Reading aloud can be nerve wracking for anyone, but for new readers it can be downright terrifying. Reading confidence is not something that shows up one day -- it's something that builds with practice. Many children desperately want to please their parents, and that self-imposed pressure can make reading to you hard. What if your child doesn't like to practice reading with you? What if she clams up reading with you? I would still read to her, but try offering her opportunities to get comfy reading out loud by reading to others who she may feel less pressure to impress with her developing skills.
Here is a list of alternative reading buddies you can offer your child to practice reading and help build confidence.
1. A younger sibling. Younger siblings can't point out what is wrong and are generally wowed by their older sibling's skills. They can be wonderful audiences for new readers.
2. Pets. Dogs, cats, and even fish don't correct pronunciations or interrupt your child as he reads. Pets make great listeners.
3. Grandparents, in person or over Skype/FaceTime. Grandparents have a way of oozing out nothing but love and acceptance. They can make a great option for reading buddies.
4. Stuffed animals or dolls. I know my children have a ton of these toys. Why not make some of them work for you and turn them into reading buddies?
5. Themselves via video. This can be a really wonderful tool for children who like to be on video, but let your child decide. Forcing your new reader into any of these reading buddies can backfire.
6. Anyone over the phone. Sometimes all kids need is not to see their audience. Call a friend or family member and build that confidence!
As parents, part of our role as a supporter is to find tools for our children and offer them up to find the perfect fit. Sometimes they fit for a long time and sometimes only for a brief time. I hope these ideas give you more tools to offer your children as they develop into confident readers.