Tips for engaging reluctant readers 6



Everyone wants their children to grow up with a love of books.  I know that I did and I have one bookworm, but I also have one reluctant reader.  Maxi is a capable reader, but he has never connected with books for whatever reason and it isn’t for lack of trying on my part!  The fact is that reluctant readers are often boys, but the lack of interest in reading books isn’t just a boy thing. So how do you engage reluctant readers?  I have teamed up with DisneyLife to bring you some tips for engaging reluctant readers.

Tips for engaging reluctant readers

Research has shown that only just over 25% of children read for pleasure outside of a school environment.  Ouch – that is shocking to me, who always has a book on the go and constantly carried around books in my coat pocket as a child.  So as parents what can we do to help our children develop a love of reading?

First off, we need to figure out why our children don’t want to read books.  What is the root cause? If your child struggling with reading or is it just they are disengaged with reading?

Maxi is a competent reader who just hadn’t connected with reading.  However, after taking some of the steps below he is starting to really enjoy reading.

Tips for engaging reluctant readers

Tips for engaging reluctant readers

  • Model behaviour – If you don’t read in front of your kids, how can you insist that they read?  I am a big believer in behaviour breeding behaviour.  So set a good example.
  • Pair reading with play – get them to read the instructions for a new board game or the recipe from a cookery book. Instead of you doing the reading and taking control, let your children take the lead.
  • Be consistent with routines. Children thrive on routines, so have a set time for reading.
  • Change your view on reading – reading doesn’t have to mean a novel.  Comics, newspapers, graphic novels, cookbooks, audio books, instructions, fact books or even a gaming guide are great things for reluctant readers.
  • Be tech-friendly – Tablets and technology surround our kids, so use technology to your advantage. DisneyLife is filled with books and can be searched on age and ability.   As technology is second nature to my kids, I use iPads and Kindles to keep them engaged with their reading.
  • Read books that have been turned into movies –  Seeing a book come to life on screen is a fun way to motivate your child to read.  DisneyLife has a whole section of movie and TV storybooks perfect for a range of ages and abilities. Why not read the book before watching the movie on DisneyLife again?
  • Find material that excites your child – I know it sounds so obvious, but children connect more with characters that they like or find interesting. This is where DisneyLife comes into its own.  Maxi loves watching Phineas and Ferb, so it is great to work with that and show him the books that feature that character.  Plus you can download them, so kids do not have to be online, making it perfect for at home or in the car. Maxi is currently reading Star Wars Rebels and Mini Pirates of the Caribbean. You can find out your child’s favourite Disney Character and use that as a hook for them.
  • If they seem uninterested in reading, do not despair, try audiobooks.  We are big fans of audiobooks and use them a lot.  Often I find the boys listening to an audio book and following along with the text too. DisneyLife has both audiobooks and read along books.
  • Get them hooked into a series.  Once they have read one book, then introduce them to the other books in the series.
  • Read together. Even though my boys are 11 and 10, we still often read together.  I love connecting with them over a book and who says that bedtime stories have to stop at a certain age!

Tips for engaging reluctant readers

My biggest tip would really be don’t give up.  It is great to see both Maxi and Mini reading and it really does put a smile on my face and as soon as I stopped worrying about it, it happened on its own. But I did make sure that I provided lots of different materials and DisneyLife is a great tool to have in your arsenal and one I have found the boys using a lot.

Tips for engaging reluctant readers

Why not download the DisneyLife app (it is available on both IOS and Android) and start your free month.

Tips for engaging reluctant readers pin

I am a DisneyLife Brand Ambassador and this post was created in partnership with DisneyLife who have provided me with a free 12 month DisneyLife membership.

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6 thoughts on “Tips for engaging reluctant readers

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    Great that you didn’t give up – I always wanted my children to have a love of books too. Reading informs everything they will do – spelling, comprehension etc, so I always allowed my children to have those ‘kiddie mags’ at the newsagents with all the toys on front! I thought it would at least encourage them to read the stories and it worked! They both read books in bed now:-)

  • Ness

    I’ve always believed you shouldn’t be fussy about what children want to read as anything that interests them should be encouraged.

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    Aw great tips!

    I tend to let mine read what they want when they want and don’t have any set times – I so want them to read because they want to read and have my fingers crossed taht one day it’ll happen x x x

  • Anthea

    Some great tips. I’m a fan of reading books alongside audio books but I do think there are a lot of reluctant readers who are dyslexic and because of funding and poor teacher understanding they go mis-diagnosed.

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