A reluctant reader is someone who can read but has little or no interest in reading beyond what they have to read for school, college or to get through everyday life.
If your child is a reluctant reader, there are ways you can help and encourage them to read for fun and escapism as well as education.
Start young. By reading to your child from a young age, you are instilling in them a curiosity and love of books and knowledge. It gives you time together where you can both relax while helping to improve their vocabulary and feed their imagination. It can have the added benefit of settling your child before bedtime and offers an exciting end to their day.
As your child grows, when you read to them, encourage them to say the words they recognise. As their confidence improves, have them read paragraphs and chapters to you. Help them sound out words and explain the meaning of any they don’t understand.
Set an example by reading too. Read aloud suitable stories from newspapers and magazines. And show your excitement when you are about to begin a new book.
Visit the library with your child. We are lucky in Galway to have several libraries including a mobile library. They often have story time and colouring sheets along with toys younger children can play with while you or older children choose books to take home. And some run reading programs for holidays which can appeal to children with a competitive streak.
Find an author or a series they love and encourage them to read books by that author or from that series. Keep your child moving on too by asking for advice on similar books from your librarian, bookseller, friends, other parents and through online research.
Patsy from Tara Books (http://www.tarabookco.ie ) in Galway tells us to “learn what interests your child and let them pick books on those topics (with a little direction ). It doesn’t matter if they read fiction or non-fiction, reading anything at all that is age appropriate will encourage and help them to grow in confidence. Use ploys to get them interested. Tell your child you feel a book may be unsuitable and they’ll knock you over to get their hands on it!”
Get your child reading comics, suitable magazines, joke books, short stories, books based on their favourite films, picture books with less words or books with larger print, puzzle books, cookbooks and poetry. Each type of book has a value and will help grow vocabulary.
If your child has a birthday coming up consider getting them book tokens or if the budget stretches, you could invest in an e-reader or a subscription to their favourite magazine.
Finally, embrace technology. There are many good reading apps available to download that help reluctant readers in a fun and interactive way. On Mykidstime, we have a blog post on 15 of the Best Apps for Kids (https://www.mykidstime.com/entertainment/15-best-reading-apps-for-kids/ ), along with lists of age appropriate books and more tips and advice to instil a love of reading in your reluctant reader.