No-one would argue about whether reading is a valuable life skill. But reading can be about more than just knowing what the words are but more the meaning behind them. Being able to identify what the writer’s purpose was, and whether they are trying to persuade you for example, are other important aspects of reading that can aid you to a better understanding of things. These things can be learned over time and not necessary about just solitary reading, but by having others read to you and in groups. I think the most important thing is to make reading fun – especially for reluctant readers.
Encouraging Reluctant Readers
Depending on their age, if they are struggling to read, especially if they mention headaches, then it may be first of all worth getting their eye-sight checked.
The Reading Environment
Reading should be mostly enjoyable and you can make it fun for reluctant readers just by adjusting your reading environment. The where you read can vary from snuggled up in bed, inside a den you’ve made, on a picnic blanket in the woods, under the stars (with a lamp), even up a tree. You could couple this with drinks (think hot chocolate) and snacks, or by using props/puppets to act out the story. Or maybe join a book club – which means that reading and talking about the book can be taken in turns.
Reading with Reluctant Readers
Remember reading isn’t just about books – think road signs, visual displays/posters, food packaging, instructions (especially things like LEGO which also have pictures that go with them), magazines, and online (such as their favourite song with the words on YouTube). Board games are great with just a small amount of reading to be done. Also the books they read don’t have to be stories – with jokes, poems, or even instructions in a recipe book, as well as the obvious non-fiction which could include their special interests. Maybe you could make it a drama and dress up – with them just reading out their lines. You could read short stories, taking it in turns to read and just read to them.
Audio Books for Reluctant Readers
Audio books I think are great for reluctant readers because they do not feel that they have to do anything. Play them in the background and they can concentrate as and when they wish. I think you’ll be surprised at how much they do actually listen to. The best thing about this is that it also takes less effort on your part, as you aren’t having to do the reading either. If you buy subscriptions that have several stories then you can also just stop and change what you are listening to until you find something you all enjoy. It gives you the opportunity to hear someone else narrator the story in their different voices for each of the characters and you to really listen to the story. It is quite hard to laugh at what you are reading and carry on reading it, as well as explaining why it is funny – but an audio book makes this more possible. It also means you do not have to worry about how any tricky words are pronounced (and if you do not know the meaning you can make a mental note to look it up later).
Audio Books with Bonnier Books
We were given a free download of The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Bonnier Books. We often are out travelling to here and there and so it was great that the boys could still be receiving an education whilst in the car. This is a Top Gear Book by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler and narrated by Cel Spellman. The good thing about this book is that it downloaded straight onto my iPhone which meant that it did not use up any of my data to listen to it out of the house.
The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game
Introducing our boys to The Stig from Top Gear this way was much better than through screens. The story of Bunsfold’s new boy Sam Wheeler uncovering the truth about the strange goings on, with only The Stig saving him from danger. This story was so funny and clever. Many, many puns – ones that the boys got and others that had to be explained. Some were repeated too (just in case they didn’t get them the first time). A nice length story (6.6 hours long) that was cut into nice easily manageable chapters.
We were given a free download of The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Bonnier Books for purposes of promotion. All opinions are honest and my own.