Advice for Reluctant Readers?

by Mrs Mitchell, Support for Learning.

A parent asked this week how to encourage her son to read more. It’s hard at home when they don’t HAVE to read, but you WANT them to!

If your child is struggling to engage with reading just now, follow their interests! It doesn’t matter if it seems too easy, as long as they’re getting enjoyment from reading.

In our house we get a comic every week, and both kids love it. The Beano, for younger children. For older ones, The Phoenix is fab, if a subscription is something you want.

Other books popular with boys (but not exclusively for boys!) are the 13 Story Tree House series, Captain Underpants, or Tom Gates books that you can buy as a set. Not overly wordy, but fun! If your kids are into football, Tom Palmer writes very accessible books.

Graphic Novels – We use Graphic novels with our readers who are overwhelmed by huge novels. They have more reading in them than comics, and feel more grown-up. Here’s a selection.

Try e-books. Reading online is not always suited to some kids, as they don’t enjoy reading off a screen, but Oxford Owl has a range of online books to choose from, often with a wee quiz at the end. You can register for free as a parent, then browse! Start easy and work your way up the levels. If more than 4 or 5 words on each page are too tricky, go down a level.

Set a time each day to read, say 15-20 minutes, straight after breakfast, so they know it’s limited (if they’re not keen), and once it’s done, it’s done. Maybe ask your child where they like to read, and make it comfy and cosy, with a hot chocolate and a biscuit – anything that reinforces the fact that it IS a nice activity!

Read to them – I think we stop doing that with our children too soon. Something that might be beyond them at the moment, but a reminder that reading is an activity adults enjoy too (not a punishment), and something you can enjoy together. Try the Hobbit, a Harry Potter, or a book you think they’d enjoy that’s a bit tricky just now.

Happy reading!

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