Supporting Reading at Home
We believe it is a joint effort between school and home to help develop your child as a reader. Your child will come home with a banded book and a book for reading for pleasure. Each banded book is matched to your child’s reading ability.
Children may be reluctant readers, which is any person who does not show an interest in reading. These children may actively resist reading, mask their dislike, avoid reading altogether, become easily frustrated during reading, or simply have not found a love for reading yet or the right book.
A student’s reluctance could have many reasons: Are they struggling with particular reading skills? Are they disinterested in what they are reading? Have they found the right book?
Just as knowing why a student is reluctant to read is important, so is knowing how they are motivated to read. Intrinsically motivated readers read because it gives them enjoyment or satisfaction. It is our job to help children want to read and find a book they enjoy reading.
Here are some strategies for helping students learn to love to read:
1. Read for fun
Allowing independent reading time with no strings attached can motivate reluctant readers by helping to remove the pressure of reading. This could also include reading to children as a first step towards independence.
2. Emphasise the power of choice
One powerful way to engage reluctant readers is to allow them a choice of what to read, thereby giving them ownership of their own reading. Choice also helps to motivate students by allowing them to select texts that are of interest to them and that they are comfortable with.
Our Reading Passports at school are a way for children to experience new texts and find something they might enjoy. Students need to be given the tools to select a “just right” book. Like any other skill, they can practise strategies for selecting appropriate texts, and should be allowed to make mistakes. If they select a book that turns out to not be “just right” after all, they should be empowered to put that text down and select another, even if they are already halfway through it. Teachers will guide children with this at school.
3. Book Talk
Once the children have read, it is important to engage in a conversation about what has been read. This can be with peers, teachers and family members. They could recount the events in the text, express opinions on plot or characters and even predict what might come next. This is something we do in class regularly but to further book talk at home, please see attached some questions to help engage with your child about their reading.
4. Make it active
Make the reading environment engaging for the child. This could be mood lighting, seating arrangements, sound effects or simply putting on slippers and getting cosy. This is a great chance to help children learn to love to read and connect with the text.
Alternatively, consider letting children walk around as they read, build a reading den, or create a standing reading zone. Reading can and should be a gateway to additional exploration, and this can be fostered by tying hands-on explorations with reading.