How to Inspire a Reluctant Reader

How to Inspire a Reluctant Reader

Stop sparring with your kiddos and try these tactics

Let's face it—some adolescents approach reading with all the enthusiasm of a snail on a Monday morning. This can be aggravating and demoralizing as a parent or educator (since we all know the value of reading), but we’ve got some ideas on how to ignite a new obsession between reluctant readers and words. 

Word Games: Where Readers Can Play!

There are tons of great word games out there, and using a game to “play” at reading is a fantastic way to off-set the impulse of your reading-averse child to give up. Games like Scrabble or Scattergories are personal favorites, but they may not be the right recipe of reading and play for a reluctant reader, instead, they may exacerbate those feelings of anxiety or low-confidence. While they are worth remembering and trying down the road, games that provide shorter bursts of reading, mixed with tastes of victory could be the perfect mix to keep your child engaged. A great example would be word games like ‘would you rather’ or trivia question games geared towards adolescents (like this one). These allow the players to read a few sentences at a time, and then step back and let the fun grow around them. Soon the laughs, the competition, and the excitement will have them wanting to flip pages.

Humor that Hits the Bullseye:

Laughter is the ultimate weapon against reluctant reading. Seek out content that has a comedic angle such as a snarky narrator, witty banter, crazy situations or whatever else tickles the funny bone. Humor is proven to help with memory retention and pairing those good feelings with reading can be positively addicting. Some options to try would be  age-appropriate graphic novels (not too many words per page, but enough!) as well as silly word games like Kids Against Maturity (ideal for groups) or the aforementioned Fun Fact Trivia game (great for individuals or groups). These do a great job at blending reading, vocabulary and entertainment.

Taboo Topics: Breaking the Chains of Boredom:

Another great way to pierce the veil of reluctance is to explore the forbidden, daring and unconventional. For adolescent readers who crave the unexpected, taboo topics can be a key to unlocking their reading potential. I don’t mean throwing them into content that is inappropriate for their age, rather, allow them to explore the parts of our world that might be new, and edgy. This could be topics like dystopian societies, scary stories, ancient cultures, or (the scariest of them all) reality! This might include topics like death, real-world mysteries, epic tales from history or anything else that borders on content they may have previously been denied. Taboo topics challenge their perceptions, spark discussions, and keep them turning those pages with curiosity and a rebellious spirit!

Bite-Sized Books: Snacks for the Soul:

Sometimes, reluctant readers find the idea of a massive tome as appealing as a toothache. That's where bite-sized reading comes to the rescue! Seek out short stories, novellas, graphic novels or collections of mini-tales that can be devoured in one sitting. These compact treasures can still pack a punch, immersing readers in captivating worlds without overwhelming them with page counts. Plus, the sense of accomplishment from finishing something is priceless. 

Armed with these dynamic strategies—from the thrill of word games to the irresistible allure of humor and taboo topics—you're now ready to set your teen's reading journey on fire. But why stop here? Keep the momentum going with our next read, 'Fun Games to Play in the Car,' and turn every moment into an opportunity for learning and laughter.
About the author(s):

Christman & Raelina

Christman and Raelina are both professional designers, writers and have been working with educational content for nigh on 30 years (between the two).

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