Reluctant Reader? Here's Some Ideas

Every parent and teacher wants their children to be avid readers. Because we know the benefits of reading we want our children to embrace it as we have. While a good many students do become excited and engaged in reading, some are reluctant and disinterested. While a student may not show a natural interest in reading, this does not mean they cannot become a skilled and even enthusiastic reader. There are a number of things you can do to help engage reluctant readers.

For many students, reading just doesn't come easily. Some have difficulty connecting letters and their corresponding sounds. Others have yet to discover a special story that sparks their imagination and shows just how fun reading can be.

For all readers, though, being at ease with letters, their sounds, and words is an important foundation for learning throughout life.

What is a reluctant reader?

A reluctant reader is anyone who does not show interest in reading. There is a wide range within the category of reluctant readers. A reluctant reader may simply be a student who needs to be coaxed into reading texts. It may also be the student who vehemently refuses to read. Reluctant readers sometimes hide their ambivalence towards reading using other behaviors. A teacher may notice that a certain student always becomes the class clown when it is time to begin independent reading. When students mask their negative attitudes towards reading by using other behaviors parents and teachers need to do a little “detective work” to identify the root cause of the problem.

While any student, young or old, male or female can be a reluctant reader the largest number of unenthusiastic readers are adolescent boys. Research shows that a good number of boys who were avid readers in the elementary grades become disinterested in reading during their middle school years.

Try these other simple ways to help them become eager readers:

Start with a student pick. Comics or joke books may not be your first choice to boost literacy, but the reality is they can be very motivating. You will be amazed at a students ability to read something that they really want to read.

Don't worry that these texts may not be substantial enough. They can help students understand some fundamentals. They also help build vocabulary.

Sometimes electronic books (e-books) can help get reluctant readers reading. When a student's become interested in a book, regardless of the format, help make connections between the story and your child's own life.

Read and Reread. Many student's reach for the same books over and over again. That's not only OK, it's a good thing! Through repetition, students learn the text and eventually read it with ease and confidence. Each new reading of the book also may help them notice something new and understand the story a little better.

Read Aloud. Reading aloud to your kids helps them build their vocabularies and introduces new concepts, facts, and ideas. You also show that you enjoy reading for fun, and help them connect sounds with letters on the page. Reading aloud provides together time that you'll all enjoy.

Create opportunities to read and write beyond the pages. Provide kids with many chances to read every day. Write notes and leave them in a lunchbox or in a pocket.

On road trips or errands, play word games that strengthen language skills. You might try "I Spy" or games where you pick a category (like "food") and everyone has to name foods that begin with a certain letter.

Until Next Time,


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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