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Anyone turned a reluctant reader around?

(57 Posts)
longestlurkerever Fri 05-Feb-16 20:12:57

Dd1 is in reception. She's an August birthday. Her teachers say she's very capable and intelligent but she's so reluctant to practise anything and my patience is frayed.

We're supposed to do 15 mins reading practice a day but also wait till they want to. Well, she never wants to and when I make/encourage /force it's such a battle that neither of us enjoy. For example, tonight, we were reading a book that she has read before (by sounding out/blending) but she was just refusing to engage - getting the letters wrong etc (she's known her letters since 2yo). Her teacher suggested a reward chart but we've got so many of those on the go now it's getting ridiculous and anyway shouldn't reading be a pleasure rather than a task to be rewarded for?

I was a bookworm as a child and a people pleaser to boot - every teacher's dream. How did I produce such a reluctant student and is there any hope that she'll grow to love reading?

daisydalrymple Fri 05-Feb-16 20:26:17

Another bookworm here, with a degree in librarianship to boot grin never occurred to me my dcs would not immediately share my passion for books!

Ds1 was a reluctant reader too, but now in year 4, absolutely loves reading. I used to try and get him to help with little shopping lists, buy magazines and read them with him, get him reading little bits here and there, labels / signs in supermarket / out and about etc. Also borrowed some books from the higher classes so he could see what was coming as he really didn't like some of the books (I found some quite ridiculous too and did agree with him grin).

I would give him choices - shall we have biscuits and milk or Apple after reading today, shall we go to the park or in the garden etc.

Also his teacher was pretty good and was flexible with what we could achieve, which did help. His next teacher had three boys and said they'd all been totally different in approach, one loved reading from the start, another didn't 'get it' till 7/8. She'll probably get there in her own time, stressful as it can be! Sounds like you're doing as much as you can, but I feel your pain.

irvine101 Fri 05-Feb-16 20:26:44

Do you still read a lot yourself? My ds was keen reader from very young age, and I think it's because I was reading all the time. Even when he couldn't possibly read, he held books as if he was reading. Little children want to copy you, so if you read, she may want to read as well?

screamingeels Fri 05-Feb-16 20:26:54

Personally I wouldn't worry about in reception. I've had diffirent experiences with my two. DD has dyslexia type reading difficulties - so I had a lot of tears frustration etc all through YR and Y1. Really until she had enough phonics knowledge under her belt to get through yellow level books everything just confused her.
DS has no difficulties but was generally reluctant to read in YR. However I had dozens of phonic games from trying to help DD and he loved those - matching words and picture type things so I just did those and got him to read odd words in books. (He's now a very keen reader in Y1)
Actually the best thing you can do to support reading is read TO them. That's the thing I'd make sure you do every day.

daisydalrymple Fri 05-Feb-16 20:29:55

Ps I think what turned a corner for DS was when he started reading in his head rather than out loud. He's still a bit stilted now if he has to read out loud, but devours books that he's interested in. Could you perhaps suggest she read a line in her head then you talk about it? So she's not reading out loud but you get to check she understood it? And maybe at the end do a spot check on tricky words, point to a few that she then tells you?

StompyFreckles Fri 05-Feb-16 20:48:26

She's only in reception - I wouldn't be worrying about this at all. Ds was a very reluctant reader until he discovered Diary of a wimpy kid in y3 - he would only really read for 15 minutes at that point. Now he's in y4 and loving reading -he'll read for up to an hour s night now. Dc3 is in reception and we don't manage to read together every day.

catkind Fri 05-Feb-16 23:23:24

Is she still at a stage where a whole book full of words is a bit overwhelming? Or even if it's more just not wanting to, I'm wondering if playing some phonics/blending games or writing each other little notes or something might be just as useful and more fun for her. DS used to like putting fridge magnets together to make nonsense words, or word flashcards to make nonsense sentences, but perhaps that's just his strange sense of humour... And whatever we did had to be taking turns, he'd set me a challenge then I'd set him one. Which was ideal because then I could model blending for him.
Online games are great too. We loved teach your monster to read and alphablocks if yr not already familiar with them.
Complete bookworm now. Reading a book is much more fun when you are thinking about the story rather than about c-a-t, I think there is a hump to get over at the start and there is more than one way about it.

StrumpersPlunkett Fri 05-Feb-16 23:28:10

We had great success when we stopped looking at books with words and just did picture books.
We had become fixated that books were about reading and not about enjoying a story,
We used books like "you choose" to make up our own stories based on the pictures.
Then when we did reading I asked him to hunt for one word and point to it whilst I read the story, Cvc words mostly.

Reception is not a time to panic about reading but nurturing a love of the idea of books and stories will go a long way.

StrumpersPlunkett Fri 05-Feb-16 23:29:39

Just to add my v reluctant reader is now loving books aged 12.

IsItMeOr Fri 05-Feb-16 23:34:30

DS was slow to get started in reception. We didn't push it too much. What seemed to get him going was a big set of Project X alien adventures books, which were a serialised story that gradually got harder.

He loves reading now (y2). Try not to worry and try to focus on helping her to love books. We still read to DS every day at bedtime, and it is very obvious that he is reading along in his head as he corrects me if I get a word wrong!

IsItMeOr Fri 05-Feb-16 23:36:00

PS I was also a reluctant reader. My mum bribed me, as I wanted a lamp in my bedroom and made the mistake of saying I needed it to read in bed - so she agreed to buy it for me once I'd completed the Ladybird reading books. I think I whizzed through them in a matter of days...!

Soooosie Fri 05-Feb-16 23:38:21

Why have you been teaching her to read since 2? Was she always uninterested.

