Friday, April 10, 2015
7 Ways to Turn a Book-Hater aka Reluctant Reader into a Reader
We all know them, kids who don't like to read. There are far too many of them out there, and you probably know at least one, if not more, personally.
Your child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or friend may even say they "hate" reading. I was one of those kids. I hated reading. I hated the library, and I found no joy in anything related to reading.
However, now I love reading, I love the library, I think being a librarian dealing with books and information is the best job in the world, and I love everything related to books and reading. If a hater like me can be turned into a bookworm than I believe any reluctant reader can be.
Kids who don't like to read are also known as reluctant readers. Reluctant readers can be young or old, they can be boys or girls, they can be kids or adults. Anyone can be a reluctant reader, and it is never too late to become a reader.
There are many definitions and reasons someone is a reluctant reader. A child (I say child for ease, but it really can be any age) who is smart and interested in reading but struggles reading can be a reluctant reader. A child who has no interest in reading is a reluctant reader; they are often at risk for falling behind, if not already failing, academically. A child that struggles to read the words (second language, dyslexia, etc.) or comprehending the words is often a reluctant reader b/c it is hard and there is little or no joy found in doing something so difficult. A child may be an adequate and proficient reader, even an excellent reader, but they may not like to read still makes them a reluctant reader. This last "kind" of reluctant reader can be the most frustrating.
Just b/c someone is a reluctant reader doesn't mean they always have to be one. There are things you can do to help them. These are seven steps that can help turn a book-hater into a reader.
I've come up with 7 Ways to Help a Reluctant Reader
1. Read Aloud. Reading aloud to a reluctant reader models what good readers sound like with expression and emphasis. Reading aloud can also introduce new vocabulary and expands their knowledge. Reading aloud can get a reader interested in a book or a series; it can help light the fire of reading. Just think of the movie The Princess Bride and the Grandfather reading the story to the boy. The boy hated love stories, but he really caught the fire and joy of a good story being read aloud to him. A good read aloud is powerful to help share the joy of reading.
2. Read Poetry- Poetry is short and sweet. At the juvenile level poetry is often fun and easy to understand. I have known many reluctant readers happily read an entire Shel Silverstein book in one sitting.
3. Be a Reader Yourself- Read. Have books in your home. Go to the library and check-out books. Set the example for them.
4. Read With Them- Read a book with the reluctant reader. You each read aloud a paragraph, page, or chapter at a time. For younger kids read a paragraph at a time; for older kids alternate reading a page or couple of pages at time. Reading a book with someone helps both individuals stay motivated. Then you have something to talk about as well.
5. Find the Right Book- Help the reluctant reader find a book that interests them that isn't too far above their reading level. The right book has power to light the fire of reading and help them find the joy and love in reading. The right book is powerful; there's a book for everyone. Librarians (you can ask me or your local librarian) can help you find the right book. Boys often love non-fiction books (aka real information), or books with boys as the main character. Girls often prefer fiction. Non-fiction and graphic novels are a great choice for reluctant readers b/c there are a lot of pictures, you can read them relatively fast, and you can't necessarily tell if they are meant for younger kids at an easier reading level. Non-fiction is especially great for older students that read at a lower level.
If the reluctant reader is interested in a book that is above their reading level (content- you as the parent decides that) let them read it. Their interest in a book is what is most important. However, be sure you do not pick a book for them that is above their reading level; it can easily frustrate them while reading and it doesn't help their reading confidence.
6. Let Them Read- If your reluctant reader wants to read the Guiness Book of World Records, a Magazine, the Newspaper, a cereal box (my kids love this) etc. let them. It's all reading, and it is helping them find the joy in reading. Finding the joy in reading is most important. They will still benefit greatly just by reading no matter what the content is.
7. Read Books That Have Movies- A reluctant reader would love to see a movie based book. Be sure to read the book first (individually or together) and then make an event watching the movie after. This is fun to do with a reader or a reluctant reader. Everyone enjoys watching a movie.
There are many reasons someone is a book-hater aka reluctant reader. Though, I full heartily believe that everyone can love reading; you just have to know how to light the fire within them.
This summer make it a goal to help the reluctant reader you know become a reader. Just use these 7 How To Steps.
To help you find the right book for a reluctant reader I will be posting over the next few weeks grade specific reading lists specifically geared for reluctant readers. Check back every Friday for those book lists.
Happy Reading is possible even for the Book-Haters.