As a homeschool mother to an Autistic son I know what it’s like to have a student who is a reluctant reader. We struggled for many years and so I worked hard on finding solutions. Here is what I discovered…
1) Read aloud! Find some fun books to read aloud and do this daily. It is a wonderful way to spend time as a family and will help your children fall in love with reading. We read books like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (nothing like the movie), Where the Red Fern Grows (that was a sad but good one), My Side of the Mountain, and lately we’ve been reading Ben Hur.
2) Get Audible or Overdrive. Have your child listen to audios of books. Some children just learn better this way and that’s okay! If they get distracted easily have them draw or work clay or play dough while they’re listening.
3) Start small and work up to more. When my son was young, I found an online service that I could print small essays that had to do with topics we were studying. I started with a small paragraph in large print and we worked our way up to two pages and so on.
4) Make sure your student gets phonics. A good phonics program will go a long ways to making sure your child is a successful reader.
5) Don’t push it! Contrary to popular belief, children learn differently and on their own time schedule. And lately the trend has been tremendous pressure for way too young. If you’re five year old is having a hard time reading, don’t sweat it. The stress is not worth it. I remember when my son was in Kindergarten and First Grade in a private Christian school the pressure was unreal. It was so bad that his bowels were impacted. That is just one example of what undue pressure can do to a child!
6) If you think there’s a problem, see a reading professional. I took my son to a reading specialist who helped him with processing speed. Playing games such as the card game “Speed” can also help.
7) Get your child a fun reader and small books that they can complete. I remember I bought my son a book about a Llama. This was the first book he ever read by himself. He read it over and over again and then I had to read it to him! But it was a huge confidence booster!
8) Let your child read books they’re interested in. That might mean more topical books with lots of pictures. That’s okay! Find out what they’re passionate in and let them enjoy those books!
These ideas are based on my 10 plus years of homeschooling my struggling learner son. The results? His first big book was Jurassic Park. He’s reading Lord of the Rings. And actually he reads constantly online on various subjects that he is interested in. When he was tested around age 11 he was reading at a college level. His phonics score was super advanced. I think indeed these ideas worked!
I hope that gives you some ideas on how to help your reluctant reader!
Want a reader that your student will love? We wrote and published this book on Fairy Tales. It’s specifically designed for the older student who reads at a lower grade level but presented in such a way that it doesn’t feel too juvenile which can make them feel embarrassed.