For some children reading is at best a chore, at worst a nightmare. The humiliation, the shame, the trauma of not being able to make sense of the lines on the page, cuts deep. And it can have an adverse effect on a person for the rest of their lives.
But Reading is the key to an intelligent, successful life. As parents and teachers the most important thing we can do for our children's education, is support them to read.
So we push and cajole and battle with our children, to try to get them to read. The problem is, if we have a child that struggles, this method risks putting them off for life.
So what do we do? How can we encourage our children into reading, when they find reading so difficult?
It's all in the pay off.
We need to make reading something they want to do, not something we're forcing on them.
But how, when you have a child that can't get to the end of a paragraph without tears?
Well here's the thing...
If we can nurture that love of story first, developing their desire to read will be that bit easier.
,There are two simple ways I can think of to do this.
1. Read stories to them.
2. Download audio books/ stories for them to listen to.
The pleasure of reading to a child, of making that connection and sharing a story, is one of the joys of parenting and teaching that can never be replaced.
But we cannot read to our children as much as we would like. If the aim is to make independent readers. If we want them to devour books... we need another option.
I am going to suggest audiobooks and audio stories as an alternative.
So how can listening to an audio book help someone learn to read?
Let me tell you about a friend of mine.
At 15 this friend's reading was so poor she was was considered unlikely to get any GCSE's. At 22 she graduated with a BA hons in Drama, at 23 she was accepted onto the Royal Court Theatre's Young Playwright scheme and at 35 she had her first book published.
That's right a girl that could hardly
read(and still to this day cannot
read fluently) is a published author.
Because she listens to audiobooks.
The idea of curling up with a good book may once have brought your child out in a cold sweat... but now it doesn't have to.
You can sit down and enjoy listening to a great story together. Your child can have access to all the wonder and wisdom stories offer, without having to go through the pain of trying to read...
Listening to stories will never fully replace reading, reading is too important, but wouldn't it be nice for story time to be frustration free once in a while?
Then, hopefully, once a love of story is nurtured and blooms, your child will want to push through the struggle of reading - because they'll know it's worth it.
Vicky McFarland is a storyteller and writer based in Northern Ireland. Her Tale Time audio stories are enjoyed by children across the world. You can follow her on facebook and twitter, visit the website or join the mailing list to find out about new story collections.