How many times have you seen a child flipping through pages during silent reading, but not really reading? They are not interested in reading or they find it so much work, that they avoid it and just pretend to do it. How do we motivate these reluctant readers?
Choose The Right Materials
It has often been said that kids that don't like reading just haven't found the right book yet. Although this could be true, it is not that simple. First, they need to feel that they are able to read in order to develop the love of reading. We need to find ways to support them in their reading journey.
There are many different strategies and tricks for helping kids learn to read. Developing a love for reading goes beyond this. If we want children to love reading, one way is to show them we love reading. Reading for enjoyment and for knowledge is different, but both can be inspiring if we are able to share this with others.
Read Stories Aloud
Reading stories to my class was a special time because I loved books and I was able to share my excitement about new books and characters with my students. Choosing a variety of material that had topics of interest that they could relate to was key. Using a series helped them to become connected with characters and they often wanted to know what was going to happen next. I would also stop at key spots so that I left them wanting more. This developed an anticipation and eagerness for the next time we visited to story.
Make Sure Material Is An Appropriate Level
During actual reading lessons, it is important to make sure that the material is at an appropriate level for the students, but it also has to be something that they are interested in. Nobody wants to read something just to practice a skill. Imagine having to read material you weren't interested in and having to work on activities that practiced a skill that you struggled with. This would be "WORK" and doing this every day would definitely not help you to love reading. High interest, low vocabulary material is helpful as a jumping off point here.
Try Reader's Theater
Reader's theater might be another way to get kids interested in reading. If they have specific roles to play, they can become more engaged in the reading. Sometimes, this may be multiple people having the same role so that they do choral reading as they are developing confidence with reading out loud. Gradually they could move towards doing the part by themselves. It can be fun to add different voices to the different characters too.
Have Familiar Books Available
Another trick I used was to leave books around the room that we had just finished reading or were in the process of reading. This made them available for those who were needing some motivation to read as they were already familiar with the books and could use their prior knowledge to help them with the more difficult vocabulary.
I would also circulate sometimes during the quiet reading times and do one on one conferencing with the books just to do an interest check and maybe help if needed.
Try Audio Versions
Listening to audio versions of a book while reading along, can also help. There are some programs out there that provide an audio version followed by reading the passage without the audio. Eventually the audio won't be necessary and as confidence grows, usually an interest in reading develops.
Not everyone will be a bookworm, but if we can help kids to enjoy reading even a bit, it is worthwhile.
For specific strategies for teaching reading, check out some of my other blog posts.
Themes And Games Make Learning Fun
Guided Reading In The Primary Classroom
Guided Reading Tips And Tricks
Also, watch for future posts about engaging reluctant writers and those who struggle with math.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.