Reluctant readers are easy to spot. They are the kids have difficulty settling into a book during independent reading time, spend a lot of time choosing books, and may give up on a book before they’ve reached the end, deeming it “too boring” or “too hard.” Reluctant readers find little joy in reading, and it’s our job as teachers to help them discover the magic within books.
Here are some great tips for teachers to encourage even the most reluctant readers to dive into books:
1. Find material that they like.
This may seem extremely obvious, but kids want to read books about topics that interest them. Survey your student readers and see what topics they enjoy. Your class may be into science, history, humor - just ask them and they will tell you. Then curate your classroom library with books that are chosen specifically with your group in mind. Here’s a great list from the American Library Association for young adult readers who need a little push to get into a book.
2. Provide a comfy, quiet place to read.
Reading in a cozy, comfortable spot is definitely preferable to sitting at a desk. Give your students opportunities to snuggle up with a book in a purposely designed book corner. Make sure the area isn’t overcrowded, and keep noise and other distractions minimized. Click here for some inspiration on creating an awesome classroom reading corner from real teachers!
3. Start reading aloud to get them hooked.
Help your reluctant readers get hooked on a good story by reading the first few chapters aloud to them. Leave off at a point in the book which leaves the kids wanting more and invite them to read the book to find out what happens next. Make sure you have multiple copies of the book so many kids can be invited to join in the reading. Here’s a teacher curated list of fantastic read alouds for kids.
4. Provide access to good non-fiction selections.
Reluctant readers often are more comfortable reading non-fiction books, rather than stories. They find the pictures helpful in decoding new words and there are many high interest topics to choose from in non-fiction. Click here for a wonderful list of the best in non-fiction from School Library Journal.
5. Give access to high-quality literature with audiobooks.
We used to call these “books on tape” and images of gigantic tape players with massive beige headphones spring to mind. These days audiobooks are much more accessible and available on nearly every digital device. Learning Ally has a massive library of audiobooks curated specifically for children and adults with dyslexia and other learning challenges. Audiobooks are essential for students who read below grade level because they provide access to content that is at their level of interest, as well as vocabulary at their grade level.