Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

1.  Try a Variety of Reading Materials - Pair Books with Unabridged Audio Books

Encourage reading by pairing books with unabridged audio books. Often, you can find both at your library. Experiment and choose the best strategy that works for your child:
  • Follow the book as the audio book plays. This helps with word recognition and awareness of phrasing;
  • Listen to a chapter, and then read it. This helps students understand main ideas before they are read, which can improve fluency.
  • Read a chapter and then listen to it to self-check for understanding.

2. Watch More Television

Yes, really. A fun way to increase sight word vocabulary and develop a sense of the flow of written and spoken language, turn on the closed captioning feature on your television. Also use the closed captioning feature on your child's favorite DVDs. Encourage your child to note the captions and read along. Invite a friend, make some popcorn, and they may even forget they're working!

3. Create Their Own Books on Tape

Make your child the star of his own audio book! Have him read into a tape recorder. During playback, help him follow along in the book. Help him identify errors. Use your own judgment on whether to stop the tape and demonstrate correct words and phrases. Some research has indicated that as your child listens to himself and hears his own reading becoming better, his skills will likely improve. Reward your child for the errors he finds and corrects as well as for his successes.

4. Have a Family Reading Night

Reserve thirty minutes each evening for family reading time. Each family member can read different material and then share out information about it. Alternately, everyone can take turns reading aloud from the same book. Make it a friendly competition by charting each person's reading minutes. At the end of the week, the person with the most minutes wins a special recognition, their favorite meal, or choice of family activity.

5. Adapt Reading Materials to Your Child's Reading Level.


Before reading text, identify unfamiliar vocabulary, and help your child look up the meanings of words. Show your child how to pronounce new words, and help him make up sentences using them.

By Ann Logsdon