Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers
1. Try a Variety of Reading Materials - Pair Books with Unabridged Audio BooksEncourage 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:
2. Watch More TelevisionYes, 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 TapeMake 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 NightReserve 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
1. Encourage your child to keep a journal or a diary. Give a book with blank pages as a gift. Help your child pick out a special pen. Then encourage her to put thoughts and feelings on paper.
2. Write notes or shopping/To Do lists, and have your child do the same.
3. Have your child draw a picture, before writing, and then ask your child to tell you about the picture. Prompt for details to get them thinking about what they will write about.
4. Encourage your child to think through how his story will end in order to avoid getting stuck mid-story. Once he knows the beginning and the end, the middle will write itself.
5. Have your child use a graphic organizer, before writing. This will help them to organize their ideas and get the details flowing.
6. Tell them not to worry about spelling- just to get their thoughts on the paper. You can always go back and edit later.
7. If handwriting is a struggle, try allowing them to type on the computer.
8. Keep a running list of writing ideas that they are interested in, so that they can go back to at a later time when they say "they have nothing to write about."
9. Try not to influence their ideas, directing them toward something you "know" will work — tempting as it may be. "Creativity and passion flow best when kids feel ownership over their writing."
10. If your child is suffering from writer's block, let them walk away for a while and revisit the writing later.
11. Try to do your child’s writing assignment yourself. Then, when both you and your child are finished, look over each other’s work.
12. Use email. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. (Grandparents love to hear from their grandchildren.)
13. Read a book with your child. Then write a letter talking about what you’ve read. Encourage your child to write back. This will also help your child learn to read for meaning.
14. Timed Writing: Each night have your child speed write as much as they can (yes, it has to make sense) and see how much they can write in 5 minutes. You can tell them it can be something private, if that motivates them (you won't peek at what it says), or it can be about their day, or what they want to do that night- anything! Have them count up their words, and keep track of how many words they're writing at a time. You'll see progress immediately, and kids love to "beat their scores"!
Use Checklists- Help your child get into the habit of keeping a "To Do" list. Use checklists to post assignments, household chores, and reminders about what materials to bring to class.
This website from Scholastic will create really neat looking to do lists that you can fill out yourself or print in different formats.
2. Organize Homework Assignments- Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number assignments in the order of which they should be done. Your child should start with an assignment that is not too long or difficult, but avoid saving the hardest or longest assignments for last.
3. Designate a Study Space- Your child should study in the same place every night. This doesn't have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions. All school supplies and materials should be nearby. If your child wants to study with you nearby too, you will be better able to monitor their progress and encourage good study habits.
4. Set a Designated Study Time- Your child should know that a certain time everyday is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is not usually right after school. Most children benefit from having some time to unwind first. Include your child in making this decision. Even if he/she doesn't have assigned homework, the time should be spent reviewing, practicing math facts, or reading.
5. Keep an Organized Binder and Folder- Help your child keep track of papers that are sent home by organizing them into a labeled binder or folder. This will allow your child to review the material and prepare for tests and quizzes.
6. Conduct a Weekly Clean-Up- Encourage your child to sort through his/her backpack and notebooks on a weekly basis. Old worksheets and papers should be organized in a separate file at home.
7. Check Your Child's Binders and Folders- Although not on purpose, children sometimes forget what is in their Take Home Folders. Please try to go through their backpacks and check to make sure that they are writing down and completing all assignments. Check their assignments for accuracy. Checking up on your child keeps them in check, so that they will be mindful that this is is something that you want them to do, and will be checking for at home, as well as my checking at school.
8. Keep a Master Calendar- Keep a large wall-sized calendar at the house that lists the family's commitments, schedules for extracurricular activities, days off from school, and major events at home and school.
Scholastic has a great Calendar Maker that you can fill in and print our in many colorful formats.
9. Prepare for the Day Ahead- Before your child goes to bed, he/she should pack schoolwork and books in a backpack. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to prepare for the day ahead.
10. Provide Needed Support While Your Child is Learning to Become More Organized- Help your child develop organizational skills by photocopying schedules and checklists and taping them to the fridge. Gently remind him/her to fill in calendar dates and keep papers organized. Most important, set a good example.