Raising a Reluctant Reader

The holidays are over and a new school term has started. Reading is critical for students to succeed in the classroom but what do you do when your child has no interest in books?  It can be difficult to motivate a reluctant reader, but there are several different strategies to try with your child:

Let them pick out their own books

The absolute worst thing you can do is bring a book home and tell your child to “go read this.” If reading seems like an assignment, it’s never going to inspire any kind of love for books. Let them choose their own reading materials, even if they pick something you aren’t keen on.

Redefine what you consider “reading.”

For a long time comic books/graphic novels were looked down upon as not real “reading.”  However, graphic novels can inspire a love of reading in a lot of ways that books cannot. A typical chapter book, thick with pages and pages of black text on white paper, can look daunting to someone that’s not used to reading. One look at Tom Sawyer can have a kid rolling their eyes thinking “booooring!”

A graphic novel, however, is exciting from page one. They are often printed on glossy paper with bright artwork on every page. The dialogue is broken down into smaller parts that are not as intimidating as lines and lines of text. A lot of popular books, from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to classic Shakespeare plays, have been redone in graphic novel format. One of the most successful examples of this is the Wings of Fire series. The books chronicle the quests of a young group of dragons, but the graphic novels really bring the story to life. We often have young readers who love the graphic novels so much that they are then inspired to go on to read the chapter books.

Look at non-fiction

Not every book has to have a beginning, middle and an end. We tend to think of reading in terms of storytelling. Non-fiction is a large section that is over looked by many – but reading is reading even if it doesn’t involve a plot line. The Guinness Book of World Records for example, is packed with incredible facts and knowledge. You don’t have to start at the beginning; you can open it at any page and start reading.

Connect with their interests

Our non-fiction section has a book for every interest. Got a hockey lover? We have biographies on Sidney Crosby. Obsessed with Minecraft? We have guides on enchantments and potions. Love Unicorns? We have books on myths and lore.

Try novelizations

What if your child is only interested in movies? No problem. We have novelizations of popular movies – Star Wars, Frozen, Wonder Woman and more. Novelizations can also be a good choice for children who struggle with reading comprehension. It is much easier to tackle a book when you already know the basic plot outline.

Lead by example

The most important thing you can do to inspire your child to read is to be an avid reader yourself. A child is much more likely pick up a book if they see their parent or caregiver reading on a regular basis.

Here at WPL we are happy to help children fall in love with books. Stop by our Information Desks and ask about our book recommendations and reading tips.

— Lesley L.