I suggest giving her a break from the pressure for a month. However take her to the library and get her to choose interesting books for you to read to her. You need to spark an interest. Get her hooked. Biff and chip might not do this

Soooosie Fri 05-Feb-16 23:39:16

What sort of thing does she like listening to?

Pobspits Fri 05-Feb-16 23:43:24

Take a step back and just leave her be for a few months - she's just a baby really. Kids learn most through play and if they feel pressured and stressed it'll have a negative effect.

Ds hated reading until about age 7 - he'd just turned 9 now and absolutely LOVES reading.

I'm always surprised at teachers who tell parents their kids are very intelligent etc - nobody I know has ever had them said it to them about their kids and nor have I. Maybe we're all a bit average!

intothebreach Fri 05-Feb-16 23:50:35

Ds1 is a reluctant reader. He refuses to open a book at all. He can read rather well, and will happily read anything that really interests him (e.g. text on a screen, instructions for minecraft, rules for a board game). I've decided to take an "ah well" approach - he will no doubt read when he is ready. I think that if I push the whole books thing, I will end up making the whole problem worse.

Our kids are unlikely to see books the same way we do. They are growing up in an age when screens are more important.

As long as ds1 can read, I'm not concerned about him turning pages in the old book format. I wish he was more interested in narrative and stories, but maybe that will come in time.

Weirdly, ds2 loves books and imaginative stories, although I have pushed it far less with him.

They're all different smile

The school book bag, while important, is not really the shibboleth it seems to have become. Children learn in different ways and at different times.

TheSunnySide Fri 05-Feb-16 23:50:48

Posts like see worry me. My son is five, in reception and can't read a word.

Should I be worried? The school aren't sending him home with any reading books, just books that he chooses himself

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 06-Feb-16 03:32:20

Another bookworm here, who was shocked when their firstborn didn't share the love of reading grin

For us, the answer was gentle encouragement and LOTS of patience! He had a peak of interest late in yr 4, thanks to an encouraging and lovely TA who led additional supported reading groups. Then nothing much until yr 7 and now he loves it, spends hours a week reading, and shows that lovely genuine excitement when immersed in a good book. Don't force the issue, certainly not in reception. Read to her a lot instead and be seen reading for pleasure to encourage mimicking.

nooka Sat 06-Feb-16 04:48:32

My ds hated reading for the first couple of years of school. He'd get so upset at the idea that we didn't do it at all because it was too painful (for dh and me too!) Instead we just went on reading to him (and his sister) and we also got lots of audio books for him to listen to. It wasn't until he got his dyslexia diagnosis and some specialist tutoring that he really learned to read (in Yr2), and once he started he certainly caught up.

I'd really not worry too much at four or five.

lavendersun Sat 06-Feb-16 06:18:52

DD was the same, summer born, not remotely interested.

I didn't worry until half way through Yr 1 I subscribed to this. It was absolutely brilliant for her and within a couple of months she was reading and waiting for the next envelope to arrive. She would read them all the day they arrived (3 books), sometimes we got them back in the post the same day and had 3 more books two days later.

She still reads voraciously and was off the primary scale, whatever that means, by the time they tested her reading at the start of Yr4.

She was an absolute refuser though to begin with, but they are so little and ime the books they had at school were not as fun/colourful/engaging as the choices at Reading Chest who have a fantastic selection.

Their books were all so new and colourful compared to the ancient Ginn books our school used, they even sent home black and white photocopied books, awful blurry copies in black and white, just the thing to engage a little child.

mrz Sat 06-Feb-16 07:12:31

I think it's too early to label your daughter a reluctant reader. She's learning to read and at the moment it's hard word so she's not eager to spend 15 minutes (which IMHO is too long at this stage) working.
I'd also add that in my experience seeing you read doesn't mean your children will enjoy reading or choose to do it for pleasure.

ConkersDontScareSpiders Sat 06-Feb-16 08:07:42

Both of my DD's refused to read much over the bare minimum required by school until about a year and a half ago.It really used to upset me as I love reading and I had been looking forward to sharing all the books I loved with them.
They have got into it now in a big way, initially down to a reading contest in school where they had to read so many books to get an award (which I was for some reason dead against at the time).Via that they discovered jaqueline Wilson, hoovered her books and then went on to find others they liked.Now they are more confident readers I am throwing some more classics in there and they are responding pretty well-but they still won't read The Railway Children which I'm gutted about as it was my favourite as a kid and I had some fantasy that we'd all sit around together reading favourite passages and then go on railway children like adventures.All backlit in a sort of golden light obviously grin

longestlurkerever Sat 06-Feb-16 10:22:54

Thanks everyone! Some good ideas here. We're making some pictures and labels to match up now. She's got a bit fixated on the picture side of things but hey ho. I'll check out the link for more interesting books and I think there was some sort of reading competition on at the library that we could maybe adapt.

longestlurkerever Sat 06-Feb-16 10:48:37

It's also true that I don't read so much myself these days, at least not while the kids are up.

Gobbolino6 Sat 06-Feb-16 14:18:16

She's young and only a term and a half into school. It will come.

It's very unlikely, but it's worth getting her eyes checked. One of my twins hated reading, turned out he needed glasses and it was only picked up at the screening in the summer term. Neither we nor his teachers had noticed.

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 06-Feb-16 18:36:09

Oh yes good point gobbolino6, it's worth doing a sight test. We found out last year, a few years too late, that ds1's reading vision wasn't that good (can't remember what it was now) and the optician said it may have contributed to his early reluctance to read, and over time he learnt strategies to overcome the issue.

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