MISSOULA - We have been discussing the importance of reading and why it’s so important to a child’s future success in school this week.
But what if your child doesn’t enjoy reading all that much? We learned that there are strategies to spark an interest in books and it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
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The second floor of the Missoula Public Library is devoted to young readers with stacks and stacks of books — something for everyone.
We talked with Children’s Librarian Pam Carlton about how parents can encourage their children to open a book when they aren’t that interested.
“Let your child pick out the books themselves because if they are involved in choosing them, they’re more likely to want to pick it up and read it,” Carlson said.
And if that’s not doing it, then try listening.
“What I found out that worked with my youngest was audiobooks,” Carlson told MTN News. “And we got started with the audiobooks and their interest would be piqued by the story and they would want to pick up the book and continue reading.”
Audiobooks are available at the library or online for download and you can listen together to share the story.
So, let’s talk graphic novels. They are not just glorified comic books and they enhance imagination and language skills.
“Because of the pictures, a child has to learn how to get information from images. You have to create that story,” Carlson said. “It's non-lineal thinking and there’s so much you have to pull out of the images in order to keep the story going.”
The bottom line is to read with your child, offer them different ways of experiencing stories and then they’ll get there — with your help and support.
“It is okay for your child to read above or below their reading level. You are reading words and you are having to formulate the ideas and the pictures in your mind and I think it takes kids a little bit of time to be able to do that and enjoy it,” Carlson concluded.
Visit https://www.missoulapubliclibrary.org/home/programs-events/ for information about reading programs and more that is available from the Missoula Public Library.