Tips for Engaging Reluctant Readers

Do you need tips for engaging reluctant readers or listeners? I asked my favorite, most respected early childhood and early elementary teachers for their suggestions, and they nailed it! Below are ideas from us about engaging young children with books.

** Create a special reading nook.

** Allow your kid to “read” pictures, favorite stories that she may have simply memorized, and wordless books. Also let her “read” to younger siblings, pets, and stuffed animals.

** Help your child write books about his life (such as playdates or new sports experiences). Write his stories in simple pattern text and give him abundant time to illustrate his book, then let him read it to anyone who will listen!

** Try partner reading (you read a page, and I read the next). Having roles can make this even more fun (i.e. Batman reads and Robin points to words).

** Let kids read with Halloween fingers pointing to words, capes and masks (reading like a superhero is always a winner!), finger flash lights, whisper phones, wands, silly glasses, etc.

** Try different genres or print formats (graphic novels and nonfiction often win over reluctant readers more than traditional fiction; newspapers, comic strips, recipes, maps…).

** Give audiobooks a try! We are HUGE Audible fans in our house, but your local library can be a great resource too.

** When listening to stories, allow kids to mold play dough, color, build with legos or blocks, fidget with their hands, climb a structure or balance on a beam, eat… These can help them focus more on what they’re hearing!

** Read and reread (and reread again…) favorite books. Let kids act out favorite parts or do puppet shows upon subsequent readings.

** Find a series that your kid likes (even if you don’t!), and use the library to get ALL the books in that series.

** Display books with the cover out, and let your kid choose every book he reads for a while. Also let him have free reign over library book choices. He may choose some junk, but eventually it’ll balance out. Once you have an idea of characters or storylines your child is drawn to, ask teachers, librarians, or booksellers for titles of similar books.

** If you’re reading a story and your child isn’t interested, abandon it. Also let him stop reading books he’s not enjoying!

Comment below with any tips or tricks we missed!

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