How to engage reluctant readers: in the classroom and at home (Part 2 of 2)

At-Home Supplemental Ideas

Welcome back!  Hopefully, you were able to read Part 1 of this two-parter on how to engage reluctant readers.  If you missed it, please click here to read it!


Role Model:


Finally, let kids see you read! Role model reading by actual reading, not talking about reading or only encouraging it. Many youth start feeling discouraged about reading because it is not considered trendy by their peers or those they respect; as a role model, you can shatter this myth by reading every day. It could be a magazine or newspaper during breakfast or keeping a paperback in your purse, let them see you read, that you enjoy it and that it’s a part of your life.


On this note, I want to share a story. My friend has twin girls in kindergarten, and was having trouble getting them engaged, so she asked one of them, “Sweetie, why don’t you like to read?” The girls basically responded in unison, “Why don’t you?” This really shocked my friend (who is an avid reader) and she thought about how she modeled reading to her girls. She realized, while she read in front of them every day, it was always on a tablet, kindle, or phone. Her girls didn’t know she was reading! After this she took an effort to read paper books from time to time.


My point is not to say eBooks are bad, but to point out that in early years of education physical things (especially books) make more of an impact to a child’s mind. Remember this as you read.


Overall, reluctant readers are everywhere and we can combat the reading slump they face by being great role models, individualizing reading material, and letting them choose.


So, as I begin the holiday season shopping, I think of my nieces and nephew. I think of their reading habits and interests and what would help them stay engaged in the wonderful world of books! They are all different. One loves mythology and everything Percy Jackson, but at the same time she reads Mark Twain in the car during summer vacation. Another can’t get enough of dinosaurs and sharks, but won’t read fiction. The littlest loves interactive books and audio story-telling. They are all different, and while they might not be reluctant readers at the moment, I know that it is a constant struggle to keep them engaged.


It is not whether someone is born a reluctant reader or not…it is all about the strategies we can employ at home and in the classroom to encourage kids to be a lifelong readers.


Happy Reading!

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