Five Easy Ways to Encourage a Reluctant Reader to Read

I had a super reluctant reader. It was kind of devastating to watch her struggle with learning to read because reading and writing are my favourite things and it’s also how I make a living.

But, my one girl did not do well. Her processing speed is slower due to a few things such as FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) and ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and so she struggled decoding language and making it work. She has several diagnoses and school can be harder for her than it is for some other kids.

So instead of literally and figuratively beating our heads against the wall trying to teach her, we came up with creative solutions to supporting a reluctant reader. There’s a saying in the FASD world which is: working differently rather than harder. So, what did different look like?

For us, it looked like adapting her environment and pulling in some helpers. So, here’s what we did to draw our reluctant reader into the world of words, reading and writing.

Five Ways to Nurture A Love of Books in a Reluctant Reader

Leave A Variety of Books All Over the House

When the kids were small I had a bottom drawer in the washroom upstairs that was full of books. Weird, right? Anna Quindlen wrote something about this once and it changed the way I looked at books and reading. Just scatter those things everywhere and they will pick them up and read on their own time when they feel like it. That meant my kids often stayed in the washroom way longer than we thought they should, but they read in there, so who cares? Small trade off to get a reluctant reader interested.

READ Out Loud

My daughter would not sit still or could not sit still, so I read out loud often. I enjoyed those times, although sometimes I was dead exhausted. But, late at night I sat in the hallway between the two rooms and read out loud from a novel, or kid’s book. We did Life of Pi like this when they were in grade school, because I love that story and also the quality of writing is amazing. They would often fall asleep as I was reading out loud to them.

Enlist Helpers

We did Books for Babies and Tales for Tots at our local libraries, so it wasn’t just me that they heard. My resultant reader enjoyed visiting the library and guess what? She is a 15-year-old who often asks to get a ride to the library still. I rarely say no to that. The library has great programs for this and also one time we found a St. Johns Ambulance therapy dog program where reluctant readers read to therapy dogs. This worked better than I could ever explain to you! The dog didn’t care if she stumbled on a word and she simply sat there trying to read out loud while petting the dog. It was so special.

Audio Books

Change it up a bit. If you are tired of reading to them and getting them to listen, get an audio book and play it in the car or on a trip or at home. Doesn’t matter how the information and the knowledge gets there as long as it does eventually. Also, this genuinely takes the pressure off of both you and your reluctant reader.

Many small drives were spent listening to Geronimo Stilton and other great series.

Printables and Creative Tie Ins

Make reading fun with printable word searches relating to the book, a matching game or a crossword. Or perhaps you can use this book review guide above for kids.

To get this printable click on the images above and print them, or grab it from my Pinterest Board for Free Printables. Have fun!

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.