8 Tips to Help You Motivate a Reluctant Reader
Many kids view reading to be a chore that they don't enjoy. Not all children find reading as fun or entertaining as other activities, and that's okay. Some people just don’t have a natural affinity for books or reading. If your child isn't the type to pick up a book during free time, you're not alone. In some cases, this happens because children haven't discovered any books they love yet. Don't be discouraged though. There are plenty of ways to help you motivate reluctant readers and help them find joy in reading.
Why should we encourage reluctant readers to read?
Before we discuss the ways in which you can motivate your reluctant reader, it's essential to understand why it's necessary to do so in the first place.
Reading offers a vast array of benefits that go beyond fluency and comprehension. Consistent reading also helps improve vocabulary, reasoning skills, problem-solving abilities, and more. Kids who read for pleasure generally tend to earn higher grades and test scores than those who don't. In addition, reading is a great tool to help kids develop empathy and understanding for others, while teaching them about different cultures and the world beyond their own.
So what can you do to motivate your reluctant reader?
Let children choose their own books
One of the best ways to help children who don’t enjoy reading become more engaged is to let them choose their own reading materials. These might be from the library, a bookstore, or even online sources such as Amazon. Let kids browse through a variety of age-appropriate books or magazines, and invite them to pick out a few that interest them.
Find your child a reading buddy
Helping reluctant readers develop an interest in reading can be achieved if you connect them with others during reading time. See if you can find another child or adult interested who enjoys reading, and set up a time for them to read together. Reading with others can make the experience more fun and social, and provides an opportunity for your child to look up to someone else’s positive reading habits, and emulate them.
Set concrete reading goals
Another way to motivate a reluctant reader is by setting goals. You might decide to have your child read for a certain amount of time each day or week, or perhaps you want them to read a specified number of pages. Setting a goal for children to reach can be a great way to help them get excited about reading.
When kids reach their reading goal, it’s beneficial to provide them with a reward, too. For example, maybe they can choose the next book they want to read, or you allow them to stay up 30 extra minutes on a weekend night.
Start out with short books
If your reluctant reader struggles with getting through longer books, it’s best to start with shorter ones instead. This will make the task less daunting, and it will be easier for children to become engaged in the story or subject matter. As kids progress through shorter books, you can start to introduce lengthier books.
Carve out time for reading
It's important to set aside time each day for reading, even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes. Making time for reading each day can help children incorporate reading into their daily routine, and they will be more likely to carry this practice into the future on their own.
Invite your child to read aloud
For some kids, reading aloud is more enjoyable than reading silently. Ask your child to read aloud to you or to a sibling. This can help kids focus more effectively on the story and gain a stronger understanding of the material.
Read together as a family
Another great way to help reluctant readers become more interested in books is by reading together as a family. In addition to making reading more fun, it also provides great opportunities for discussion and bonding time.
For example, instead of spending a Friday night watching a movie marathon, why not add some variety into your family bonding time by enjoying some joint reading time? Choose a family-friendly book and read it together. You may even opt to take turns reading aloud.
Make reading fun
Kids are more likely to be interested in any activity where fun is incorporated. There are ways you can make reading more enjoyable for your child. Try reading aloud to kids, find books with exciting plots and content, picking out special rewards when children reach their reading, or consider pairing your child with a reading buddy. With a little bit of effort, you can help reluctant readers find joy in reading as they enjoy the many benefits that reading can offer.
Helping your reluctant reader fall in love with reading can be challenging. However, with a little bit of creativity and perseverance, you can help your child develop a lifelong love for books.
At Mrs. Myers's Learning Lab, we specialize in offering fun, interactive classes for developing readers. Our engaging process helps students gain self-confidence, enhanced interpersonal skills, and a love for learning that extends far beyond the classroom.