Every elementary teacher knows that some students are more reluctant to read than others. In a perfect world, each and every child at school would dive into books with unbridled enthusiasm. In the real world, however, this isn’t quite the case. So what can teachers do to encourage those reluctant readers in our lives? Here are 5 tips to engage even the most challenging students.
1. Offer Choice
Often, allowing students to choose what books they read, or at least have an option between a few choices, will give the student a sense of empowerment and encourage them to read. Elementary students have a variety of likes, so play off individual interests when giving kids choice.
2. Allow Rereading
Sometimes students are reluctant to read because they lack the skill to read books with ease. Allowing rereading can boost confidence levels as students gain familiarity with the text. Teachers can then leverage the familiarity with the student’s favorite books in order to suggest other similar books for the student to read.
3. Try Graphic Novels
Graphic novels are illustrated books and are becoming increasingly popular with kids and adults. Many times the pictures in a graphic novel will be similar to comic books and can spur student interest immediately. This approach is also great for English language learners or struggling readers because graphic novels provide more contextual clues due to the illustrations.
4. Use the Buddy System
If your reluctant reader has a friend who enjoys reading, try pairing them together to team read a book. Having them discuss what they are reading can also help because it build dialogue around literature between the friends.
5. Celebrate and Share Reading
As a class, celebrating and sharing books will help every student, even reluctant readers, be excited about reading. Literacy circles, where students share what they have read, are a great option. Even better, BookAround allows students to create video book recommendations and share them throughout the class. The library of recommendations created not only helps students share and celebrate their reading, but helps students identify new books to read.