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Motivating and Engaging Readers

“But mom, I don’t like to read!” If you hear these words from your child, here are tips for working with a reluctant reader. Soon you’ll hear, “I can’t wait to read!”

How to’s/Ideas:
  1. Keep books everywhere! Keep lots of books in your car, in your bag, in rooms throughout the house. They WILL pick them up.
  2. Let them see you read. Read the newspaper or the back of cereal boxes when drinking your morning coffee. Rather than turning on the TV or playing on your phone, pick up a book or magazine.
  3. Make reading a part of your nighttime routine.  Let them fall asleep reading books.  Get them a nightlight to make it fun!
  4. Read aloud to your child.  Make it a family event.  Take time every now and then as you read to discuss what’s going on in the story and what they’re thinking.  This is a great time to read the more challenging books that they’re interested in! Make it fun by creating a cozy nook! Use silly voices and big movements.
  5. Let them pick their own books. If they love dinosaurs, let them pick out books about dinosaurs. If the books are too difficult, read the books to them. If they can choose the book, they will read it. If you choose the books, they might not.
  6. Let them reread books that they already know and are successful with. The more a child rereads a book, the more confident they become.  Don’t worry about the level.
  7. Read different ways. You can read online, on IPods, CDs (books on tape), magazines, graphic novels, and traditional books.
  8. If there is an author they like, have them check out their websites. Lots of authors have websites or apps. Here is a great one: http://www.pigeonpresents.com/
  9. Make going to the library or the bookstore a part of your routine.
  10. Get your child involved in a book club – even if it’s just with you. Maybe there is a great movie coming out that is based on a book – if your child wants to see the movie, read the book together first and have conversations around the book as you read.


The four most important words:
“I thought of you…” can work miracles in the life of a disengaged reader.

-Steven Layne



Ten Read-Aloud Commandments

By Mem Fox

  1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.
  1. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can learn to read.
  1. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
  1. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.
  1. Read stories that the kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same ‘tune’ for each book: i.e. with same intonations on each page, each time.
  1. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures or anything else connected to the book.
  2. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.
  3. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start with your child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.
  4. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.
  5. Please read aloud every day, moms and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.



Tips for Motivating Reluctant Readers – Tips From Kids

Reading Rockets

Parents can make reading more motivating by letting children choose books and making reading a memorable family event. Find out what children themselves have to say about these guidelines for parents to increase motivation.

10 Tips For Motivating Reluctant Readers

Teach Train Love

Ten tips that will help turn your child’s reading from a chore into a treasure.

Supporting Reluctant Readers


Tips, activities, and advice that will encourage your reluctant reader to start turning the pages.

Your Challenge

What has worked for motivating and engaging your readers? What other ideas do you have? Tweet a picture or comment. Add the hashtag #hilliardreads!

Hilliard City School District | Superintendent, John Marschhausen, Ph.D. | Treasurer, Brian W. Wilson

2140 Atlas Street, Columbus, OH 43228 | Phone: (614) 921-7000 | Fax: (614) 921-7001

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