Does your child struggle with their reading? Is it difficult to persuade them to practice reading at home? When a child struggles with their reading, it can be very difficult for both child and parent. However, practicing reading is essential for school success. Read on for tips to help struggling readers.
One of the major problems for struggling readers, is that reading is so difficult for them, it ceases to be enjoyable. If there is one thing I hope to impart to my students, it is the love of reading. When reading is a challenge, of course students do not want to practice. When they don’t practice, they don’t progress, and reading becomes even harder. This is a cycle we want to break, but how?
Motivate Struggling Readers by Picking Good Fit Books
One important thing to ask yourself (or your child’s teacher) is if your child is reading at the appropriate level. Reading books that are too difficult will simply frustrated your child further. Instead, look for “Good Fit” books. Have your child open a book to any page and begin reading. If they have difficulty reading more than five words on the page, it is not a good fit book. Ensuring your child is reading a book that meets their needs is one way to motivate your child to practice reading more.
Motivate Struggling Readers by Improving Fluency
A second tip would be to work on your child’s bank of sight words. Sight words refer to words your child has memorized by sight. The more sight words they have mastered, the easier reading will become. Their reading will become more fluent and they will be able to focus on comprehension and enjoyment of the book. My tips on practicing sight words at home will be coming soon!
Motivate Struggling Readers by Picking Engaging Books
One very important way to help your struggling reader is to provide engaging books in which they are interested. A really exciting or funny book is great motivation for your child to read, even if reading is hard.
Of course this will depend on what your child’s interests are. If they love unicorns, look for unicorn books at their level. If they are fascinated by reptiles, head to the non-fiction section.
Although reading interests may vary, there are some very funny and engaging books that are likely to be loved by all struggling readers (any reader at all, in fact). Many of these books have several sequels, because the first book was so great children wanted more! Here are my recommendations for great books that will motivate your child to keep reading!
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6 Wonderful Books to Motivate Struggling Readers
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems Reading Level: K-L
This is a hilarious book about a persuasive pigeon who wants to drive a bus. The sentences are short and consists of dialogue in speech bubbles. It is also a great way to practice reading with expression. Your child will be giggling away as they read. There are several sequels that are just as funny as the first.
The Elephant and Piggie Series by Mo Willems Reading Level: D-H
Another series by Mo Willems, these are probably my favorite. These books have a very simple dialogue that is mainly made up of sight words, but they are still absolutely hilarious. There are quite a few books in this series, which is great because your child will get hooked (and you might too)!
No, David! By David Shannon Reading Level: G-L
Little David gets into all kinds of trouble and his mother is always saying “No David!” Again, there is very little text in the book, but your child will have to use the pictures to figure out what rule David is breaking (this is called inferring, a very important reading skill). Another beloved book that has expanded into a series.
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt Reading Level: G-L
A hilarious tale of a squirrel who is too scared to do almost anything. This book is a bit more complex, and perhaps more appropriate to grade two and above.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin Reading Level: I-L
This story is about a rock’n’roll cat with a positive attitude. This book is repetitive, making reading easier as it goes. This book also has a great message about not getting bent out of shape when something bad happens to you.
Chester by Melanie Watt Reading Level: L-N
This hilarious and snarky cat takes over the author’s book with his red pen. Another book that will have your reader laughing out loud.
For Older Struggling Readers
If your struggling reading is in middle or high school, these books will likely seem too babyish. I cannot recommend graphic novels enough for older struggling readers. Graphic novels are more sophisticated versions of comic books. They are generally longer, telling the story of a novel in comic form. The short nature of dialogue and the support of illustrations mean graphic novels are perfect for older struggling readers who are interested in more sophisticated subject matter without the difficult reading level.
There is an amazing variety of books out there ranging from Batman to The Baby-Sitters Club to classics like A Wrinkle In Time or Pride and Prejudice, to Game of Thrones. There is truly something for everything.
These are my top picks for books to engage struggling readers. These books are sure to have your child excited to read in no time! See my tips for a smoother homework routine to help your child accomplish the rest of their homework.
Do you have any book recommendations for struggling readers? Which books can your children not put down? Share them below! I would love to hear from you!