• Reluctant Readers
  • Posts
  • Empowering Reluctant Readers to Discover the Joy of Books - Maintaining Focus and Attention

Empowering Reluctant Readers to Discover the Joy of Books - Maintaining Focus and Attention

Struggling to maintain focus and attention is not uncommon in young children. But if left alone, it can become a stumbling block when it comes to reading, quickly leading to frustration, tantrums, or a complete lack of interest in books.

Common causes are:

  • A short attention span.

  • Distractions such as electronic devices or other people.

  • A lack of routine and structure.

  • Autism, ADHD, AuDHD.

  • The expectation and pressure of having to maintain concentration through an entire book or chapter can be overwhelming.

The secret is often to find new ways of introducing reading, where reading is incorporated into activities without the expectations of sitting quietly through an entire book or chapter. The solutions I have listed below can be equally effective in children who are on the Autistic spectrum or have ADHD.

‘The aim is simply to make reading fun!’

Pauline Tait

  The aim is simply to make reading fun!

  • Break reading up into smaller increments more suited to your reluctant reader’s attention span. If you know they will sit for ten minutes, then read for eight, stopping the session before their attention span breaks. Finish on a positive note and praise your reluctant reader for achieving those eight minutes.

  • A bedtime story is often the calmest time to encourage reading. And to be honest, whether your child reads to you or you read to your child, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that they are reading/being read to. Either way, their creative juices are being fuelled.

  • Get interactive. Include props, puppets or act out scenes, with both parent/carer and reluctant reader taking turns to act out the next scene or page.

  • ·Ask them questions. Try to pique their interest with ‘what if.’ Can they guess what’s going to happen next? This can keep a reluctant reader focussed for longer, meaning they are more involved in the story.

  • Multisensory activities can be especially helpful in reluctant readers who are on the Autistic spectrum. Asking them to draw a scene, recreate it with play dough, or physically act it out, can appeal to those who are tactile and like to be touching or doing something. Asking them to listen to a preset number of words or pages beforehand can also make this approach work more smoothly.

  • And, finally, always ensure the subject matter appeals to your reluctant reader. This is something I mention often, but it is often the simplest and most effective approach.

Call to Action

This week, choose one strategy from above that you feel would most suit your reluctant reader.

Introduce it carefully, to avoid your reluctant reader viewing it as a reading task. The aim is to incorporate into their daily routine, even if just Monday to Friday.

Thank you for reading this week’s episode of Reluctant Readers.
If you know anybody who would benefit from this newsletter, please click the button below and send this week’s episode through to them. 

Join the conversation

or to participate.