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Ideas and Strategies


Reluctant Readers

Children can be reluctant to read for many reasons.  These reasons can be varied, but are usually linked to a lack of self-confidence to attempt to read as well as have an understanding of the relevance of reading - "What is in it for them?"


Some ideas to help a reluctant reader:

  • Find a quiet place, special relaxing time to read together daily, even if it is in the bath!
  • Find the topic/anima/country or whatever that fires the child's imagination and interests.  Then do as much research as you can to find as much reading material on the topic as possible.
  • Continually use the phrase "Have a go!" and praise the attempt, right or wrong.
  • Read to them as much and as often as possible, from all kinds of materials.
  • If they mis-read a word in a sentence but it still makes sense, do not correct them.
  • If a 'difficult' word appears, read it to them.  It is much more important that they maintain comprehension and fluency.
  • Explain the story line and main characters of a book before reading.  This helps with new and unfamiliar words.
  • Encourage guessing from the picture clues in the book.
  • If necessary skip a word and see if they can work it out from the context of the rest of the sentence.
  • If your child does not want to read or becomes tired - STOP!
  • Research and find as many books relevant to their ages group to fill your home with as  you can.
  • Be a reading role model.
  • Let them choose a magazine subscription as a Christmas/birthday gift.
    • Give them books as special gifts for special occasions.
    • Devote time and energy to library and book shop visits. Let them choose from a selection, guided by you and/or a librarian.
    • User a timer, if necessary.
    • Remember, reading is all around us - magazines, recipes, signs, joke books, comics and websites are all reading!
    • Write spells like Harry Potter.
    • Read signs on the way home, in the train/bus, even if it is only the first letter.
    • Do not let them see that you are concerned!

Some Useful Websites:


BBC for Schools website with stories for Reception, Years 1, 2 and 3.



 BBC for Schools website with interactive adventure stories.



BBC Radio for Schools site about poetry and rhymes for Years 4-6.


Updated: Saturday, 6th June 2009

for Mel Glover, former SENCO at BST 

British School in Tokyo