Ideas to encourage a reluctant reader

With the celebration of books this week with World Book Day, I thought I would write about encouraging a more reluctant reader. I write this from personal experience as my children are not the types to sit reading a book independently… yet! My daughter’s school had a book swap on Thursday, where you could take 3 books from home to swap for different books. This is what she came home with.

I suppose she’s chosen books to suit her and she was excited by her choice, so although I wanted to say something about choosing better quality books (she is nearly 10 years old), I held back. Yes I am a bit jealous when I see other children total absorbed in a book,  so how do you encourage a child to read?

Love of books

Despite what I have just written I do feel our house is a ‘book house’ as we have always shared books with the children from them being babies. This is my daughter’s bookcase, plus there are more books scattered elsewhere in her room.

Read, read, read!

So my next point is grab any opportunities to read, not just books- anything. You might see from the first photo that my children are big fans of joke books. Non fiction books are also a hit in our house as are cook books. It’s finding things that interest them, it doesn’t always have to be ficition.

Bedtime story

We love our bedtime stories and have actually read most of the books on the bookcase through the years. There’s nothing better than cuddling up reading together. It’s the sharing element that I enjoy, crying with laughter at Daisy and the trouble with coconuts when she threw a ball at the coconut-shy stall man, cheering each other up after reading about Clover Moon’s tragedies and wanting to continue reading to find out who committed the crime in Enid Blyton’s Mystery stories. It also allows for that valuable discussion. Last night a character in our current read ‘screamed blue murder’ and straight away my daughter asked what that meant.

Picture books

Picture books are so valuable even with older children. Educators on twitter are always sharing powerful picture books that they have used. I think I need to read these more with both my own children as well as my class.

Local library

I’m a big fan of libraries (I’ve got to be as my mum was a librarian for about 30 years). Borrowing books allows the discovery of a new author or find a much longed for book that we have been wanting to read for ages. The summer reading challenge is also a great way to encourage reading over the long 6 weeks holiday.

Audio stories

These have been such an essential part of our household, for bedtimes, car journeys and just to enjoy. Sometimes we have got same book so my children can listen and read simultaneously.

Magazines and comics

I’m not a great fan of shop bought comics as I think £3.99 could be better spent on an actual book, however children love magazines so I have found different ways round this. First find something that interests your child e.g. a sport or hobby. For us it was nature and animals so we subscribed for one year to National Geographic Kids (free with our Tesco points). There was great excitement each month at receiving a magazine in the post. Another good idea is subscribing to an organisation  which provides free magazines throughout the year, like the RSPB. First News is also an excellent children’s newspaper that all children love. Charity shops are worth a look too as they often sell old annuals, which have comic strips inside, these have also been a hit in our house (my old Beano annual from 1985 has been read numerous times).

So while I await for my children to choose to curl up and escape into a book, until then I actually don’t think we are doing too badly.


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