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Cultivating a Love for Reading: Evidence-Based Strategies for Parents of Reluctant Readers

It’s back-to-school time, which may mean daily reading logs reading logs and AR tests, as homework. But what do you do if you have a reluctant reader?

Not all children take to books with the same enthusiasm. If you're a parent grappling with a reluctant reader, fear not – there are effective strategies you can employ to ignite their interest and turn reading into a daily habit.

Here are some tips to make the most of your reluctant reader’s daily task.

  • Tap into Technology

Find an audiobook your child would enjoy on their favorite topic- think dinosaurs, superheroes, or princesses—and listen to it together so they can engage with literature in a stress-free way. Audiobooks are beneficial for exposing emerging readers to vocabulary and language patterns, developing their listening and comprehension skills, and modeling fluent reading.

  • Read Aloud Together

Reading aloud to your child exposes them to new vocabulary and storytelling techniques and creates a bonding experience between the two of you. Choose books that are slightly below their current reading level and have them practice reading certain decodable words. Have them follow along and let them when it’s their time to sound out a word. If they are reading beginning books, consider covering the pictures. Once every word on the page is read, let them uncover the picture for a fun reveal. This will encourage them to look at the letters and remember their letters and sounds to read the page. Simple text can then be reread by the parent to ensure comprehension. Be sure to ask them questions.

  • Take Turns Reading

Gradually transition from solely reading to your child and having them read a few words to taking turns reading sentences, paragraphs, or pages, depending on where they are with their skillset. This builds their confidence and allows them to participate in the reading process actively. It's a great way to ease them into independent reading gradually.

  • Attempt & Correct

Establish a three-second rule; after your child attempts sounding out a word— give them the word-- and ask them to repeat it. You can model sounding the word out by pointing to the letters. Your goal is to establish a cycle of healthy practice, praise for the attempt, and encouragement for continued progress.

  • Make Reading a Ritual

Consistency is vital when it comes to cultivating a reading habit. Designate a specific time for reading each day when your child is enthusiastic – it could be before school, bedtime, or during some downtime in the afternoon. Start with 10 minutes every day— and then gradually add one minute each week.

  • Record Progress

Take care of the documentation and paperwork for your child. Don’t add a layer of complexity to the task by having them do another thing that may frustrate them.

Transforming daily reading tasks into engaging habits requires patience, creativity, and a genuine understanding of your child's needs. By incorporating technology, reading aloud, sharing the reading process, and maintaining a positive outlook, you can help your reluctant reader develop a stronger connection with books. Remember that fostering a love for reading is a gradual journey. By offering encouragement and celebrating their progress, you're setting the stage for your child to develop a lifelong skill of reading.


Need more help? Designed to Learn is dedicated to helping students in Wichita and the surrounding communities overcome their learning challenges to become confident and successful readers. Schedule a free 15-minute Consult to learn more.

Have you ever looked at other children's work and asked yourself, "Why can't my kid do that?" If they are struggling with reading, writing, or spelling, what do you do? Download our free guide will help you understand what you may be seeing so you have the confidence to better support your child.

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