Learning how to read books: Use these proven methods for helping your learners to read

It can be tough for children who are first learning to read books. Often, learners in the earliest stages can become frustrated and want to give up. There are a variety of reasons for this. 

Regardless of the reason, what do you do if you find that some of your learners aren’t delighted to stuck into their next copy of Biff and Chip? Or if they’re scared and have developed a dreaded fear of reading?

Looking for lesson ideas and resources to help in the classroom? Check out this series of activities for While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill.

When it comes to teaching students how to read, there are a few things that teachers, parents and carers can do to help make the process a little easier. With the right tools and techniques, educators can help learners overcome their struggles and improve their reading skills. So don’t worry if you’re feeling stuck with helping your learners to read, we have you covered with this blog post! 

  1. Why do some learners struggle with a fear of reading?
  2. Why do learners become frustrated with learning to read books? 
  3. Why do learners find reading difficult?
  4. When do you need to be worried?
  5. 3 top tips for helping children learn how to read 
  6. The purpose of learning to read: Understanding the WHY of reading books 
  7. Why should teachers start with simpler texts and gradually increase the difficulty as learners improve their reading skills?
  8. Why is it important for learners to read for pleasure as well as for academic purposes?
  9. How can you help a child with a fear of reading?

Why do some children struggle with fear of reading?

Learners may struggle with fear of reading for multiple reasons. Some may have difficulty understanding the reading material presented to them, while others may have difficulty focusing or concentrating on the text. Some learners may have had negative experiences with reading in the past, such as being made fun of or feeling embarrassed when they make mistakes. Others may have difficulty with decoding words or understanding the meaning of words, which can lead to frustration and a fear of reading.

Please keep in mind that you aren’t alone if you find yourself worried about your learner’s progress with reading. Research from autumn 2020 suggests that learners had an average learning loss of 2 months in reading because of the educational disruption due to Covid-19.

Remember, lots of educators are going through exactly the same thing. However we aren’t completely powerless to help. It will take time and patience. Learning how to read books can be hard!

Putting pressure on yourself and them could be more damaging than good. Pressure can feed a fear of learning how to read and make it worse. Be as supportive and encouraging as possible to help let your learners know that it’s ok to read at their own pace. 

Why do learners become frustrated with learning to read books? 

Learners may become frustrated with learning to read for a variety of reasons. Some common causes of frustration include difficulty understanding the material, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material to learn, or feeling like they are not making progress. Additionally, learners may become frustrated if they are not given enough support or guidance from teachers or parents. Finally, learners may become frustrated if they are not given enough time to practice and develop their reading skills.

Why do some learners find reading difficult?

There are a number of reasons learners struggle with or have a fear of reading. In fact, of which are completely normal and to be expected. Here’s just a few:

  • They might find it hard to sit still and concentrate for a long time
  • As time’s gone on, their anxieties around reading have increased
  • They may have speech and language difficulties and/or hearing loss.
  • History of reading or spelling difficulties in the family (research suggests that this can be passed down when linked to dyslexia)
  • They may struggle with the difference between sounds in spoken words and the letters (very common)

Don’t forget age matters! If your struggling reader is an August baby, they will be almost a year younger than their peers. You should expect them to be a little behind in this case.

When do you need to be worried?

Your learners are completely unique (pointing out the obvious here I know). They’ll learn to read in a unique style and at their own speed.

I have seen many very intelligent children come (comparatively) late to reading. Often, they will have in fact struggled with it for a long time.

But if your Year 1 class is struggling, don’t panic. You could incorporate fun reading-based activities to get them started on their reading journey and help develop a reading culture in your school.

3 top tips for helping children learn how to read 

There are a number of different ways that students can be taught how to read books. Every learner is unique so it will definitely take some trialling and testing, but you will get there! 

To get you started in supporting learners to read, here are 3 top tips that you may want to consider: 

  1. Reading aloud 

One of the best ways to support learners who are practising reading is to have them read aloud. Reading aloud with children has many benefits. It helps to develop their language and literacy skills, encourages a love of reading, and strengthens the bond between adults and learners, which makes the whole process easier. Reading aloud also helps to build a child’s vocabulary, comprehension, and listening skills. Additionally, it can help to foster a sense of security and comfort in children. This helps them to better understand the text and to improve their reading fluency. 

