7 Tips for Encouraging Reluctant Readers

 In Blog

I have a reluctant reader. She reads well, she just doesn’t WANT to read as often or as much as I’d like her to.  Getting a reluctant reader to enjoy reading is comparable to getting a bill through congress. It requires tiny little steps that should be fairly simple, but turn out to really require massive amounts of energy and fortitude. But, it can be done. It’s possible, I tell ya! Most of the work is done in brainstorming creative ways to sneak in reading opportunities and beefing up our own fortitude.

Here are a few crafty ways to add reading opportunities to your school day.

Entrance & Exit Reading

Compile a basket of readers that are at or just below the reading level of the student and are high interest topics. Make is mandatory that she reads for a pre-determined amount of time before school can begin and before school can end each day. Choose an amount of time or length of passage that isn’t exhausting for the child. These readers don’t have to be complete books or booklets, even paragraphs or sentences on strips of paper will work, depending on the reading level of the student.

Read Aloud

Take turns reading aloud. This gives your readers a chance to practice their skill, but also is gives a chance for them to hear others read aloud too. This reminds your students that we all slip up on words at times and reduces the stress of perfectionism.

Classroom Theater

Do a quick online search for simple classroom plays. If you’re lucky, you can find short plays that are related to your topic of study, but mostly using these reader-roles as extra literacy practice is a good enough reason to add it to your school day. These plays can be as low-key or involved as you’d like. Practice reading in silly or strange voices, use costumes, hand puppets or stuffed animals as actors.


If you already have a morning routine, adding a daily reader to your meeting will only lengthen your routine a few minutes. Make these daily reading times interesting by having a different passage for each day of the week, then change of your passages for holidays, seasons, topics of study or for more memory work. Reading a familiar passage is a great confidence builder.

Audio Books

It might sound contradictory to suggest audio books for students that are struggling readers, but it is actually a prove strategy. Providing great literature and fabulous stories for your child to hear sparks a curiosity and helps you discover topics of interest for your reader. Learning to listen for content is also a great skill to beef up for the reluctant reader.

Get Wild and Crazy

Brainstorm creative ideas for practicing reading and do them. Head outside and write high frequency words in sidewalk child and use water pistols to squirt words as your child reads them. Mark a basketball court with words/phrases/sentences and take practice shots as each one is read. Make menus for family meals and let the kids help you read recipes. Have your child write down shopping lists as your dictate, then have him read it to you as you walk through the stores. Get creative!

 Do the Time

It sounds boring and it’s often a tough task, but set the timer and make your reader read for a pre-determined amount of time each day. Do whatever it takes to make this happen daily.

Once you start looking around, you’ll find ways to encourage practice and build confidence for your reluctant reader.

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.

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