Daily reading for young children, either for personal enjoyment or to reinforce developing reading skills, is something that parents should encourage and support. ‘Reluctant Readers’ are a curious group, as there are several reasons why a child may appear to be unwilling, or hesitant to read.
For some children, avoidance is the objective, as reading is a difficult task for them, which provides little enjoyment or sense of satisfaction. For others who have become so attuned to instant responses from their handheld devices, may lack either the interest or the patience to read.
If you have a ‘reluctant’ reader in your family, consider having your child’s sight and hearing tested to rule out any physical challenges. Reading is a combination of phonetics, developing an increasing sight word vocabulary, and confidence, which together, enables a child to follow a storyline through clues, pictures, and diagrams.
The following suggestions will help your child to develop improved fluency and an interest in reading.
Your child’s teacher can provide additional guidance, direction, and support for increased success.
For independent reading practice, try ‘repeat reading’ using a recording device. Ask your child to read the same paragraph several times, then listen to the recorded results. Your child will be pleasantly surprised, and become more confident, when he/she hears how his/her reading fluency improved with each reading.
An effective way to develop increased word recognition and reading fluency is by practising the Dolch 200 high frequency sight words. This list is available online; simply do a Google search. Print the words from this list on flash cards in large upper and lower case lettering. Have your child practise reading a dozen words at a time until mastery.
Organize reading activities based on a practical need or real purpose:
Together with your child, do a Google search of your child’s favourite interests; i.e. lizards, science fiction, etc. Find books or magazines on these topics.
Plan a road trip together, using a map or Google Directions, and have your child navigate, reading the directions as you go.
One of the best motivators to encourage reading is for parents to model this activity, and to keep a wide variety of books and reading materials around the home. When children see their parents reading for enjoyment, they will be more inclined to place a high value on reading, and can become enthusiastic readers themselves.
Linda A. Sweet M.S. Ed.
Founder and Director, Glenburnie School
Preschool to Grade 8
Providing a progressive and innovative private school education