Children who struggle to read might avoid reading. Some might even hate to read. Parents might feel like they have to fight with their children to get them to open a book and read their nightly minutes. While most children are assigned reading minutes each week for homework (parents might even need to sign a binder affirming their child has read), the feeling that books are homework could add to the lack of literary appeal.
Reading doesn’t have to be a fight, a battle or an argument. And those books can even be fun! Stop stressing, parents! Here are 50 ideas for making reading fun for struggling readers! Try some, try them all…and stick with what works for your child!
- Stop the clock. Instead read with kids. Alternate pages with children. But parents can peek at the clock to ensure that kids hit about half an hour. The difference is that kids can’t know that the reading is being timed.
- Read a book of funny poetry. All books count.
- Build a reading fort. An easy way to do this is by placing two chairs with the backs facing inward (towards each other). Then drape a blanket over the chairs.
- Adopt a reading friend. Maybe this is a new stuffed animal. Or a favorite stuffed animal or toy. Let children read to their friends.
- Read to a pet. Or sign children up to read to the pets at a local animal shelter (some offer this type of program).
- Cook a recipe for a food from the book.
- Or serve up a reading-centric snack. Check out these tasty ideas from Reading Rewards.
- Listen to a book on tape while reading.
- Watch the movie after reading the book. Some books were transformed into movies. Check out the site Imagination Soup to find out if a child’s favorite book has a movie version.
- Make a special bookmark to use when reading. This can even include ‘wh’ questions to think about while reading.
- Or buy a bookmark to use while reading! Bookstores offer many cool bookmarks. Let the child pick their special bookmark.
- Younger children can visit the library for storytime to hear books read aloud.
- Sign a child up for a library card. This is a childhood rite of passage!
- Let children choose their books from the library.
- For birthdays, take children to a bookstore to pick out a special new book.
- On a budget? Head to a thrift store to let children pick out a new book. Thrift stores often have a great selection of used books…at really cheap prices!
- Make a reading craft after finishing a book. This can be a shoebox diorama or even Popsicle stick puppets.
- Encourage children to write their own book or story. Bind the book with staples. And don’t forget to let them make their own colorful cover.
- Visit the school’s book fair for new books.
- Let children write a letter to their favorite author. Many send replies!
- Inquire about fun reading events or clubs at the school. Some might participate in reading programs that let children earn prizes or even a free kid’s meal at restaurants.
- Sign up for the summer reading club at the library. Some offer prizes and/or reading club activities.
- Download reading apps that are also games. Let children play and read.
- At home, let children see parents reading.
- Read together as a family. Turn off all devices and schedule a family reading time.
- Or start a family book club. Everyone reads the same book!
- Create ‘reading rewards’ at home. Every time a child finishes a certain number of books, they earn a prize. Parents also could reward children with coupons that they can turn in for certain privileges.
- Praise children for trying when they read aloud…even when they make mistakes.
- Be mindful of a child’s reading level; sometimes if children read books that are too hard, it might be more of a struggle…and less fun.
- For books that are beyond a child’s level, parents can read aloud to them.
- Have a child make a list of their hobbies and anything they enjoy…and use the list to help them find books at the library or at stores.
- Encourage children to make a disinterested list, too. Have them include books they didn’t like and why. Talk about it.
- Take a reading field trip. Visit places from or linked to the story or the book.
- Help them understand reading strategies that can help them as they read. Strategies can include re-reading text or chunking text to make it easier to comprehend.
- During the holidays, read some favorite holiday stories. Make it a yearly tradition.
- Let children read comic books.
- Graphic novels count, too!
- When reading to younger children, make the stories come alive with fun voices and action!
- Parents might even encourage children to act out the story.
- Use e-book readers and download books onto devices (some children might prefer reading on screen).
- Make a reading comprehension ball with a beach ball. In each section write a question or prompt related to the plot (keep it basic). Toss the ball back and forth with children. Encourage them to answer the question that lands face up.
- For children who love art, encourage them to draw a scene from the book. Then ask them about it.
- Give children a reading break. Have they read for the week? Give them a day off.
- Create a family recommendations list. Have each family member write their list of favorite books (keep them age appropriate). Each individual can choose a book from someone else’s list. Make this a monthly tradition.
- Set family reading goals. Maybe children really want to read five books each month. Create fun reading challenges and goals for the family. Then decide what the reward will be…maybe a dinner out as a family, a trip, a movie, etc.
- Create a family reading space. Instead of just one small space for each child, build a cool reading space for the family. This can mean bringing out all the pillows and blankets. Then hang out and read together.
- Start a reading routine. Is there a time when reading regularly happens? If not…make that time. And make that time something special.
- Try to be there for a child during reading time…in case they need help. Make sure they understand that they have support.
- Mix in wordless books. Yes, there are books with only pictures. Now let the child tell the story!
- Finally…parents…stop NAGGING! Sometimes children hate reading because parents turn it into a chore. Be positive!
Using Reading Apps to Help Struggling Readers
Reading apps like Readability also can help children find the fun in reading. When children struggle, they may view reading negatively. Programs that can help them build confidence and proficiency might also help them understand that reading can be fun…and entertaining.
Reading apps offer different structures and might provide different types of stories and lessons. Readability, for example, can help children who struggle with both proficiency and comprehension. The program features a built-in AI tutor that serves as the instructor for lessons.
With Readability, children read aloud and the tutor learns to recognize the child’s voice. When a child stumbles on a word, the AI tutor will help them correct their mistake. At the end of each story, children will be asked questions by the AI tutor. These questions are focused on a child’s comprehension of the story. A child can only advance to a more difficult reading level if they demonstrate proficiency at their current level.
When parents sign their child up for Readability, they can set their child’s reading level so that lessons are the perfect fit. The program also can help parents determine their child’s reading level, too.
Reading should be fun, even when a child is using a program for enrichment or to help ease their reading struggles. Readability offers colorful illustrations and interactive features to keep children engaged in each book or story.
For parents, program efficacy is important. When a child is struggling in any subject, parents want to know that the resources their child is using provides a benefit. Readability provides parents with their own resource within the program; the Parent Dashboard displays all the reading data associated with their child. On the Parent Dashboard, parents can see how long their child used Readability, how many words they are currently reading per minute, their child’s current reading level and more.
For families that have multiple children who are struggling with reading, parents can use one Readability subscription for up to three children. That means that one price per month can cover three readers. And parents can see data for each child.
Parents can try Readability for free for seven days to better understand the program’s features and to let children explore the stories. Ready to try Readability? Sign up for a free trial today!