Before we get a ton of angry reader mail, let’s be clear. We aren’t actually taking away the books, we are just changing the medium. After all, no matter the medium, reading is the same. Here’s how to use Whispersync for Voice and audiobooks to get your child to read.
It is painful for parents to watch their kids who are struggling readers. Some of these children try so hard but may experience difficulty in decoding words or have problems with reading fluency. As a result they need to put so much energy into reading the words that they get very little from the act of reading. Not only is it hard, but they also don’t get to enjoy the pleasures of a good book. Unfortunately, these basic reading difficulties tire kids out and often makes reading into an arduous task, one that they would rather avoid. Think about it this way: if you were carrying a 100-pound backpack up a beautiful but steep mountain trail, you would probably have very little energy left to enjoy the view and your hiking experience. But what if you had someone else to carry your backpack: You’d still have the climb on that steep trail, but you’d have much more energy to take in the sights – and, you’d be far more likely to want to do it again.
Attempting to get struggling readers to do voluntary reading or to complete their assigned summer reading assignments is often more than an uphill battle. What if you could make reading more attractive and less of a burden? We want to suggest a few ways to help your children enjoy books this summer . Rather than focusing on the skill of reading, try to help them see the joy of reading.
Here are some suggestions that can improve basic reading skills and, more importantly, help children to enjoy what they can experience from books:
Use an e-reader. A variety of studies suggest that struggling readers do better with e-readers or an app such as Kindle that can be put on a tablet that allows children to adjust the size of the font, increase the brightness, or change the type of font. This can help some children who struggle with basic decoding skills. Many kids love the technology, which alone might make reading more attractive.
Listen to audiobooks. While listening to an audiobook may not help children to improve their decoding skills, they will hear the rhythm, intonation, and expression of a good reader. This allows them not to be burdened by decoding words and simply listen for the content. You’ll find out quickly that when kids listen to audiobooks, they become far more willing to discuss the book. We encourage you listen to the book together and to have some discussions to ensure they comprehend what they are hearing.
Use Whispersync for Voice. This Amazon product is one of my favorites, and I have written about it frequently. Whispersync combines a highlighted ebook with an audiobook so that children are able to read along with the audiobook. Children can listen to a great reader on the audiobook as the book lights up the words that are read, enabling them to follow along with the speaker. Because they don’t have to sound out every word or read as slowly as they might otherwise, they often learn to enjoy books. I have found tremendous success with Whispersync for many of my patients.
Rent the movie or watch the TV series. Most kids have some choice in their summer reading. I’d encourage you to find a book that has a movie that goes along with it. Watch the movie first, which allows children to identify some of the important things they want to read about and keep in mind as they read. Encourage them to look for more details as they read and to consider which things that happened in the book might be different from what they saw in the movie.
Get the graphic novel. Many books, particularly those for children and young adults, now have accompanying graphic novels. Kids love the comic book nature of graphic novels because of its size and its format. Fine some graphic novels and summer reading books and read them together.
See our recommendations of books and graphic novels you can find in at least one of these digital formats: Kids Who Don’t Like Books Will Still Love These Titles