11 Top Tips for Reluctant Readers

13th Dec 2015

11 top tips for reluctant readers

If you’ve spent more time pleading, bargaining and bribing your kids to read than they’ve actually spent with a book

1. It’s never too early to start

“Even if it seems pointless to read them a story you don’t think they’ll understand, babies like listening to the sound of their parents’ voices and looking at pictures”

2. Seek out books with strong visuals (and ideally a film version too…)

“The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books are real winners for reluctant readers – especially young boys.
The books are presented in a delightful way, with cartoon illustrations, diary/scrapbook extracts, and notebook-like mid-page border designs. We showed the children the first film and they couldn’t wait to follow that up by reading the subsequent books in the series (including the first one to get the story in print form!)”

3. Alternatively, don’t give them books at all

“One of my charges used to be a reluctant reader and is still a work in progress. He’s really interested in animals, so I’ve made a box full of things that are NOT books for him to read – fact cards from National Geographic Kids magazines, cut-out backs of cereal boxes, bits and pieces printed out in colour from zoo websites, Top Trumps cards… You name it! For daily reading, we get out the box and he chooses things that appeal to him to read”

4. Don’t force it: it just doesn’t work

“It can put them off reading forever. Just make it fun and for pleasure, not to get them up to the next reading level”

5. Don’t be snooty about what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reading material

“Comics, anime, graphic novels, annuals, magazines and even Argos catalogues are all a good place to start”

6. Sneak book characters into your daily life

“Ask your kids what their favourite character would do in a normal life situation”

7. Show them how much you love reading

“Let them see you read, let them hear that you LOVE books, let them see that you look after them, let them hear that reading is a high-pleasure, high-status, life-enhancing activity!”

8. Appeal to their competitive instincts

“Encourage them to do the Summer Reading Challenge that runs at libraries during the summer. Most libraries will put on various free events related to the Summer Reading Challenge, too”

9. Accessorize, accessorize…

“A friend of mine recently bought her son a bedside lamp and he’s suddenly really keen on reading to himself before going to sleep. So she reads to him, then he reads a chapter and turns out his light. It also means that he can read the stuff like Beast Quest without her having to read it too…”

10. Create a cosy reading zone

“Dedicate a special area for reading and make it nice and cosy, with lots of cushions, a reading light and a special shelf for your kids’ books. A special book bag, book mark and a wallet for their very own library card will make things more fun too!”

11. If all else fails, reverse psychology can work wonders…

“My tip is to tell your child that it’s very naughty to read books under the covers by torchlight at night then give them a book they like, a torch and a big wink”

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