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5 Ways to Read to Children Who Won't Sit Still for Books

Help ease your active child into reading without forcing him to sit and listen.
on October 16, 2014
 

"He won't sit for books!"

"I'd read to her if I thought she was listening…"

These comments are not uncommon. Young children are natural movers; they explore the world with all their senses, and sitting still isn't a priority. As parents, we don't want to force our kids to sit and spend what should be reading time instead redirecting or disciplining them for doing what comes naturally. What message are we sending them about reading?

Instead of forcing our kids to fit into a mold, let's change the mold. Find ways to read and share books with them that keep reading positive and let them ease into reading calmly, when they are ready.

Here are some tips to help you ease your active child into reading without forcing him or her to sit and listen.

1. Read to your child at bedtime when she is already expected to stay put. Set her up for success by choosing one short book and increasing the number of books and their length as her attention span increases. Use this time to get her connected to a few favorite books that you can try offering up during the day. If that flops, stick to bedtime and try again a little later.

2. Read to your child while he is in the bath. My children loved this because they were able to splash, scoop, and pour the water in the bath while listening to me read.

3. Try active books that you can read to your child while she acts it out. Our favorite is Eric Carle's From Head to Toe.

4. Read dynamic books that include flaps, different textures, and other novel items for your child to engage with physically. These let children who aren't reading yet feel like they have a job to do as well.

5. Audio books. There are audio books for all levels. Pop one in the car while you go for a drive. You can even hand your child the traditional copy to follow along.

What tips or tricks do you have to share about reading to active kids? Tell us about them on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.

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Get the latest advice, tips, and resources on helping your child read at every age and every stage. Each week, find kids' book reviews, ways to extend the reading experience, and tips on how to spark a reader's interests from our expert contributors and editors.

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