Learning 23 Oct 2018

How to motivate & engage reluctant readers

By Stojana Popovska, TK teacher-librarian
Photograph by CIS Communications

Reading is important for everyone, especially for children who have much to learn about our world. After all, as Dr Seuss said, “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” With this in mind, Stojana organised a library bytes session at the TK library on October 3 to help parents with the following questions:

  • Why is reading important?
  • What is considered a ‘just right’ book for your child?
  • Should children read e-books, graphic novels or comic books?
  • How do you motivate and encourage reluctant readers?
  • Where can you find book recommendations?

It was a fruitful session as Stojana shared some very useful tips with parents on how to transform their child from a reluctant reader to a well-read bookworm. Here are some of her recommendations:

  1. Change the location of where you read or simply change the reading routine. A great way to do this is to use a creative reading log that has ideas on reading spots and reading choices. Check off activities you’ve already covered, so your child feels a sense of accomplishment.  
  2. Contrary to popular opinion, graphic novels actually make good reading material for children who find reading prose challenging.
  3. Book trailers often provide a good overview of a particular book, so it’s good for you and your child to watch them before you decide on which books to select (whether you’re borrowing from the school library or purchasing in a bookstore).
  4. Movies based on children’s books are a good way to motivate your child to read the book. Great examples include Charlotte’s Web and Coraline.
  5. Encourage your child to join an online book club.
  6. Get your child to listen to audiobooks and have them follow the plot with a print copy.
  7. Read to your child and get him or her to do the same with you! Reading together not only helps you connect with your child, it also helps to develop his listening and language skills.
  8. Reward your child when he or she hits an important reading milestone. In the long run, book vouchers will make a better reward than ice cream or pizza. Buy a voucher from your favorite bookstore or go online book shopping together.
  9. Visit www.readbrightly.com for useful tips on reading, book recommendations, author features, and more.
  10. Work with your child’s teacher and librarian to come up with a reading strategy that will motivate and support your little reluctant reader.

Last but not least, don’t be discouraged if your child’s progress seems slow. Keep up the good work, be patient and see what happens. Above all, set a good example for your child by being an ardent reader yourself! If you'd like to know more about what our libraries have to offer, look out for upcoming Library Bytes session info in the Friday 'Week at a Glance' newsletter.


  1. Why graphic novels are storytelling quicksand for reluctant readers (in a good way)
  2. Random House book trailers
  3. 50 great movies based on children’s books
  4. Brightly online book club
  5. Audiobooks on Audible
  6. Goodreads