Is your child a reluctant reader? It’s something parents often worry about, as they tend to have a fear that a reluctant reader is a struggling reader – but that isn’t always the case. There can be many reasons why a child is reluctant to read, from a simple case of boredom through to a desire to have a better way of learning. So if your child isn’t keen on reading, here’s a list of our top tips on how you can help your reluctant reader love books again!
1. Find out how your child feels about books and reading generally
Initially, you need to establish why they’re not keen on reading. Find out how they feel about books and reading generally. Is it all books they dislike or do they find the ones they’re reading too challenging or uninteresting? Don’t automatically assume they’re reluctant because they find reading challenging. Often they’re struggling to relate to the book itself or they may have a lack of confidence over their ability to read. They may even be reading at too high a level for them.
Of course, there’s also a chance that reading isn’t even their real issue. Many children with a kinaesthetic learning style find reading challenging, as they struggle to sit still in one place for any length of time!
2. How to help your reluctant reader love books
Once you’ve spoken with your child, you’ll have a better understanding of why they’re so reluctant to read. You can then use these tips to help you encourage them to read a little more.
3. Have a reading routine in place
Set a regular reading time for those books they need to read as part of their learning curriculum. But it’s also important to allow independent reading time too, where they can read books and other reading materials, just for fun.
4. Encourage your child to select books that appeal to them
Some children find it more motivating to pick their own reading material. So give them a theme to help them choose their next book, or offer a shortlisted range of books that fulfil the criteria they need and get them to select the one that appeals to them.
5. Create a reading corner or nook
Creating a cosy corner to snuggle up with a book can make reading feel less of a chore. If you want to encourage your child to get lost in a book then making your reading nook as comfortable as possible is a top priority. Here's a list of suggestions to get you started. If you don't have much space, snuggling up together on a sofa is a lovely way to read together especially when your child is too big to sit on your lap any more!
6. Encourage your child to talk about what they’re reading
This will help reluctant readers love books a little more, as they become intrinsically motivated by reading. It helps them to appreciate books as something that brings them enjoyment and satisfaction, rather than reading because they have to. You could also read with them to help encourage them to read more, by taking it in turns to read a page, or letting them read to you.
7. Change the medium
Children who are of the auditory learning style will appreciate having audiobooks, whilst visual and logical learners may prefer to read on a tablet or computer. Changing the medium can really help reluctant readers love books – so look to switch it up a bit. Have your child reading non-fiction, recipes, newspapers, and even opt for film versions of classic literature – as this will often encourage them to read the book version too.
8. Incentivise them to read
Finally, look to incentivise them to read. A reward system can instil a little bit of competition and motivation, into their reading habits. You could have a simple checklist of the top five or ten books to read (with a reward once they’ve completed) or have a reward system that gives them extra access to those things they love (such as computer games or trips out and treats) for successful completion of each book.