The Reluctant Reader
A reluctant reader is a person who can read but might read slow, only reads when they have to, and mostly reads short topics. They seldom read for fun and if they do, it tends to be magazine articles. A reluctant reader can be of any age, sex, or socio-economic background.
Can you spot a reluctant reader early on?
Yes! Many children love to look at books and learn their letters and words. However, there are also quite a few who do not. Look for the following signs:
• Doesn’t pick up a book.
• Picks up a book but looks at the pictures.
• Prefers to have other people read to them.
• The reluctant reader prefers to listen to audio books or watch TV, a lot.
• Has no interest in doing any of the reading programs or games.
• When going to the library or bookstore, prefers the magazine or picture book section.
Should you test a reluctant reader?
Yes. Many school districts have early testing options that are free. Or you can do a private testing, as many do take insurance.
Interesting side note that in some countries, reading is not introduced in schools until 2nd grade (about 8 years old). They feel that the visual system is not developed sufficiently and it would do more harm then good to force the child to attempt to read.
After you have them tested, you will have a better understanding of whether there is an issue (dyslexia, dysgraphia, language-based processing issues, vision problems, slow working memory, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.) or whether they are just not ready for the mental gymnastics it takes to read.
Can I make an eager reader out of a reluctant reader?
Yes, but it will take work and effort by you and your child. Both of you have to be committed to it and your child might not be ready to realize that reading is important. Nothing will frustrate a child more then a pushy impatient parent! Find a reading program that he enjoys and that is appropriate for him. But most importantly, read to him! Read to him, frequently! Have many books in the house.
Show him a good example of reading for fun by turning the TV off and getting a book for yourself and reading it. Encourage him to get a book and sit next you and read for awhile. Talk to him about why you read for fun. Share what you read.
Buy an iPad and use it to share the reading experience together. eReading: Gulliver’s Travels is an excellent app that can be enjoyed together or alone to improve a child’s reading.
What if she still doesn’t want to read?
Give it a rest. Your child might not be ready to read. Have them draw and recognize lines and forms on the paper. The first step in reading is to recognize the different shapes the letters make. Maybe they haven’t mastered that yet and the letters in the words are confusing. Remember it has to be fun, otherwise children will not do it.