Encouraging a reluctant reader to overcome the stigma of their reading journey and just “love” books seems impossible. No matter how much we want them to experience the magic of books, the struggles of learning to read can loom over their entire literacy future. Whether due to dyslexia, visual impairment, or other undiagnosed causes, struggling readers face an indefinite amount of pain if we don’t find ways to intercede.
There are several ways to ease struggling readers into reading without them feeling pressured to perform. Even administrators can employ these ideas in their schools to help everyone see the utility of literacy.
Use videos as a conduit.
Gen Z kids live in a media-saturated world, so let’s use that to our advantage. Start conversations about their favorite TikTok or YouTube this week, and then tell them about TEDEd talks or National Geographic. In the meantime, find some books related to their content and put them in their path by displaying them in your classroom or libraries.
Introduce the Science of Reading to your teachers.
Research quantifying the reading process has been around for years, with the Orton-Gillingham method being at the forefront of these discoveries. Today, however, many teachers - especially those working with students with dyslexia or processing issues - have found this rules-based method to be the light bulb their reading program needed.
The Science of Reading’s systematic study of phonemes, graphemes, and morphemes helps kids learn the structure of the language instead of being asked to memorize flashcards. Struggling readers especially have appreciated learning the components of the language with sound walls and word mapping.
Read to younger students or animals.
A fantastic way for students to practice intonation and inflection is by reading to younger students. This takes the pressure off and allows them to focus on the entertainment value while younger students bask in the glory of an older kid coming to visit. Even reading to a stuffed animal can be a game-changer!