Tips to Motivate Reluctant Readers

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Tips to Encourage & Motivate Reluctant Readers

motivate reluctant readers

I spent most of my childhood with my nose in a book, so when my oldest was not interested in reading I had to get creative. It took a long time to discover the right strategies that motivated and encouraged him to read. My daughter loved reading as a young child but her interest fo reading wore off the older she became. I found myself a book worm with two reluctant readers. While my two children did not become over eager book worms, I was able to convince my reluctant readers that books can be enjoyable. I have compiled all the tips that worked with both my children and have them here to help you motivate reluctant readers in your life.

Encourage & Motivate Reluctant Readers

  • Evaluate for a Learning Disability – Make sure there is not a reason for why your child is reluctant to read. Rule out any problems they may have such as dyslexia, vision problems, visual processing disorder, and ADHD/ADD. If they do have one of these you will need to tailor your approach to help them with that disability. These tips are beneficial but may need to be implemented along with other techniques.
  • Read Aloud – Take turns reading to each other. I found that alternating pages was the best approach. This gave them time to rest between reading and allowed me to help them with pronunciation and discover any reading difficulties that they were having. I used this during recreational reading and with long reading assignments for school.
  • Allow Them to Choose the Books – Don’t worry if it is below their age level or a comic book, if it is age appropriate then let them read it. My oldest went through a phase of reading Captain Underwear books and although they were not educational they did get him reading. Sometimes they just need to relax and read something that is fun and interesting to them.
  • Discover Their Learning Patterns – Not everyone learns the same way and this could be why your child is reluctant to read. Auditory or Hands On learners will be less likely to want to read than those that are visual learners. Once you know what way works best for them to learn you can implement that into their reading strategy. Also pay attention to how long your child can sit while reading without getting bored. They may need to break up their reading into smaller chunks.
  • Audio Books – These are great for auditory learners and as a way to introduce a reluctant reader to great literature without having to read the words. For those that struggle with reading comprehension this allows them to process the information without having to concentrate on reading and pronunciation. I also find this is a good way to fill up time while driving in the car or winding down before bed.
  • Set aside reading time – Set a certain amount of time each day for reading and schedule that time into their schedule. We focused on 30 minutes of reading daily. Reading before bed was a favorite time but if we found that they were fighting about reading, we instituted a policy that reading had to be completed before other “fun” activities
  • Use Electronics/Technology – This was the best way to convince my daughter to read. She liked using my Kindle over reading a hard copy book, so we looked for books that were available that way. There are also many fun educational apps that help with reading for younger children. Also assigning screen time based on reading time is a great way to motivate them to read. It is amazing what they will do to earn a little extra time playing games or talking with their friends.
  • Set Goals – Set realistic goals to help motivate reluctant readers by offering rewards when they are reached. Create a sticker chart to mark books read or minutes read. Then once the goal has been reached, they can claim their reward. Rewards can be a new book, extra reading time with a you, or even a pass to stay up late on the weekends. Make sure that as they grow more comfortable reading, that you adjust the goals to keep encouraging them to try harder.

I hope these tips will help you to encourage and motivate reluctant readers in your family. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t work at first, keep implementing new tips and mixing them up till you find the ones that work. My daughter is by no means a book worm but we no longer are fighting daily about reading a book.

Do you have any tips to help encourage and motivate reluctant readers? What works in your family to end the fight to read a book? Share your tips and tricks with us below. 


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