02 Nov How to Help Reluctant Readers Fall in Love With Books + Free Family Reading Journal
(Head to the bottom of this post for your free printable family reading journal.)
Getting reluctant readers hooked on books can be a great first step to helping them lose any resistance they have to reading. There can be many reasons why they are reluctant to reading but building up their interest in books is often a great start.
In this post I have included ideas that will help you approach reading strategies with a reluctant reader without forcing them to read. I have combined this with ideas that will allow them to see the fun side of reading and build up their interest.
If you try some of these ideas and your child continues to be a reluctant reader then speak to their teacher. They will be able to help you check if there is anything else creating the reluctance.
Activities for struggling readers:
- Share stories that you love, read them, talk about them, tell them your favourite bits, chat about favourite characters and why you love them.
- Begin to see text everywhere and share it with them. Did you see that sign? Did you notice any sounds you recognised? I’m sure I saw one that I heard you read the other day.
Mix It Up
- Mix up sessions of them reading to you with some times when you share a book, times when you take it in turns to read or even times when you could learn and sing a nursery rhyme or song together. These sessions can be just as useful as the traditional ‘sit down and read your book to me’ sessions if they are alternated like this.
- If you take this mixed approach and use it to respond to their mood, your mood and the general plans for the day you may find that the pressure reduces and some joy returns to reading. These strategies can be useful for the very able reader as well as those who are finding it tricky.
- To make all of these sessions really effective talk to your child about the story, ask them questions about what might happen next or if anything similar has happened to them and why they think the author made certain choices.
- Take the reading outside. Move around as the story progresses or even act out parts. Take some toys with you and use them to retell parts of the story. If you try this leave the toys where they can be reached because later on your child may want to play with them independently. This is a great way of them returning to and exploring a story with no adult input.
- Use the fact that you’ve tried to get your head round phonics to put them in the role as your tutor. “I thought I could see two digraphs on that sign, have I got it right? Which ones are they again?
Talk About It
- Don’t be afraid to talk about differences in how you learned to read. You will be amazed at how talking about other strategies can strengthen a child’s own methods. “We used to learn about ‘magic e’ do you still use that? Is it the same as a split digraph?
A Multimedia Approach
- Embrace the television or the tablet. Now I’m not saying use this a replacement for reading but if these are things that your child already engages with recognise them as a source of text and content that can be discussed in the same manner as a book.
- Discuss the stories with them, talk about character names and features, Ask them about their favourite characters motivation: “Why did he do that?” What did he want to happen?” I am sure you are used to one syllable answers when you over do the questioning but what we a looking for is to find something that they are so engaged in that they will respond to you and enjoy your interest. As soon as you find this you must mine it for all you are worth.
- By getting them engaged in a discussion about a TV show or youtube video they will be developing skills that will help them when reading.
Keep It Interesting
- Hook onto any interest your child has. If you see that your child has a particular interest or hobby, are there books, comics, magazines, web sites that will help them explore it. Even if you are reading these to them this is still a valuable thing to do.
This infographic shows 6 important points that when combined will provide a powerful hook to build a lifelong love of books.
I hope that you find these tips useful. Remember that the key to this is working in conjunction with your child’s school and having the confidence yourself to respond to the needs of your child on each day.