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How to encourage an able but reluctant reader?

(33 Posts)
Wavingkitten Wed 20-Sep-17 14:48:51

DD6 has just started year 2. She is an able reader - on lime books, full marks in the phonics screening.

However actually getting her to read anything is a battle, which I don't want it to be. It's hard enough getting her to read her school books let alone anything else for pleasure. We limped through the summer reading challenge at the library. She has plenty of books at home of varying lengths, age groups etc but nothing takes her interest. She never picks up a book of her own accord.

I'm keenly aware that for her to stay doing well in reading, develop her comprehension skills etc that she needs to be reading regularly. Some of her friends are little bookworms and I know I shouldn't compare but...!

Any tips for how to encourage such a child? It's not that she finds it hard, she doesn't. When she does actually read it's with expression and fluency. I don't mind her reading to herself but she doesn't want to do that. She hasn't got any siblings to read to so we've tried her reading to her toys but she just really isn't interested.

What can I do?!

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 20-Sep-17 15:00:16

Try buying her comics or magazines about things she is interested in.

I couldn't get my oldest to read for love nor money other than 4-4-2 (football mag) whereas my youngest was an avid reader.

FIL was a teacher in a prep school and said as long as they are reading something it really doesn't matter what when they are younger.

brilliotic Wed 20-Sep-17 15:07:33

Do you still read to her? If yes, then I wouldn't worry too much about her comprehension developing etc as she can do that from books that are read to her as well as from books she reads herself. So along with keeping on steadily reading her school books, she should be fine.

Does she perhaps think that reading to herself replaces/replaced you reading to her and thus isn't keen?

DS is an able reader too but at times reluctant. Finding something that really grabs him is key. Anything counts, non-fiction, comics, repetitive boring stuff, joke books, recipes - whatever gets him reading!

Find out what her friends are reading. Make a point of chatting to her friends (e.g. at pick-up time) about what they are reading.
Find out what they are playing in break times - DS' friends all play e.g. Harry Potter and that really motivates the kids to actually read the books.
Start reading something fun TO her at bedtime, but stop at a cliff-hanger (maybe just remember that you need to turn the oven on or make a quick phonemail). Leave the book behind...
Make sure she sees you reading.
When you go somewhere that entails a wait (GPs, ...) take a book along, she might just get bored enough to start reading it.

irvineoneohone Wed 20-Sep-17 15:08:14

Getting full marks at phonics screenings is to be expected. And being on lime in yr2 is not as advanced as it used to be with higher expectation of new NC. Maybe you should relax a bit? Battling to read is not good way to encourage love of reading. At least she can read well.
Tbh, a year from now, most of children are at expected levels in reading, so being advanced at the start of year2, can be just normal level at start of yr3.
Can you persuade her to read a short passage regularly and answer some comprehension questions on line? If so, these sites are worth looking at. Only takes about 5 minutes a day, but it's great, lots of different topics and great way to expand vocabulary.

brilliotic Wed 20-Sep-17 15:09:09

phonemail? phone call of course.

LovingMum22 Wed 20-Sep-17 15:17:22

My daughter is exactly the same as your DD!!! It is so re-assuring to know I am not the only one who is facing this challenge. My DD is in year 1 and reads white band books with great fluency and good comprehension. It is so hard for me personally to accept that a child who is so able in reading does not possess a love for books sad
In my experience, introduction to various genres has helped to certain extent - my DD likes reading joke books, poems etc. She never picks up a book on her own but surprisingly likes to read e-books on the tablet!

irvineoneohone Wed 20-Sep-17 15:21:21

It's funny that when people say make sure your children see you read.
It's the thing my ds picked up on from early age. I read all the time, even while I am cooking dinner. I always have books in my bag.
I have a photo of him pretending to read when he wasn't possibly able to. Now he is exactly the same as me, reading when he can, in the car, on the toilet(!), in the baths, anywhere possible.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 20-Sep-17 15:52:16

I don't think book bands really say anything about the interest in reading for pleasure, I would say reading for pleasure is really about speed and stamina of reading rather than decoding ability or vocabulary knowledge beyond the minimum.

Also of course schools use book bands so differently, so saying a particular band means nothing generally. DD enjoys reading for pleasure, but only in bed, very unlikely to read a book outside of bed - although does of course read lots of other stuff. But the real reading for pleasure only happened once she could comfortably read many chapters of an interesting book in bed.

DD also doesn't see us reading much at all, I only do it in bed too, and she rarely saw that.

eddiemairswife Wed 20-Sep-17 16:05:57

Some people just don't enjoy reading. We don't all like the same things. A lot of adults don't read for pleasure.
A lot of people enjoy watching football. I don't.

NotCitrus Wed 20-Sep-17 16:25:30

My ds and his friends didn't really read for pleasure until about halfway through Y3. Magazines and comics were good and then Asterix, but the sustained reading didn't happen for a while - but if a book I'd read at bedtime was left, then ds would re-read a lot. Needed a lot of re-reading of favourites before he got the confidence to embark on longer stories voluntarily .

grasspigeons Wed 20-Sep-17 16:34:16

I'd read to her as much as possible and listen to audio books in the car.
You can't really force someone to enjoy it.
The stories do really get better when they have learned to read and it's not an effort as well

dinkystinky Wed 20-Sep-17 16:41:53

Read to her. Use a reading app on phone or tablet (epic) - she may enjoy that. Comics or magazines or books about things she likes are good too. Get her to help with cooking or baking and reading recipes and ingredients.

