Reading is an excellent activity for children to engage in, whether at a basic school level or for recreational reasons. However, many children experience and display a stubborn reluctance to read, which can be difficult to overcome.
In this post, we will look at why children hate to read, as well as some activities for reluctant readers, to get your kids or class to enjoy their books!
Why are some children reluctant to read?
I love reading and have ever since I was a child – escaping to a world of excitement and adventure through the pages of a book was my favourite pastime. Unfortunately, lots of children don’t share my passion for reading.
Every class will have its reluctant readers but the reasons for this lack of engagement with reading will be varied and may be about the reading materials they are offered as well as their reading skills. A child may:
- lack the skills of reading, both vocabulary and comprehension
- have an underlying condition like dyslexia
- be frustrated by their inability to read independently or fluently
- be discouraged by environmental factors at home or school
- lack reading choices
- find the format and length of books unappealing or overwhelming
- be bored by the subject and content of books available to them
- be choosing books that are too hard for them
How to help reluctant readers
Thankfully, there are plenty of reading activities that you can do with your class or children. Note that, with a little adjustment, these can be done with your own children at home, or with your class if you are a school teacher. So, what strategies can you use to encourage reluctant readers?
Read aloud every day
Take the stress out of reading by scheduling time for a class shared storytime. Children learn so much from being read to. Listening again to a well-loved book or being able to access something harder and more exciting can help improve vocabulary, stimulate imagination and is the key to building life-long readers.
Find a book that you love – your enjoyment will be infectious. Get silly and add voices and sound effects or if you don’t feel confident in reading aloud, use the skills of an actor by listening to an audiobook.
Make sure the environment is right. Are the children comfortable? Is the floor the best place in a classroom, or should you use a comfy reading corner or let the children remain in their seats? Some teachers let children draw and write notes about the story as they listen.
Choice of content and format
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”(JK Rowling)
Match the right book to the child by providing a variety of books from different authors and genres for them to choose from. Social media and video games are all tough competition for the experience of reading a paper and ink book so try graphic novels, comics and books with sound effects. Don’t forget nonfiction too.
Include different publishers so that you get an inclusive, diverse and accessible range. Barrington Stokes’ titles include a range of specialist features, such as high interest/low ability texts from well-known writers, specific fonts and yellow pages, to help visually stressed and dyslexic readers.
Ensure access to audio stories and author recommendations and chat – try Storyline Online and Words For Life – and make eBooks available on a Kindle/iPad (this can also help those children with visual impairment or dyslexia as fonts and backgrounds can be changed).
Make reading sociable
Why not start the day with a pupil-led book talk? Allow the children to share fun or interesting things from their reading with each other.
Encourage additional activities linked to the stories they are reading, for example, organising a competition or making a diorama.
Conclusion of our reluctant reader recommendations
There are a number of valid reasons why children do not like to read, but it is important that these are overcome. Beyond the basic skills that they require to navigate the modern world, children that don’t read miss out on entire worlds held within the covers of books. So with the help of these reading strategies, encourage the children in your care to develop a love of books.