2. Working with a partner

Another great way to learn to read is to read with a partner. Reading aloud with a partner is useful for children because it helps them to develop their reading skills, build their confidence, and increase their understanding of the material. It also encourages them to practice their pronunciation and intonation and to work on their fluency. Additionally, it can help them to develop their listening skills, as they must pay attention to their partner’s reading. Finally, it can be a fun and engaging way for children to learn.

3. Let them work at a pace that suits them 

Letting children learn to read at their own pace is important because it allows them to develop their literacy skills in a way that is comfortable and natural for them. It also helps to foster a love of reading and encourages children to explore their interests. Additionally, it allows children to develop their reading skills at a pace that is appropriate for their individual learning style and abilities.

The purpose of learning to read: Understanding the WHY of reading books 

One of the most important things is to make sure that students understand the purpose of reading. Once they know why they are reading, it becomes easier for them to focus on the task at hand and improve their skills. 

One way to help students understand the purpose of reading is to provide them with real-world examples of how reading can be beneficial. For example, you could show them how reading can help them gain knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and even help them become more successful in their future careers. 

Selecting books which are tailored to your learners’ specific interests may help them to understand why reading is so beneficial. Tailoring children’s books to their interests is also important because it helps to engage them in the reading process. When children are interested in the content of the book, they are more likely to pay attention and retain the information they are reading. Additionally, when children are exposed to books that are tailored to their interests, they are more likely to develop a love of reading and a positive attitude towards books.

Additionally, you could provide them with opportunities to read books that are relevant to their interests and provide them with guidance on how to analyze and interpret what they read. 

Why should teachers start with simpler texts and gradually increase the difficulty as learners improve their reading skills?

One helpful tip for teaching learners how to read is to take it one step at a time. Start with easy texts and gradually increase the difficulty as they improve. 

Gradually increasing the difficulty of books given to children helps to ensure that they are being challenged and are continuing to develop their reading skills. As children become more comfortable with reading, they can move on to more complex books that will help them to further develop their reading comprehension and fluency. 

This will also help to keep them engaged and motivated to continue reading. Gradually increasing the difficulty of books read will help ensure that students are not overwhelmed and give them the opportunity to really focus on the individual challenges of each text. 

Reading age of learners can be easily kept track of with Reading Hub. 

Why is it important for learners to read for pleasure as well as for academic purposes?

Every teacher in every school should be encouraging their students to read for pleasure as well as for academic purposes. 

Reading for academic purposes is important because it helps to build knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. It also helps to develop research and analytical skills, which are essential for success in school and beyond.

Reading for pleasure is important for learners because it helps to develop their language and literacy skills, encourages creativity and imagination, and can help to foster a lifelong love of reading. Reading for pleasure also helps to build a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world around them and can help to improve their concentration and focus. Additionally, reading for pleasure can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and can provide an escape from the pressures of everyday life.

We have lots more on the topic of reading for pleasure on our Reading Mate blog, in articles such as this one. 

How can you help a child with a fear of reading?

  1. Ask questions – identifying where the fear or anxiety of reading comes from is the first step in tackling the problem. What scares them the most and how can you alleviate that fear?
  2. Plan ahead of time – if you’re able to prepare learners this can go a long way in taking the pressure off them. If possible, allow them to have a look at their books first before the expectation of reading.
  3. Encourage relaxation – when your mind is somewhat distracted it’s hard for fear to control us. Using a stress ball (or even some blue-tac) to distract hands when reading might just be distraction enough to take the edge off the fear of reading.
  4. Give your learner a voice – though not always possible, letting your learner choose what they read will encourage them to take control. It means they are more likely to find enjoyment in what’s in front of them. (Your learners will be able to choose from 1,250 books (soon to be 5000) through our Reading Hub software.)
  5. Praise, praise, praise – you know your learners best so how you praise will be individual to them. But praising them for overcoming their fear – no matter how big or small their achievement – will positively reinforce the reading behaviours you want to see.

Conclusion

Reading books is an invaluable skill that can open up a world of knowledge and understanding. It can help every learner to develop their critical thinking skills, expand their vocabulary, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. With practice and dedication, every learner can become a better reader and reap the rewards of a lifetime of learning. 

Every child deserves to read because reading is an essential skill that helps to develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Reading also helps to expand a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Reading can also be a source of joy and entertainment and can help to foster a love of learning.

Would you like to support your learners who find reading a challenge? Reading Hub can help you!

Related articles:
Co-founder Hannah Rix
Written by Co-founder, Hannah Rix

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 − 2 =