Your Cart is Empty

How Do You Motivate A Struggling Reader?

How Do You Motivate A Struggling Reader?

Motivation is just one aspect of learning to read, but it is an incredibly important one. Keeping children interested and engaged helps to set them up for future reading success, and makes reading a much more enjoyable experience for them.

Unfortunately, issues with reading and motivation can create a negative cycle, as children struggling to read can become less inclined to apply themselves.

Here are some of the common signs of a struggling reader and strategies that you can use to encourage and motivate them.


Common signs children may be struggling


  • Skipping words in a sentence and not stopping to self-correct

  • Attempting new words is an essential part of learning, however if children are skipping over new words or not trying to correct themselves, it can be a sign that they are not engaging with the material or are not feeling confident in their skills.

  • Actively avoiding reading

  • When children are struggling in their reading development, they may actively avoid reading activities, get distracted easily, or become anxious. If they are avoiding it as much as possible, or approaching it with a negative or defeated attitude, it’s a clear sign that they don’t feel confident in their skills.


  • Difficulty with rhyming words

    Phonological awareness is important for literacy development, as it helps children connect letters with sounds. Developing rhyming skills through reading is one of the benefits of phonics in early years. Through this, they will better understand how language works and will broaden their vocabulary. There are many different reasons why children have difficulty with rhyming words, but it may be an indicator that a child is struggling with their reading progress.


    5 ways to motivate a young reader


  • Read aloud to them

    Sometimes it takes a single story to captivate young readers and motivate them to engage in reading activities. Storytelling is a powerful way of gaining attention and developing interest and curiosity.

    Use a range of reading materials and stories to read aloud to them until you find something that resonates. You can encourage them to engage by discussing the story or characters, taking turns reading a page, and making predictions about what happens next.


  • Create a comfortable reading space

    Making a comfortable space for reading can help children focus and reduce anxiety around the process of reading. Comfort includes both in the physical environment (such as a cosy, quiet seat in the house) and their approach to reading.

    By removing any pressure on them and showing support, they will feel more comfortable in their reading journey. Praise their strengths and achievements and be specific, such as mentioning how great their focus is or how hard they have been working.


  • Let them choose their own books from a suitable level

    It’s important to be open to different types of reading and allow children to choose their own reading materials. Just as children will learn and develop at different speeds, they will also gravitate towards different types of reading. If they are not engaging with a particular book or story, give them the option to choose their own. You can read it together first to give them the confidence to tackle it on their own.

    Allowing them this agency builds confidence and encourages them to engage with the process on their own terms.


  • Make reading activities fun

    Making reading a part of play is an effective way to entice even the most reluctant readers. Use activities like drawing and painting to help them understand the story, create incentives for reaching milestones, play word families games, or letter bingo.

    Interactive readers and workbooks with pictures, puzzles, multiple choice, and guessing games are also a great way to make reading fun and appealing.


  • Use audio tools to help

    Audio tools and reading aids help to engage all the senses while children are developing their literacy skills. Audio readers can be used alongside physical material to boost reading confidence and comprehension. Not only do audio tools assist in reading, they also help to improve pronunciation. Children that struggle to focus on physical reading activities may find audio assistance incredibly helpful.

    The best books for learning to read

    There are many benefits to phonics in early years, particularly in improving literacy development for children that may be struggling in their reading. Phonics demonstrates the relationship between word sounds and written language, allowing children to decode words as they read and better comprehend reading materials.

    These phonics resources are some of the best for helping struggling readers:

    The perfect pre-reading and writing workbook. It teaches the basic sounds of all of the letters, and is filled with pages of enjoyable games and activities.

    Following up with Readers and Word Skills 1-10 helps to build upon their skills as they learn to read. The pages are filled with engaging activities and phonics tools, and the additional audio assists in their learning development. 

    Helping teachers demonstrate phonics to groups of students, Big Books 1-10 are the same as the Readers 1-10 but printed in A3-size with enlarged print to be easily readable from metres away.

    If you have any questions about how phonics can benefit earlier readers or want to learn more about the phonics method, get in touch with our friendly team here.

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.