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Empowering Reluctant Readers to Discover the Joy of Books - Embracing the Calm

Many reluctant readers require calm and quiet surroundings to be able to focus.

This can be a direct result of varying challenges that affect their reading development and overall learning experience. Understanding the reasons behind their reluctance to read and providing strategies to create a calm and supportive environment can help reluctant readers become more engaged and successful readers.

Common challenges to consider:

  • Anxiety - This could be anxiety about reading in front of others.

  • Stress – Highly stressful environments or personal issues.

  • Overstimulation – busy, noisy, or chaotic environment can make it difficult for children to concentrate.

  • Lack of Interest – This can be down to a lack of engaging content.

  • Low confidence – A previous negative experience has resulted in a reader being reluctant to try again.

  • Learning difficulties - Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism.

‘Never underestimate the power of praise and reinforcement. This can go further than any reading material in rebuilding a child’s confidence.

Pauline Tait

Helping reluctant readers who need calmness to focus requires a combination of understanding their unique challenges and creating a supportive, stress-free environment. By employing strategies that reduce anxiety and increase engagement, parents and educators can foster a love of reading and help children improve their literacy skills in a way that feels safe and enjoyable for them.

Strategies to create calm and supportive reading environments include:

  • A designated quiet reading space – A quiet cozy corner with comfortable seating and good lighting where your reluctant reader can read without distractions.

  • Establish a routine – This can be more crucial than many realise, especially when a reluctant reader forms specific habits and needs routine. Set aside a regular, predictable reading time. This will help build habit and a sense of security.

  • Use calming techniques – Deep breathing or gentle background music can help reduce stress and create a peaceful atmosphere.

  • Choose the correct reading material – Choosing engaging, age-appropriate, visibly appealing books will always hold a child’s attention for longer. A reminder from previous newsletters that age-appropriate also means to take into considerations a child’s reading age rather than their physical age. Their reading age can be above or below their physical age. If a book is too easy or too difficult, their reluctance to read will be remain.

  • Be patient and encouraging – Never underestimate the power of praise and reinforcement. This can go further than any reading material in rebuilding a child’s confidence.

  • Introduce interactive and Multisesory approaches  eBooks are something I don’t usually recommend for children, and there is far less choice for younger children. But for those in the 9-to-12-year age range, who are point blank refusing to read, listening to eBooks can often open the door to creative worlds. Although it won’t help with their reading skills, it will feed their creativity and linguistic skills. Which in turn can help in day-to-day school life. The intention should be to try weening them off eBooks and onto physical books once an interest has been formed.

Call to Action

This week’s call to action will vary greatly on the age of your reluctant reader.

This week’s call to action is to implement one or any of the above that you feel most fit with your reluctant reader. Just remember that where ADHD and Autism feature, introducing these strategies slowly and one at a time may be more beneficial.

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