Learn how to help your child focus on reading by following one or more of these tips. Eliminate the overwhelmed feeling and have fun!
Out of all of the school subjects, I was the most nervous to teach my oldest to read. Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do, so I felt this enormous pressure to teach her how to read and to enjoy it. As with all things with kids, it takes some trial and error. You will need to try things out. Some things will work, and some won’t. Every kid has different needs. When you ditch something for one kid, don’t forget about it in case you want to try it with the next.
Throughout our homeschool journey, I have learned a few things along the way that have helped kids concentrate better and focus on reading. Our house is loud at all times with four kids running around. It is impossible to eliminate all noise and distractions. But I can help my kids to narrow their focus by implementing one or more of these focus strategies.
Focus on Reading by Wiggling
A step that is important not to skip is getting the wiggles out first. Young kids cannot and should not sit still for long periods of time. This is one of the top reasons I chose to homeschool. I cannot imagine my kids sitting in a desk all day. Many kids actually focus better and take in more information when they can move while thinking and learning.
I highly recommend that before you sit down to practice reading or do a reading lesson with your child, that you give them a 5-10 minute warning. Send them outside to run around, ride their bike, jump on the trampoline, play a game of tag, etc. If it is a rainy day, get them to run up and down the stairs, do some jumping jacks, push-ups, balance on a balance board, etc. Get them moving while you set up.
After the specified time, gather them to a cozy environment. Snacks always make things more enjoyable…hint hint. Snuggle up and spend some quality time together and enjoy teaching them how to read.
Focus on Reading with Tools
Kids are easily distracted. There are a few really simple methods you can use to help them focus on reading.
First, teach them to read by using their finger to point at the words as they read. Even as an adult, I use this method if I’m in a very loud environment. Sliding your finger under the words as you read helps to draw your eyes to the area your finger is pointing. If you have a kid who is easily distracted by other words or pictures on the page or glances up a lot, this helps them to not lose their spot. This has been really helpful for my oldest because she is constantly looking up to see what her younger siblings are up to.
Second, when there are a lot of words on a page, kids can easily get overwhelmed. This is especially the case for newer readers. A simple fix is to cover up the other words. Grab a single piece of paper and cut a small rectangle out of it. Sit down with a book with your child and cover up the words on the page. The rectangle you cut out serves to cover up most of the words on the page so your child is able to focus on what they can see to read. This is very easy to do with the early readers that have large words for young kids.
Once you get to more advanced books with smaller words, guided reading strips are super helpful. It is the same concept as the rectangle cut out of a piece of paper. Guided reading strips help bring the focus to only a small portion of the whole page being read. Plus, the guided reading strips serve as a bookmark too.
Essential Oils for Focus
Another tool to consider for your mama toolbox is essential oils. Essential oils are very beneficial for focus. For yourself and your kids, they benefit by either applying them or diffusing them in the environment.
When you diffuse, everyone in the room smells them and benefits. I personally diffuse a lot more in the fall and winter when we are inside more often.
Applying them on specific areas of the body helps the brain to focus. Peppermint is amazing to stimulate the body and brain when you feel drowsy. That sharp, tangy smell wakes me up immediately. Citrus oils bring a bright, fresh scent that is happy and helps with focus. Geneyus oil is one that is specifically formulated for kids to help with focus. You can pop it in the diffuser or roll it on. I always roll it on the back of their necks on top of the brain stem, and behind their ears.
Be consistent with using your essential oils and you will see the benefits much more quickly!
an Environment to Focus on Reading
Environment is so important for reading. Test things out and eliminate the things that easily distract your child. The tv being on can be a huge distraction, while some kids can actually focus on reading better with classical music on in the background. It acts almost like a white noise machine to drown out the distracting background noises.
If you get to a place where you have multiple kids who need to focus on reading, consider setting aside a specific time during the day as a reading hour (or however long you want). A time where the whole house is quiet. Maybe soft music on and cozy reading nooks set up with lamps. A diffuser going with a peaceful blend or focus blend of essential oils. Everyone sits down with a book and enjoys the calm, peace and quiet together.
What school subject were you the most nervous to teach your kids? Let me know in the COMMENTS.
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More Posts You May Find Helpful:
- Quiet Time for Kids
- Homeschool Supplies
- Kids in Nature: Benefits of Outdoor Play
- Daily Rhythm
- Read Aloud Activities to Improve Listening
- Kindergarten Popcorn (Sight) Words Activities
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