We all know what an important skill reading is but what can you do if your child is a reluctant reader?
Many children simply do not choose to read for pleasure and, despite their parents’ best efforts, are extremely resistant to efforts to interest them in books. This can have an adverse effect on their education, even if they are proficient readers children who do not choose to read often do not have the range of vocabulary that their reading peers have.
It is well documented that boys tend to be less engaged in reading books than girls but what is less well known is that research indicates that children who do not read for pleasure by the time they are 10 are unlikely to ever do so as an adult. Clearly Key Stage 2 is a crucial time for developing a love of reading.
I am lucky in that all my daughters are avid readers, I have however taught very many children who have been reluctant readers and am very experienced in getting reluctant readers to engage in reading for pleasure.
How can you encourage a reluctant reader to read?
- Take the time to find out what books will engage them; don’t dismiss books tied in to TV programmes and films. Many parents feel that their child should be reading “worthy” books but it is far more important that they read something rather than nothing! If they love Pokemon or Dr Who let them read those books!
- Many reluctant readers are very put off by page after page of unbroken text. Books with pictures will be far more appealing.
- Graphic novels are a great way of engaging reluctant readers; many popular books are now available in graphic novel format (basically a book version of a comic) such as Anthony Horowitz’ Alex Rider series.
- Some children do prefer fact to fiction, try non fiction books on subjects that interest them such as the Horrible Histories series.
- Check out websites aimed at helping children choose books, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Love2read4kids is a comprehensive and exciting website with lots of advice and suggestions for books to read.
- Allow them to choose a magazine but do make sure it has some reading in it, some magazines aimed at children actually have very little text in them!
- Check the bestsellers list, children will be more likely to read a book that they have heard other children at school talking about.
- Set aside specific time to read, if it is always an afterthought your child will see it as low priority. Equally make sure it isn’t always left till bedtime as your child will be tired and may not remember details of the story the following day and will lose interest. Don’t assume that older children don’t need to be heard reading or be read to, for many children having your undivided attention will make reading more enjoyable.
We have worked with Urmston Bookshop to create a reading list full of books specially chosen for their appeal to children. It is a mix of bestsellers, graphic novels and less well known titles which we know are great reads! What is more, Kip McGrath pupils who take the booklist to Urmston Bookshop get a 10% discount on books on the list! They have a fantastic range of children’s books in their award winning shop and can order books on request too. Last but not least parents can sit down and have coffee and cake whilst their children choose a book!
At Kip McGrath Urmston we work with parents to encourage reluctant readers to read. We have our own small but high quality selection of books which we know engage reluctant readers, including graphic novels, popular series such as Captain Underpants, Beast Quest, Septimus Heap, Alex Rider etc and contemporary authors such as Jacqueline Wilson and David Walliams. Children are able to borrow these to read at home.
There are so many exciting children’s books available at the moment it is a great time to inspire a lifelong love of reading in your child!