it’s homework time and time to concentrate.

3. Give your child support with their homework, but don’t do it for them you don’t have to be an expert to help your child with their homework. Ask your child what they are learning, and if they are having difficulty, give them some assistance to get them on the right track – but don’t do it all for them. Homework is about developing independence. Teaching your child to tackle their homework on their own when they first start school will help them develop the confidence to work and solve problems independently. If your child is having difficulty with their homework, sometimes it can be beneficial for them to not receive help at home, but to bring their homework in the next day and receive help in class. This will allow their teacher to know how they are progressing and what they need help with.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!