(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

This garbage bin behind a strip mall in Skaha Lake Road was set alight on Friday night at 11 p.m. The foam from firefighters can be seen on the ground. (Facebook)
Dumpster fire comes too close to Penticton seniors’ complex

One resident worries Penticton might have a fire bug

The Town of Oliver is lobbying for funds to fix part of an irrigation system damaged by a rock slide last year that would have a huge impact on farmers and the entire region. File photo
Province to finish funding for Oliver irrigation system repairs

The irrigation system was damaged after a rockslide in 2016

Theo's now delivering to Summerland
Penticton Greek restaurant now delivering to Summerland

Theo’s restaurant is the first to deliver food to Summerland in their ‘Squidmobile’

The Vees are on their fourth straight win as they head into game five of Pod Season on Sunday. (Cheri Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees keep winning streak alive with 5-3 win

The Vees are now 4-0 to start the BCHL pod season

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read