Reading and Rambling: How to Read Outside the Box

So now that my child is reading ‘inside the box’ how can I get him to explore?

Reading Rainbow contributor Jenni Buchanan discusses how to help your student or child read a variety of books, authors, and literary styles. Her recent article, Read Outside the Box, helps parents and teachers to encourage their children to read outside their comfort zone and expand their literary horizons. 

Ms. Buchanan comments:

“Research shows that it’s beneficial for us to get outside of our comfort zones periodically style, and this includes books and reading material. The good news is that by reading outside the box you can open doors to swaths of new literature for yourself and the young reader in your life, and it costs nothing but a library card and a couple of chapters of open-minded reading.”

If your child is in a “comic book” rut or only wants to read stories about heroic penguins, this article provides several useful tips on how to slowly open his mind to exploring different authors, subjects, and genres. However, because reading outside one’s comfort zone can be… well… uncomfortable, the article suggests a gradual shift towards other book styles.  For instance, to use the penguin example again, if your child only wants to read about “Billy the Brave Bird” bring him to the library and introduce him to a non-fiction book about animals in the arctic.  Or perhaps, on your next library mission, find books similar to the author your child enjoys.  This effort can slowly whet his appetite to different styles and stories, making his literary and literal world bigger and growing his busy mind.

What is important is that you make reading fun. Your child can go from a reluctant reader to an avid reader with patience, time, and warm encouragement from you.

Bring Books to Life with Interactive Reading

Research suggests you can increase your child’s IQ by six points or more by applying interactive reading techniques during storytime.

Wow! Not only can this reading approach help your child become a bit brainier, but by making the readings interactive you are bringing books to life.

So, What Exactly is Interactive Reading?

The PBS Parents’ article Applying Interactive Reading in Everyday Life by Jason Boog discusses interactive reading, describing it as helping, “your child participate in the reading experience, instead of passively listening to a story.” So the question is, how can I do this if I do not have a degree in education?

Parents and Educators – One Common Theme

Applying Interactive Reading in Everyday Life is designed for parents and educators. The article breaks down Mr. Boog’s book, Born Reading: Bringing up Bookworms in a Digital Age. In his book he interviewed, librarians, neuroscientists, teachers, child development experts, and authors. Throughout these interviews, Mr. Boog realized one common theme: reading must be interactive in order for a child to fully benefit.

There is a Small Catch

Traditional reading methods, although better than nothing, are not as powerful as interactive reading which can be more time consuming.  Acknowledging the fact that parents are busy creatures, Boog comments:

“…these interactive reading techniques work ANYWHERE, and you don’t even need a physical book. To help busy parents and caregivers, I’ve outlined a few ways you can use these life-changing Born Reading Playbook techniques anywhere and anytime.  I discovered that I could use these interactive reading tricks during grocery store trips, TV time, car rides, long lines, the park and many other places. These little tricks can work magic, easing long waiting experiences and soothing temper tantrums.”

5 Simple Steps to Incorporate into an Everyday Routine

Boog’s Playbook outlines five relatively simple tips to incorporate into your everyday routine. These strategies include:

  1. “Guess what happens next”
  2. “Follow the things your child loves”
  3. “Compare real life situations to books”
  4. “Discuss personal opinions about a book”
  5. “Dramatize the story”

Realize You Don’t Need to be ‘Mother Goose’

These are all things you can do without getting a degree in ‘Mother Goose’ or obtaining a masters in education. Remember to bring books to life, apply them to everyday moments, welcome the storybook characters to the dinner table, and talk about their favorite parts.

Interactive reading is a worthwhile activity to do with your child… you will form deeper bonds and help feed their growing minds.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you use interactive reading with your child? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – Hannah