Struggling and Hesitant Readers
not always easy to motivate students to read independently when they have a
difficult time understanding what they read. How can you convince a
student that reading is fun when they struggle so much? Below are some
suggestions that may work if you are faced with students who have the desire
to read, but are held back by the effort it takes to do so or those kids who
feel reading takes too much time to be worth the effort.
Let students choose what they read. So many students dislike
reading because they have not read anything that interests them.
Although this cannot always be the case with required books on the
curriculum, you can at least allow them to have the freedom of choice in
their independent reading.
Have a wide variety of books available to your students.
Not all your student will be reading on "grade level," but it is still
important that you include books in your library that are appealing to
all reading abilities.
Graphic Novels! Many teachers frown at these as "comic books"
but graphic novels are truly a fantastic way to help struggling readers
and are enjoyable even for the most capable. Several classics
(like Moby Dick and Don Quixote) are available in graphic novel
form and can help to serve as a bridge for hesitant readers. It
gets them interested in more difficult texts without having them
struggle through and eventually give up.
Short Stories are a great way to get kids reading without
overwhelming them. These stories offer compelling plots and
characters, a variety of important literary themes, and (most important
to kids) deliver a great story in not a lot of words. Short
stories are great stepping stones for hesitant readers and it builds
*Activating prior knowledge--and creating visual
and tactile associations
*Determining the most important ideas
and themes in a text
*Drawing inferences and conclusions
*Retelling and synthesizing
(Follow the link for some ideas)
students of the "tricks" of a good reader. They can skim, skip,
and put down books! Encourage them to move on from books that bore
them and opt for a more appealing on. If the book must be read as
a requirement for the class, show them how to get through it by skimming
from Chris Crowe's son Jonathan (an admitted reluctant reader) helps to
guide teachers on how to best instruct kids who just don't enjoy reading,
and things to avoid as to not create any more reluctant readers in your
ask questions about stuff that has nothing to do with the story.
ask us to remember quotations.
ask essay questions that are vague.
make us take tests over the books we read.
make us write book reports or give oral book reports. Just let us
write somethign short about the book we read or let us talk to you about
talk too much. Let the students talk about what they've read.
talk about what you think. I don't care what the teacher
thinks; I want to talk about what I think.
students speak about what they don't understand; let them decide
when it's time to stop reading in class so they can ask questions.
aloud to your students but keep it short.
decide what students have to read. Let them choose for themselves.
a pretty concise list of what reluctant readers want, and it is not
difficult to follow, especially with the thought in mind that doing these
things will help your students to enjoy reading more.