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Learn To Love Reading

Five ways to encourage reluctant readers

Here are some ways Project SMILE Book Club encourages children to feel excited about books, which also come in handy when writing for reluctant readers.

1. Reading for pleasure

Levels and book bands are useful tools, but it’s most important to focus on making reading fun and exciting. To avoid making reading feel like a chore or a race, Project SMILE Book Club parents learned to be interested and impressed by whatever their children are reading.

For most children, reading for pleasure starts with snuggly bedtime stories. There’s no need to stop this daily ritual once children can read the words themselves. Listening to stories is a great way to nurture a love of books. It also helps a child to access interesting content above their reading level. As they get older, take it in turns to read a sentence, page or chapter each.

Visit:Brilliant book suggestions from Happiness Is Here -free childhood

2. “Make it funny”

Some boys love it when we subvert a traditional story – adding jokes and misinterpreting the pictures for comic effect. Hearing The Hungry Caterpillar be rude about his meals, or Cinderella joke about the prince’s fashion sense, helps them associate books with laughing as well as learning.

Luckily we don’t have to improvise – there are LOADS of funny children’s books out there. Some children will enjoy snot jokes and slapstick; others will like tales of naughtiness that turn familiar rules upside down. Experiment, and see what sticks.

3. Think outside the bookbag

We weren't surprised when National Literacy Trust research found that eBooks make children keener, more confident readers, with the most potential to engage boys who don’t enjoy reading. Look through the library of 250+ eBooks on Houston Public Library.

If you are reluctant to add more screen time to the day, try graphic novels, poems, joke books or magazines and comics – bite-sized texts can be more appealing than a traditional book. A four-year-old even enjoys reading letters and words chalked on trees during walks!

4. Read for a purpose

A  father stated his eldest son is always reluctant to start reading a new story, but happily dips into books that mix reading with hands-on activities. From coding to origami, non-fiction books that give him a clear sense of purpose are always a big hit, and can be enjoyed without the pressure to read them from cover to cover.

Attention-grabbing content is vital – reluctant readers will abandon a book in seconds if they aren’t hooked. Seek out non-fiction books that link to your child’s existing passions, from fossils and football to snakes and space!

5. Copy and collect

If your child loves collecting things, they might get a buzz from working their way through a series. The best recommendations come from other children – ask around on the playground, or find out which books have a waiting list in your local library. Books linked to films or TV shows can be a good starting point. A father also stated his son had chosen his Hogwarts house long before he picked up a Harry Potter book. It’s taking him months to work his way through the story, but it’s the joy of sharing details with friends that keeps him coming back to the book.

Informational Resource: Oxford Press | Houston Public Library | College Cafe | The Kabir Family | Great School Speakers Bureau

Photo Credit: Maya Nicole White

©2018 Project SMILE SaRita Dean, R.D.H.