Suggested by Barbara H:I think that, in order to encourage a reluctant reader, you have to make reading a major part of the home environment. Leave books all around the house, especially books that might be interesting to that child. Talk about books at the dinner table. Take weekly trips to the library or bookstore. Turn off the TV and computers for a certain amount of time each night and have the whole family read. For a really reluctant reader, get him/her engaged by reading books featuring favorite TV or movie characters (They're everywhere!) or read a book as a family and then watch the movie so you can talk about the differences. This last trick works really well with longer books such as the Harry Potter or Narnia series.
How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”
Personally, I think it's dangerous to force a reluctant reader to read. The likelihood that s/he will become resentful of reading as something that's forced is pretty high. It's a rare child who will be forced to read and then take off with it on his/her own. Instead, show the child how much fun reading can be. That'll speak volumes.
What do you think? How would you encourage a reluctant reader?