How can I help a reluctant reader to learn how to read?

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  1. leahlefler profile image95
    leahleflerposted 12 years ago

    How can I help a reluctant reader to learn how to read?

    My son is six years old and an emerging reader, but HATES practicing his sight words and doing reading homework. What are some unique, fun ideas to help him gain enthusiasm for reading?

  2. jenntyl99 profile image75
    jenntyl99posted 12 years ago


    What kinds of things does your son like?  Is he interested in certain topics, comic books, joke books and even colring books with words?  If so, you can use this to stimulate his interest and reading and then add more books as he become interested.  Even though some students do not like to read, there is always one way to develop this love for reading.  Pick books that are interesting (books with cartoon characters, super heroes, etc).  If he likes sports then use books based on this concept.  My son was the same way and it was always a struggle to get him to read but once we offered him books on topic that interested him he was sold on reading.  As an 8th grader now he actually reads more than his older sister (who loved reading when she was young).  I hope this helps!

  3. D Shannahan profile image64
    D Shannahanposted 12 years ago

    Start reading the Harry Potter series to him from the beginning, soon he'll be to into it you wont be able to get him to stop reading!  My parents did that for me back in the day, it worked beautifully.

  4. Buttercupbb profile image60
    Buttercupbbposted 12 years ago

    First figure out what his interests are, and find beginning reading books in those subjects.  You can start by reading to him, then offer to read just every other page (with your son reading to you evey other page).  This sort of makes it like a game.  Eventually he'll be so comfortable with reading that he'll read entire books on his own.

    Another method you can use is interactive writing.  Have your child come up with a story and tell it to you, and you write it down.  It can start off with something like, "Once upon a time there live a _________. One day this __________ went out in to the woods and got lost, and then a ________ rescued him and everyone lived happily ever after."  The point is to get your son to see the purpose of words and feel personally involved in them.  If your son likes this activity, you can gradually encourage him to write stories on his own, with you offering to check his spelling.

  5. ljrc1961 profile image74
    ljrc1961posted 12 years ago

    I love your question!  I am a teacher of children who struggle academically in all areas; many having learning disabilities or cognitive impairments as well.  I will tell you in one word how to excite your son into learning:  games!  I create tons of centers for my classroom in the form of games for reading, spelling, math and language arts.  My students achieve learning that others thought they weren't capable of.  Learning is fun and not rote or methodical.  Spelling or sight word practice can be done different ways.  Fill a cookie sheet with flour and have him write his sight words in the flour.  Shake and repeat.  Tap out the words on your arm by tapping for each letter and then brushing your hand down your arm to repeat the finished word.  Use magnetic letters on the fridge to spell them.  Make cookie dough and "write" words with the dough and then bake for a treat.  Bounce a ball back and forth and say the words.  Take his picture and make it into a book mark so he can "watch" himself as he is reading.  Put sight words on playing cards and play go fish to find the pair.  Use dice and roll one.  How ever many dots come up, he needs to find a sight word with that many letters.  Make up silly sentences with the sight words.  Make a little book and find pictures in a magazine that can be used for sentences using that word.  For reading, take turns reading the pages.  Do an art project about his text.  Try baseline assessment and mark how many mistakes he makes, go over it with him and have him try to beat his score on the second read.  Kids love to see their improvement.  These are just a few ways to get his fire going.  Good luck!

    1. ljrc1961 profile image74
      ljrc1961posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      thanks for choosing my answer as best!  Hope it helped!

  6. Faceless39 profile image94
    Faceless39posted 12 years ago

    READ TO HIM EVERY NIGHT.  Interesting, fantastic, and classic stories.  If that doesn't interest him in reading, nothing will.

  7. Levertis Steele profile image74
    Levertis Steeleposted 12 years ago

    First, conduct an interest inventory to discover what the person likes. Borrow from a library or buy books on the subjects of interest. Read some of the texts to the individual with great emphasis in order to excite interest. Share quick summaries of books you have read. Do not tell the story; just say enough about the book to arouse great interest. Next, challenge the individual to read a certain number of pages a day. Do not assign more than the person can accomplish. Thirdly, listen to the person read aloud after you have given him/her a chance to pre-read. If he is not a good reader, you do not want to embarrass him, or you may lose him. Last, if he has reading difficulties, plan for appropriate intervention. A tuttor could help. Talk with his teacher or another professional.

  8. Tams R profile image83
    Tams Rposted 12 years ago

    When my son was in kindergarten and 1st grade we had lots of difficulty getting him to read. I decided to tell him I would read the book first and then he would read the book. After we both read the book we would ask each other questions. I always let him ask first and I would get the answer wrong on purpose. If he didn't seem to notice then I would say, "or maybe it was.......".
    The point was he liked to prove he was smarter than me, so he would go find the answers. It seemed he read more intently and retained more in the hopes of beating me.
    That worked great until he started reading much larger books and I had no interest in them. By then he had learned basic reading skills. Thank goodness!

  9. cloverleaffarm profile image76
    cloverleaffarmposted 12 years ago

    Read adventure stories, or something that he is interested in. My son is an avid reader, because I read to him every night...even if it was the same book over and over.
    Find, or make up games that will encourage him to read. Have him create a game on his own. You can help with spelling.
    Have him write words in the dirt, or use chalk on a driveway. You could buy a blackboard or make one too.
    Encourage him, but make it fun!

    PS. My granddaughter is 2, and can't get enough of books. She loves to read!

