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15 June 2020 - 5 min Read
Engaging Reluctant Readers

Teaching children to read is one of the most rewarding parts of teaching. Seeing the “aha”  moment when it all clicks into place – magic! But what do we do when our students are reluctant to participate in reading activities? How can we encourage a love of books and reading?  

We have 5 tips to help turn reluctant readers into book worms… 


1. Make Reading Fun! 

Over the years there has been a wealth of research into how to improve learning outcomes in the classroom. Many neuroscientists agree that when students are engaged, motivated and feel minimal stress, information flows and they achieve higher levels of cognition, make connections, and experience “aha” moments.  

In order to engage and motivate students we need to go beyond the book or worksheet and make learning fun! Using props such as novelty glasses, cute finger pointers and magnifying glasses are a great hook for reluctant readers. Reading in funny voices and using whisper phones is another way to make reading a fun and enjoyable experience. 


2. Reluctant or Struggling? 

Reluctant readers are often struggling readers. A lack of basic literacy skills and strong phonological and phonemic knowledge makes reading really, really tricky! If your student is reluctant to read, and wont engage in your reading sessions take a step back and double check their phonological and phonemic skills. Can they identify the sounds made by letters/letter combinations? Can they blend sounds together? By taking the time to find and fill any gaps you can help to (re)build their confidence to read. 

There are lots of engaging resources available on the website that you can use to hook your learners. We particularly love our digital Literacy Warm-ups.

They cover a huge range of literacy skills, and are available for Kindergarten to Year 3 so you can find the skills to suit where your students gaps are.


3. Choose Your Books Wisely. 

Books that engage, make them laugh out loud or those linked to their interests are a great way to hook reluctant readers. We love reading Julia Donaldsons books for their rhyme and rhythmic patterns, Aaron Blabey for laugh out loud stories and anything Tom Gates or Diary of a Wimpy Kid for those slightly older students.

The power to choose is also vital. If possible, book some extra time at your school library and browse the shelves with your students. Which books attract their attention and spark their interest? Allow each student time to select some books that can be borrowed and added to the class library. 


4. Take it Online. 

We are yet to meet a child who doesn’t love any and everything app related! There are some wonderful apps out there that engage young learners whilst systematically building reading skills. Two of our favourites are Teach your Monster to Read  and Reading Eggs. Both of these apps allow the students to work along at their own pace, starting with letters and sounds and building up to reading two full sentences.


5. Be a Reading Role Model. 

Sharing your love of books with your students is a wonderful way to get them interested in reading. Children love what you love and do what you do – so lead by example! Be a reading role model by reading your own book in front of them during quiet reading time. Chat with them about the places you like to read, when you like to read and what you like to read. Enthusiasm is contagious so the more you share your love of reading the more engaged they will become. 


We’d love to know how you’ve found success in engaging reluctant readers. Pop on over to our Instagram and Facebook and let us know! 





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