(File photo)

(File photo)

COLUMN: How to help your young reluctant reader

Library has resources to help children

In my last column, I focused on ways parents can help their toddlers develop a love of books, and therefore help set them up for literacy success in school.

Let’s move on to a more challenging group of youngsters – the school-aged reluctant readers.

These children have started school, and are finding that learning to read is difficult. And because it’s difficult, they do not want to practice at home with you.

Let me suggest two important steps you can take if you find yourself parent to a young reluctant reader.

READ ALSO: New Sylix children’s books teach kids about the eco-system

READ ALSO: Penticton Mountie receives royal thanks for children’s books

First, get yourself to your local public library to find books that will grab and hold your child’s interest. Second, figure out how to regularly make time to read with your child in a relaxed and fun way.

Most of us will not choose to read something that is not engaging (unless of course you’re lucky enough to get paid for it) and children are no different. Forcing them to learn to read with dull material is like asking them to mentally eat cardboard. Y

our best bet to combat reading reluctance is to put a bit of time into finding books about their interests, or about topics they’d find amusing.

Though you will find that library books for young readers are conveniently organized into reading levels, I would suggest not worrying about finding the perfect level for your child because you will read these books with them, and you can read all the words/sentences/paragraphs they’re not ready for, while prompting them to read only the words/sentences they are ready for.

It’s far more important here that they like the book and come to enjoy the reading experience.

Maybe at first, this means that your child only reads the sound effects, or that you are reading almost everything, but if they’re enjoying the book, you’re on the right track.

The goal here is simple: you will lure them in by making reading with you fun, and then slowly shift more of the actual reading onto their shoulders. Keep it light and fun, show that you enjoy reading too, give them praise even for their small victories, and don’t push them too quickly or beyond attention spans.

Show them that you also use reading strategies to deal with big words and to understand the plot. Model pointing to words as you read them, and sounding out or breaking down longer words into chunks. Talk out loud about how you are coming to understand the plot by noticing clues in images, interpreting details in text, and making inferences about non-literal ideas. Your child will be taking it all in, and will eventually come to rely on the same strategies independently.

One of the best parts of my day is cuddling together on the couch and discovering the all-age appropriate humor of Mo Willem’s Gerald and Piggy or the subtle environmental stewardship messaging in the Flying Beaver Brothers comics series.

You won’t regret adding this quality time with your child to your daily routine, and you’ll be setting them up for more success in school too.

Rebecca Heuser is an assistant community librarian at the Summerland branch of Okanagan Regional Library.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Bad Tattoo owner Lee Auger and head brewmaster Liam Hutcheson welcomed Firehall Brewery owner Syd Ruhland into their brew-room to make a massive batch of his hit Backdraft Blonde Ale Tuesday, April 2021. (Firehall Brewery / Facebook)
Drinking buddies: Penticton brewery steps up to help out smaller competitor

Firehall Brewery of Oliver needed larger equipment to meet demand; Bad Tattoo was happy to help

Campfires are allowed within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, but open burning season comes to an end April 15 at midnight. (Black Press file photo)
Open burning season ends in Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Campfires are permitted, following provincial guidelines

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Name is spelled incorrectly

For 100 years, the Garnett name has been spelled incorrectly as Garnet

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

The yearling appeared to have suffered a broken back. ( Photo contributed by photographer Jill Hayward)
Police forced to euthanize deer attacked by dog

Animal’s owner receives $345 ticket

Vancouver police say eight people were arrested Wednesday after anti-pipeline protesters blocked off both the entrances and exits to two buildings in the downtown core. (Instagram/Qtcatspictureclub)
8 people arrested after anti-pipeline protestors chain themselves to Vancouver buildings

Cst. Tania Visintin said demonstrators caused ‘a serious safety hazard’ downtown for hours Wednesday

Weekly COVID-19 cases in the North Okanagan-Shuswap saw increases for the Vernon and Salmon Arm health areas during the week of April 4 to 10. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases rise in North Okanagan-Shuswap with Vernon leading increase

Revelstoke alone in high category by population although case number dropped slightly

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Shed fire spreads to Kelowna residence

The fire extended into the attic of a residence

A Kelowna yoga studio has received negative messages after being mistaken for a martial arts gym that was turning away vaccinated patrons. (Metro Creative Stock)
Kelowna MMA gym’s anti-vaccine policy prompts misguided nasty phone calls to yoga studio

Move & Flow yoga and dance studio is being confused with Flow Academy, an MMA gym that has barred vaccinated patrons

(Black Press Media File)
Kelowna-based cannabis company expands into Manitoba

Valens now distributes its products in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan as well

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five other charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

Most Read