Engaging Reluctant Readers During Summer Months

Summer is touted by parents and teachers as a great time to rack up reading minutes, enjoy reading for pleasure rather than an assignment, explore new genres, spend lazy days by the pool or on the beach engrosed a story or series.  However, for reluctant or struggling readers, in thier minds, summer can mean a percieved freedom from the constant tussle with written words that can exhaust them during the school year.

How to find a balance?

1. It’s okay to let your child enjoy audiobooks.  The newest term is “ear-reading” and multiple research studies show that as far as building vocabulary and comprehension, “ear-reading” is as equally effective as “eye-reading.”   https://dyslexiaida.org/balancing_ear_and_eye_reading/ 

Also, students who want to enjoy a book or series that thier friends talk about, but can’t read on thier own because thier decoding and accuracy skills aren’t up that level yet, can now engage through “ear-reading.”  This builds thier confidence, and helps them to enjoy the power of story-telling along with thier peers.

Audibles is one well-known audiobook subscription service with various levels of memebership.  https://www.audible.com/  If you have an official identification of dyslexia or a specific learning disability, you are elibigle for BookShare  https://www.bookshare.org/cms/   or Learning Ally  https://learningally.org/   They both have extensive collections of chapter books and text books. 

2. Family Read-Alouds. Along the lines of “ear-reading” is going back to the days of reading a book together.  Generally, kids continue to enjoy listening to a parent read, even after the days of bedtime stories are done.  Pick one of those chapter books their friends talk about and offer to read it with them.  You can alternate reading paragraphs, or page by page so they can get in their reading practice without being overwhelmed by the length of a book, and you are there to help them with words they can’t decode independently yet.  For students in dyselxia therapy, it’s amazing to see them start to take over this process and eventually do 100% of the reading as thier confidence and  skills improve.

3. Book lists for reluctant readers.  Just google “book lists for reluctant readers” and you’ll have dozens of websites, blog posts etc. at your fingertips with lists of “reluctant reader approved” books at every age and grade level.  Some perennial favorites for elementary aged kids are Magic Tree House, Bailey School Kids, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and one of the all-time favorites I, Survived.  For older kids, great authors are Andrew Clements, Peg Kheret, and Rick Rioridian.  The Harry Potter and Hunger Games series tend to make most lists as well.

Non-fiction is also a great way to engage reluctant readers.  Find out what topic they are interested in and then find books, articles, magazines, web pages on the topic and you’ll be amazed at how engaged they can be.  They are reading without even realizing it!

Happy summer reading!