No matter how much you try to read to them as babies, some children become reluctant readers by the time they start going to school. They may struggle with letters or sounds, or just find every other task more interesting. If there is an underlying problem like dyslexia, it’s important to discuss it with your child’s pediatrician. Meanwhile, there are a few things you can do at home to encourage and support your reluctant reader – here are five suggested ways below!
1. Let your child choose the reading material.
You may not think a comic book is the best thing for your little one to read, but reluctant readers need the freedom to choose what interests them. As long as there are words on the pages, the reading skill is being exercised. This may not be possible at school, but at home, allow your child to freely read what they wish.
2. Offer rewards for reading new books.
Keeping a reading list and rewarding your child when he has reached a milestone is a great way to encourage your reader. Provide a variety of books, so your child can find something that he likes. For every 10 books, for example, you can offer a small reward such as additional TV time. Once they have read 50, something bigger like a trip to the ice cream shop may be called for!
3. Introduce story time.
Being read to is a great way for reluctant readers to pick up a book or magazine of their own. Have fun while reading aloud, allowing the child to speak for a certain character or using funny voices as you read. By being a role model and showing that reading is entertaining, you are likely encouraging them to do it more often.
4. Expose your child to many reading opportunities.
Sitting on a couch and forcing a book in their hand isn’t the only way to try bringing your reluctant reader around. The key is to offer great chances for your little one to practice their reading skills without them realizing it! Have a friend send a postcard in the mail. Use fridge magnets to spell new words for reading. Ask your reader to call out the items on the shopping list while at the store.
5. Make reading interactive and fun.
Just like with story time, making reading enjoyable is a great way to encourage your reluctant reader. Online reading games can make the stories come alive, or make it challenging so your child has to read in order to advance through the levels. Put on a puppet show or play while reading a book, making it fun and getting them involved at the same time!