When we truly love something, it becomes a visceral experience: we laugh and smile, we feel energetic, optimistic, and time seems to go by quickly. And more often than not, we are compelled to return to the source, hoping to repeat these feelings again. While many of us have had visceral experiences reading books, a good number of our struggling readers haven’t even come close. One way to help students experience this is by creating what Esmé Raji Codell, author of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, calls positive and collaborative reading experiences.
Below we’ve given you 10 prompts that you can use to initiate conversations and share your enthusiasm for books with struggling readers. While teachers will find these reading prompts useful, many of them have been created specifically with parents in mind.
10 things parents can say to struggling readers
- “You can stay up as late as you want tonight, as long as you are reading.”
- “I remember you telling me that you just finished reading Charlotte’s Web in class, so I rented the movie. I thought it would be fun to see how the movie and book were different from one another.”
- “Here’s a flashlight and some snacks. I’ve set up a reading fort for you in the closet so you’ll have a private spot to read.”
- “I’ve been saving this present for a rainy day. Here’s a new book; it was my favorite when I was your age.”
- “I know waiting in the doctor’s office is boring. I brought this for you; it’ll make the time fly by.”
- “I get bored when I’m folding laundry. Would you keep me company by reading me something interesting?”
- “Tell me about that book I saw you reading. The cover looked interesting.”
- “This is an interesting book cover. Why do you think that the illustrator chose these colors? Would you have illustrated the main character differently? Can you think of another scene that would have made a great book cover? What made you choose that scene?”
- “I’m really glad you’re reading Big Frank’s Fire Truck. I noticed that the firefighters at the station down the street wash their truck every Thursday morning. Would you be interested in walking there sometime so that we could meet them?
- “I saw you reading Meet George Washington last night. Did you know that one of his wife’s favorite desserts was Shrewsbury cake? I found a recipe in a book at the library and thought we could make it tonight after dinner.”
If you are looking for more ways to engage struggling readers, you might be interested in two of our recent blogs, 5 Reading Strategies you can share with your students' parents, and Reading Teachers: Book Wink has heard your students’ cries for help.