We have a reluctant reader in our house. She has been from the beginning! It’s very interesting though because she loves learning to read and work with letters to put them together into words. But when it comes to actually reading the books, she’s never very into it. Here are a few ideas on how to help reluctant readers love books a little more.
Stop pushing it. Let the child come to the books, don’t push the books onto the child!
Make it fun. Yes, interactive board books may seem too young for a kid in elementary school. But if they are opening a book and choosing to read or listen to words on a page, then it’s worth overlooking the suggested age range. Reading is reading.
Take it at their pace. Yes, it may be frustrating to not completely finish a 10-page book in one sitting. But if halfway through they need a break, consider it a win that you made it through 5 of the 10 pages.
Model, model, model. There is a lot of power in a child watching their parent, teacher, or other trusted adult pick up a physical book and read it. I listen to audiobooks on my phone every day, but once I started reading physical books, my daughter started picking up books and reading a lot more often.
Let them choose. Allowing them choices in the literature they pick up instead of assigning certain titles can give them a lot more interest in books.
Utilize TV or video game characters. Just because a book is based on a tv show, movie, or videogame does not make it bad. Books are books. If they are picking it up, taking it in, and reading the words, it’s reading. And reading is reading. It can be a big advantage for you to take a beloved character and change the setting from the tv to a book.
Above all, accept the fact that not everyone has to love reading. We all have different interests, likes, and dislikes. Celebrate their reading however and whenever you can. You may have a child that celebrates reading 100 books in a year! Amazing! And you may have a child that celebrates co-reading a full chapter book with a trusted adult or peer. Also amazing! Reading is reading!
What are ways you support your reluctant readers?
Photo by Min An