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Five Tips to Encourage Reluctant Readers

By Bianca Smith • April 12, 2018

You badger, you cajole, you consider bribes, but you just can't get them to read. No matter what you do, they'll avoid it. You have a reluctant reader.

However, all is not lost. Some reluctant readers grow into voracious readers. And we know that reading helps your adult life, including increasing your income. But how do you encourage reluctant readers? We have some tips for you.

Don't Force It

As much as you want your child/younger sibling/best friend/partner to love reading as much as you do, forcing them won't change anything. It may even make them rebel against reading. Be aware that they may never become an avid reader. If that's the case, find other ways to share stories. It could be movie and television adaptations.

Find Books They Enjoy

This sounds a lot harder than it actually is. Yes, you can buy every book in sight and see if they read it, but that gets expensive fast. Instead, plan a trip to the library and let them wander around. If getting to the library is difficult, borrow books and leave them in the home. If they don't like action, try something with animals next time.

Read Aloud with Them

Many children (and adults) find the act of reading difficult. Listening to the stories gives the love of adventure and storytelling, without the stress of understanding the letters. It may be the stepping stone to reading, but even if it's not, they'll discover the stories and isn't that the most important thing?

Set an Example

If you're reading this blog, then we assume you don't need this reminder. You probably read around reluctant readers all the time. But at the least, adults shouldn't say that reading is impossibly hard or boring in front of the reluctant reader. Anything new is hard, and we want them to see the effort is worth the reward.

Try Graphic Novels

Comic books have grown up since the days of Richie Rich and Archie. It's not uncommon for popular books to be re-released in Graphic Novel format. They may not have the deep language beauty of the classics, but isn't it better to read in some format rather than none at all? Some Graphic Novels are action stories and violent, so check for age and behavioral appropriateness. Here are some recommended for children, but you know your kid and can make that judgment call.

Recommended books for reluctant readers

And to finish, here's a recommended reading list from the Young Adult Library Services Association for older readers.

Read more by Bianca Smith

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