Ttbb Wed 20-Sep-17 16:45:51

Sonething more interesting? I wasn't interested in reading at all until I was able to read lemony snicket.

catkind Wed 20-Sep-17 17:24:34

You'll find the right thing to hook her in the end. Comics? Children's magazines? Comic-y books like Tom Gates, 13 Storey Treehouse? Non-fiction? Cutesy animal stuff? Sparkly fairy books? Dinosaurs? Puzzle books?

I usually get recommendations, or see what friends' kids are reading, then read the first chapter to them and sit back and see what happens.

Leeds2 Wed 20-Sep-17 17:42:43

Poetry/rhyming books sometimes work for reluctant readers.
Fact books about something she is interested in.
Listen to an audio book, and have a paper copy to follow the words as they are spoken.
Joke books.
If you cook with her, get her to read out the recipe as you are going along.
Get grandparents/aunties/whoever to write her a letter, or email, which she has to read if she wants to know what they are saying!
Try and make sure that the books she is reading have plenty of pictures. Children of that age are often put off by page after page of unbroken text.

AlwaysDancing1234 Wed 20-Sep-17 17:45:34

Don't worry too much about what she is reading, my DD loves the Cbeebies magazines and ones about Trolls or Frozen etc. Don't get too caught up in book bands or whether or not it's educational, any form of book, newspaper, magazine etc.
What are her hobbies? DS is 10 and not keen on fiction but will read details Minecraft instruction manuals for hours!

paxillin Wed 20-Sep-17 18:06:53

Buy magazines and refuse to read them to her. Buy the most coveted ones. Barbie, Star Wars, nature, sports... pick the one she is most into.

Wavingkitten Wed 20-Sep-17 19:23:02

Thanks for the replies.

Re book bands - I don't think she's super advanced, I just wanted to explain that she's not struggling so it's not that putting her off.

To be honest it's such a battle just getting her to read the school books. She always promises she'll do it after dinner or before bed or in the morning and then inevitably she won't. I hate nagging her about it. Maybe she won't develop a love of reading but she needs to do these.

She mentioned a while ago that a couple of her friends had read the faraway tree and she wanted to. I eagerly got the whole collection but she hasn't touched them. She's got rubbishy Frozen books and sparkly fairy ones but she just won't!

Tablet / phone is a good idea though thank you, I will definitely try that.

Grumpbum Wed 20-Sep-17 19:27:44

Whatever you do don't start accelerator reader program! My able, loves reading child is bored already with his allowed book choice and sadly told me tonight he won't bother finishing his 'for pleasure' book as it's not allowed on his list

Allthecake Wed 20-Sep-17 19:46:28

Do you take her to bookshops to choose her own books? Waterstones usually have a section with really pretty editions of kids books which might encourage her? The staff are also great at giving personal recommendations.

Anotheroneishere Thu 21-Sep-17 03:21:12

The library is great for letting her get her own books. Once you find her interest, she'll likely be sparked into reading. Don't judge her reading-for-fun books. Sparkle princess fairy awfulness? Great, enjoy! Captain Underpants? Horrid Henry? Picture books? Joke books? Recipe books? The same books over and over?

For reading for pleasure, my kids love getting to stay up reading in bed. It's a huge reward for them. And the bonus is that is the only activity they can stay up doing.

Make reading a habit for school, and don't ask when it's going to be done. You can decide if it needs to happen every day or if she can substitute pleasurable reading for some days. Pick a time and stick with it. Reading gets done before fun activities. End of the day doesn't work for us, honestly, but it does for some people.

highinthesky Thu 21-Sep-17 03:28:15

Reading gets done before fun activities - but as alluded to by Anotheroneishere, the it's a good idea to make it the fun option first.

AlphaStation Thu 21-Sep-17 04:47:01

I'm just now reading the book 'Shallows' about what the internet is doing to our brains (I'm actually reading it on paper, although I of course have both laptop, e-reader and tablet, and phone(s) to read on as well). I think you should go with paper (from having read that book) (I believe the book explains why this might be important). That said, it's not that one shouldn't read on tablets, phone apps, gadgets, tv screens or e-readers. Second best an e-reader perhaps. Anyway, it's probably not only important what you read on, but as well what you read.

Here's a list of book titles I googled up on Amazon just now, I've read them all myself and they're obviously still selling.
The Brothers Lionheart
Ronia, the Robbers daughter
Karlson on the roof
Emil and the great escape
Emil's clever pig
Seacrow island
Mio's kingdom
Mio, my son
Lotta says no!
Master detective
Rasmus and the vagabond

and for yourself, to read
A world gone mad - the diaries of Astrid Lindgren 1939-45.

One big difference between pre-smartphone and post-smartphone is that ones concentration goes down and it's easy to get absorbed by tasty YouTube-clips and mindless phone apps. I struggle with it myself. Really have no good advice there, but guess it's important to allocate time to it, here's two hours on Saturday and I'm going to read books, or something. (I was now mostly giving an advice to myself, actually, having already been absorbed by the internet for more than half an hour as early as it is today, 05:46 in the morning when writing this.)

ragged Thu 21-Sep-17 05:43:35

May I suggest a book of Calvin & Hobbes? The vocab is extensive. My kids have reread these for years. There are at least ten volumes to get if she takes to them.

TheNext Thu 21-Sep-17 06:03:01

When dc3 got to grey level in y1 she switched off from the school books. Turned out she was missing coloured pictures! We went to the bookshop and chose some lovely illustrated children's books, including some poetry and fairy tale anthologies and she didn't feel short-changed any more. We also do lots of "snuggle on the sofa and take turns reading" which helps.

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