4 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers
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4 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers

Written by 28 September 2012

The following is a guest blog post from Stacy, an 8th grade English teacher.

4 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers

4 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers

As an adult, you understand the power and joy that comes from reading, but getting children to understand it can be a challenge. Sometimes teachers and parents focus so much on reading levels and reading ability, they keep children from reading the books they want to read. Other times children end up putting down books they would otherwise enjoy because they are too hard. Knowing how to get the right book in the hands of a reluctant reader is the key to helping children tap into all reading has to offer.

1. Looking Beyond Levels:
When a student does not enjoy reading, the first thought that comes to mind is that reading must be hard. Students are then tested and Lexile levels, AR levels or another number or letter is assigned to them. While knowing how to find books on their level is important, you must look beyond reading levels to engage reluctant readers. Many students simply pick up a book because it is at their reading level and are frustrated when the book is boring. It is extremely important that the books reluctant readers pick up interest them. They must be taught how to find books related to their interests or that feature characters they can relate to.

2. Looking Beyond Traditional Books:
Traditional books do not often appeal to reluctant readers. If it doesn’t have pictures or it is a hundred pages of long, it automatically looks boring and intimidating. To get reluctant readers to take an interest in reading, it’s important to introduce them to non-traditional books. Let them peruse a graphic novel, listen to an audio book, check out an animated version of a book online or read a non-fiction book with a lot of pictures. Try books in the form of diary entries, text messages or books you do not read in the traditional front to back format. Short articles or worksheets on high-interest topics are another simple way to quickly engage reluctant readers and begin to open them up to the idea of reading.

3. Connecting it to the Curriculum:
Reluctant readers may be more encouraged to read when there is a reason for the reading. You can give them a reason to read by connecting books to the curriculum. For example, if you are studying butterflies, read a book that involves butterflies and incorporate it into the lesson. This will bring an element of reality and importance to the book and encourage more students to read.

4. Talk about Reading:
The more you talk about reading, the easier it will be to engage reluctant readers. Talk about books that excite you or share when you do not like a book. Let your students know that even you struggle with reading sometimes and share what you do when you encounter a book you don’t like or talk about your process for finding a book you do like. You can also encourage your students to talk to themselves about reading or talk with the books they are reading by keeping reading logs or writing reflections about reading. The more students talk about reading and hear you talking about reading, the more reluctant readers may be encouraged to give books a chance.

Additional Resources for Reading:
You can find many of the reading resources mentioned above to use in your classroom at TeacherLingo.com. All of their resources are created and sold by real teachers and you can find everything from reading blogs to reading worksheets and much more.

About the Author:

Today’s guest post comes from Stacy, an 8th grade English teacher, Stacy has written articles and blog posts for multiple online publications and has designed curriculum and assessments on nearly every subject for teachers and educational publishers. You can often find Stacy writing for TeacherLingo. As the mother of two, Stacy is also committed to learning ways to help her children learn and develop.

P.S. Want to have your blog post featured by SimpleK12 like Stacey? Click here to find out how you can be a SimpleK12 Guest Blogger too.

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4 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers

One Comment »

  • Ethel said:

    I personally think that our society can afford to start moving away from the traditional forms of teaching kids (including engaging them to read). I hope a lot of people will agree with me on this one. Since our children are now more into digital media, why not give them to them? Improve our ebooks, get more reliable educational apps into the school system. Not just graphic novels as you pointed out in #2. What do you think?
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