Every child learns to read at their own pace. Some children are reluctant to read because of lack of interest, frustration with learning to read, or even a negative experience. With time, consistent practice, and support, they can learn to love reading. These six tips will help to encourage your reluctant reader to start a reading practice of their own:

reluctant reader reading practice

Turn Reading Into A Game

After reading a story at your child’s reading level, use some of the words from that story to help your child build a basic word vocabulary. Write down these sight words on index cards. They can be used to play a game like Memory or you can even shuffle the cards and play a game of ‘Go Fish’. These activities can be used with the alphabet, too! Ooka Island uses game-based learning and interactive game to encourage reluctant reader reading practices. We help them develop the five foundational reading skills by hooking it into meaningful activities.

reluctant reader reading practice

Be A Cheerleader

Julie Nowell from 3 Chickens And A Boat discovered four ways that subtly motivated her son to keep up his reading practice. One included sending her child Ooka Island’s motivational rewards like our “You Are Awesome” stickers and Ooka Mist to buy items in the Mist Mart during his free play.

reluctant reader reading practice

Read At Bedtime

A reluctant reader likely sees reading as work since they haven’t yet mastered the learning-to-read skills. Try not to bring homework books into the bedtime reading routine rather, use it as a time to relax and take pleasure from the joy of a good story. This may be the perfect opportunity to introduce your child to different genres since you will be the reader.

reluctant reader reading practice

Be Open To All Texts

Comics, magazines, instructional booklets all count as reading. In fact, these types of texts develop a different, and often a more complex, set of skills than traditional texts! Reluctant reader may be more likely to give reading a chance if they are able to choose topics and reading materials they are interested in.

reluctant reader reading practice

Give Them Permission To Give Up

If your child doesn’t like the text, and it’s not a matter of the book being too difficult, teach them how long to persevere until switching to a different book. We recommend reading the first few pages before abandoning a book.

reluctant reader reading practice

Teach Them How To Choose A Just Right Book

Showing your child how to prequalify a book for independent reading helps to reduce their chances of abandoning it. Demonstrate looking at the cover of the book and flipping through the pages to see if the topic looks interesting. Once a book passes that test, early readers can then start reading the first few pages. If they come across more than 3 words they cannot decode in the first page (or two depending on the length of the text) then the book is likely too hard for them to read on their own. Put it aside to read together or tell them to bring it home from school to read at bedtime!


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