Motivating Kids To Learn By Dr. Rachell N. Anderson Some of the best memories of family time from my childhood involved sitting near the potbelly stove, eating a popcorn snack and listening to my mother read stories to us kids in her slow southern drawl. These stories took me to places I wanted to go, and introduced me to people I wanted to meet and made me want to read the stories for myself. But things are different these days. Central utilities have replaced the potbelly stove and parents and kids are on the move and on the couch with ball games, video games, fastchat, facebook and the like. However, mental development is important to the future success of our children. Good learners are made, not born and that making begins with the ability to read. Encouraging children to read has been a challenge as long as there have been kids and books. However, reading is essential not only in education but also in life where so much communication takes place through the printed word. Every aspect of our lives involve reading; from road signs that tell us how to get there from here to directions for assembling the new toy or how to operate the new tech gadget to the content and cost of that garment or new pair of shoes you want to buy. Reading is fundamental and the best way to develop mentally and move toward future success. The ability to read and understand what was read is vital, children must therefore be encouraged to learn to read at an early age. Some parents have discovered that the best way to do that is to show them that reading for pleasure will do the trick. A study in Psychology Today of more than 17,000 people, found that students who read for pleasure not only did better with their vocabulary and spelling, but also in math. Most good students aren't born good learners but most children who are good learners had to become good readers. More importantly, any student who receives the right encouragement can become a good learner. To some kids these days, reading and math means using social media, using U rather than You and counting the scores while playing sports video games. And that’s OK as long as this is limited, non-violent and are not the only reading they do. Let your children see you read. The noted online health source, WebMD points out, that parents are children’s biggest role model. Children listen to their parents and want to be like them. I helps if Parents practice the values they preach. The following are proven tips and strategies that will motivate your child to learn. Apply them correctly, and you'll see your child or student discover the joy of learning. What’s A Person To Do? 1. Develop an atmosphere of reading. Surround your children with reading material. Children with a large collection of reading material at home score higher and perform better on standardized tests. 2. Read several stories to your children every day. The more children are exposed to literature, the more reading will become part of their daily life. A child is introduced to new information, concepts, and phonemic awareness with every story. 3. Give positive reinforcement. This could just be telling your child how great they’re doing, giving them a hug, complimenting them to others–generally helping them feel good for their accomplishments. This can help motivate your kids to do more, while at the same time boosting their self-esteem. 4.Let them choose what they read. Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways for a child to improve his performance at school, but teaching a child to love reading involves a lot more than simply handing him a book. Letting children have choices in their reading material goes a long way in raising life-long readers. Kids who choose what they read, regardless of whether it’s a novel, a comic book, or a magazine, are more engaged with what they are reading. 5. Encourage a wide variety of reading activities Make reading an essential part of your children’s lives. Let them read menus, movie names, roadside signs, game guides, weather reports, and other practical everyday information. Always try to make sure your children have something to read in their spare time. 6. Show interest in your child’s reading. Give hugs and ask questions about what they read. Your response or feedback has a strong effect on how hard they will try to become good readers. 7. Have regular library outings. Let children chose what books they want to read.
Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives in Tunica and writes with the Tunica Chapter of the Mississippi Writers Guild in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books she has written.