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Reading Tips

The English Department are often asked how to motivate reluctant readers, so here are a few ideas:

  1. Shop for new books together, but try to narrow the selection offered, so that it is not too overwhelming.
  2. Read the first couple of chapters to your children (whatever their age) and, if you need to, the whole book. Get them hooked!
  3. Ask them to read aloud to you. This is better in less pressured environments, such as when you are listening, but not necessarily watching-e.g. whilst cooking, ironing (and the jobs get done at the same time!).
  4. Share the reading of novels before you go and watch the film versions in the cinema. Discuss the differences between them.
  5. Read short stories, as they have been written to enjoy in one sitting. This allows a reluctant reader to feel a sense of completion and therefore achievement.
  6. Read newspaper articles. Talk about what you have read. Reading does not have to be a solitary process. Encourage them to infer. What is implied? How does the journalist want you to think or feel?
  7. Encourage them to help their younger siblings read. This moves the attention away from them and provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with more expression and different character voices.
  8. Purchase a Kindle or download eBooks that allow unfamiliar vocabulary to be decoded quickly and painlessly!
  9. Incentivise. Time spent reading could be matched with activities they have more enthusiasm for: computer time, time with friends, treat time...
  10. Finally, and most importantly, let them see you read!

Research clearly documents the fact that reading improves spelling, punctuation and vocabulary. It shouldn't be a battle, but neither should it be allowed to become a choice; it must be an expectation.

The English Department is happy to recommend books. If you need any more suggestions/help, you know where we are.

For more reading tips see this article on family share