  10. profile image58
    YepOkposted 12 years ago

    Simple things can be done to help stimulate reading (without the child even realising), such as, placing name labels on items around the house (window, door, toilet, bedroom) or use signs that have simple wording (please wash hands).

    These can be scattered around the house and the child will then begin to recognise the words when away from home.

    You can also incorporate games and extend on these words with additional word cards (eg. 'the window is open').

    If the child is a little older and can read however chooses not to, you may wish to look at other mediums (computer games with a reading aspect, board games, non fiction books with topics that the child enjoys)

  11. Erica K Wisner profile image67
    Erica K Wisnerposted 12 years ago

    Reading books together as a fun, relaxing activity is one of the biggest proven factors in early reading ability.  Do you read for fun?  Is this something that your child would see and want to emulate, just like wearing Daddy's hat or playing with cell phones and tools? 
    The teacher's games and alphabet cookie ideas are spot on.  Make the activity its own reward: reading is not something you do for other people, its something other people help you learn because it opens up so many cool things you can do on your own.  Imagine sending your name on a rocket to the moon, or writing letters on the beach as a message to God. 
    If either of you gets frustrated, take a short break.  Come back to it soon with a full belly, empty bladder, and fresh patience.  Treat homework as a natural part of life.  It keeps happening, so find the fun: just like taking a bath with toys and warm water, or making dinner with a smile.  Try to quit on a good note, and remember that's just right for next time. 
    A 6-year-old has plenty of time to learn to read.  Maintaining the desire / curiosity, and cheerful discipline, is the best help you can be.  Think "Mary Poppins" not "Mommy Dearest." 

    We knew a homeschooling kid whose parents never made them do anything until they were interested.  Their oldest was a little willful, and didn't try to learn reading until she was past 10 years old - I think she was 11 or 12 when they moved across country, and she couldn't email her friends like her little sister was doing.  Her new friends were not super impressed that she couldn't read, either, and peer pressure plus a can-do attitude from home life got her started in a big way.  By age 13 she had taught herself to read, and started a monthly newsletter for her friends in distant states.  She keeps that newsletter going, it's been 3 years now.
    Now at age 16, she's attending college courses.

    All it takes is wanting to learn, and knowing that everything gets better with practice.  So keep things fun, read great books aloud, play games, and check in from time to time in case there are other things going on at school that might be hurting the intrinsic desire and curiosity.  Kids can be mean, and not all teachers are as experienced or creative as the ones who have responded here.

  12. lawdoctorlee profile image83
    lawdoctorleeposted 12 years ago

    This is a great question that comes up often.  I raised three children (all with very different personalities) so I had to come up with a lot of different ideas.  What worked with one child didn't always work with the other.  I recently wrote a Hub on this issue entitled "Top 10 Ways to Encourage Children to Read."  You can find it at: … en-to-Read

  13. thoughtwoman profile image60
    thoughtwomanposted 12 years ago

    Find books on subjects that he gets excited about. Find flashcards and games on subjects he gets excited about. Take him to see those same things he gets excited about--movies, museums, exhibits, t.v. shows. Figure out a way to involve him in the learning process and it will seem less of a chore.

  14. veggie-mom profile image69
    veggie-momposted 12 years ago

    Let him pick out some new books that he is interested in reading either at the bookstore or the library. Both my boys really enjoyed reading the Captain Underpants series when they started reading on their own. It's full of silly, boy humor that kept them entertained and motivated to read more!

  15. pstraubie48 profile image81
    pstraubie48posted 12 years ago

    show them the magic of reading....i taught struggling readers for about half of my forty years...
    one of the ways they overcame the fear of not being able to read was to hear stories read aloud...and then they would want to go get the same book i was reading so they could follow along...
    immerse them in reading...immerse them in words....
    words are everywhere...point that out and tell them that is reading....
    encourage them to read cereal boxes, comic books and the like..remind them that using games on xbox and on line require at least some reading...make it important to them without being pushy...

    capitalize on their interests...find books and magazines on those topics
    take them to the public library to discover all that is offered there.....

  16. MojoDawg profile image59
    MojoDawgposted 12 years ago

    I was fascinated with words when I was a child and I wanted to learn the meaning of every word, you might make a game of word meanings to help peak his curiosity and  start a fire inside of him for's contagious
    Happy reading and blessings on your parenting....

  17. webclinician profile image60
    webclinicianposted 12 years ago

    I can only speak on what I've done to help my son read.
    I bought him dvd's, leap frog sight words.
    I read him books.
    I play with cards.
    Most of all, I'm with him and we watch and do things together. I enjoy it and I made sure he knows how I am feeling.
    It's a long process. I started doing it when he was 1 years old, he knew how to spell 4 words by time he was 18 months. Now he is 5 and he is reading books for 8 years old.
    No need to push them. Just play with them.

  18. RAHAR profile image77
    RAHARposted 9 years ago

    There are some people who like reading as a habit, and there are some people who only read because sadly it is compulsory for them. If reading is a habit you’d like to get a reluctant person into, there are a number of ways to cultivate and enhance it:

    1. Gift them a book.
    2. Get them to join a book club.
    3. Send them interesting articles, something of their choice.
    4. Don't put too much pressure on them.
    5.Help them find a quiet place or a library.
    6. Show them the benefits of reading, tell personal incidents how being a well read person saved you at times.
    7. Tell them that all intelligent people read books.
    8. Tell them not to worry even if their speed is slow as it would improve with time.
    9.Advice them to reduce time on televsion/movies.
    10.Praise them and motivate them intermittently.
    11. Don't lose hope.


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