The skill of reading is essential for academic success and personal development. And the ability to focus is an essential part of reading. That’s why knowing how to exercise focus will help your kids become better readers, and, more importantly, enjoy the process of reading itself.
Follow your kid’s interests
As your kids begin to read independently, it’s important to keep them motivated. And the best way to keep them motivated is to offer books that suit their interests. It doesn’t have to be something academic, or at all useful. The important thing is to develop the habit of reading, and, once your child becomes a confident reader, you may move on to a more advanced material.
Pick the right books
Plain text could be very tiring for a novice reader. That’s why, at first, you have to pick books with plenty of pictures. It’s best to have one illustration per page, and it has to provide a summary of what’s written in the text. This way your child can take regular breaks, increase his comprehension, and have longer reading sessions without getting bored or tired.
Watch out for waning attention
It’s ok for younger readers to lose focus every once in while. As they get tired, they will move around and switch attention to their environment, toys, sounds, and other people. Normally, they are just taking a break and will get back to reading once rested.
However, if you see your child taking more and more breaks, and struggling to get back to reading, there might be some other factors. Make sure that your child has a comfortable reading area, with minimal distractions. Pick a reading time that doesn’t coincide with other activities, like someone mowing the lawn or kids playing outside. And consider switching reading material to something more interesting or age-appropriate. It’s also best to have a family reading session, when all of you get together for half an hour of reading and nothing else is happening in the house.
Exercise the ability to focus
Focus is a skill and it can be trained. As you exercise focus with your child, you’ll notice his attention span expand and his reading ability improve dramatically. One exercise you can try right away is focusing on different body parts during play. As your child is busy with his toys, ask him to pay attention to his fingers, then wrists, feet, and toes. Go for stretches of between 10 and 100 seconds each. This exercise teaches your child to guide his attention at will and not let it wonder on its own.
If you want to get your kids in the habit of reading, you have to pay special attention to their ability to focus. Some things to try are keeping them motivated with books that follow their interests, selecting age-appropriate book formats, catching early signs of struggling to read, and exercising focus during play and other activities. Good luck!