Literacy · Uncategorized

How to Develop a Healthy Reading Habit

blur-books-clips-246521(Photo by Miguel Constantin Montes from Pexels)

March. The third month of the year, my birthday month, and the month to commemorate my most treasured activity – reading! 1 March saw us observing World Book Day.

World Book Day is one of my favourite days. Not only is it a day to celebrate what I love but it is also a day I reminisce a wonderful childhood spent curled up with a book in hand. While there are adults who discover reading in later years, after stumbling upon a genre they enjoy, the majority of bookworms have been reading since they were very young. A love for reading most often begins early. Just like a lot of other matters in childhood, reading must be encouraged gently and lovingly. I know this is easier said than done, especially with struggling readers.

As a learning support professional, I am more than familiar with the challenges and lack of interest that children and teenagers with learning difficulties face with reading. However, I still believe in making literature accessible to all. Stories help navigate the world, make sense of our circumstances and broaden our perspective. A sound vocabulary lends to increased emotional awareness and regulation. A person who is able to express his/her feelings accurately is far better equipped to traverse the world compared to one who has a limited set of words to draw from. Reading enables us to imagine, question and simply be present. If only we recognised the power of engaging these cognitive processes.

Here are a few strategies for struggling readers, including commonly known ones, to imbibe a love for stories. These are in no particular order.

  1. Take turns reading aloud, even with children in secondary school!
  2. Choose books with reader-friendly fonts and font sizes.
  3. Read along or listen to audio books.
  4. Talk to the school/community librarian and ask for book recommendations.
  5. Book shares among friends and family members can be a fun way to instill reading habits.
  6. Set a time to read daily.
  7. Read on a device.
  8. Create a reading/story corner where one can retreat for a quick ‘escape’ from reality. Place cushions, a favourite soft toy, candles, more books or anything that might help associate reading with positive emotions.
  9. Use a reading ruler.
  10. Adults can be good role models by making sure they are seen reading frequently.
  11. Choose a genre or topic of interest to read about.
  12. Magazines, comics, plays, poems and even speeches are good reading materials for struggling readers.
  13. Choose smaller books which are quicker to finish if slow reading is a concern.
  14. Look up the meanings of words by having a dictionary handy nearby.
  15. Use assistive technology like a Reader Pen or apps that convert text to speech.
  16. Keep phones and other electronic devices away from you while reading to avoid distractions.
  17. Set realistic goals and do not compare to others’ reading levels. Everyone grows at their own perfect pace.
  18. Talk to friends and family about the book.
  19. Develop other strengths. For struggling readers, it helps to have other skills they are good at to help build self-esteem.
  20. Finally, the purpose of reading is comprehension. Do not to forget to check for understanding with what, who, where, when and why questions at the very least.

If a student exhibits signs of, or has a diagnosed learning disability, he/she will require further screenings and/or intervention in addition to what is mentioned here.




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