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Reading and dyslexia: maintaining motivation

Maintaining reading motivation for dyslexic children
Your child has got the building blocks, the confidence and the motivation to become a confident reader. But how do you keep it all going? We’ve got some clever suggestions for you to help keep dyslexic children engaged and enjoying their valuable reading time.

Make the transition easier by finding similar books

Don’t get ahead of yourself. If your child has found a book they like, ease them into further reading by helping them find similar books they might enjoy – if they're fans of Wimpy Kid or love Harry Potter, we have similar stories for them to sample, or look through our list of book recommendations for all ages and all interests to find the right reads for them.

Bear in mind that looks (and books) can be deceiving

When stepping up a notch, don’t suddenly switch from a book with lots of pictures to a dense, text-heavy book. Don’t allow harder books to look scary. 

Encourage your child to text their friends

This may go against everything you believe if you're not sure if your primary-school child is ready for a mobile phone, but remember they are still using language to communicate and the more they text, the more words they read. 

Leave notes for your child and encourage them to leave notes for you

Notes can be a nice, intimate way of communicating around the house and will encourage them to write creatively. 

Encourage emailing and (supervised) access to social networking sites

Electronic communication can be a great way to encourage and continue reading and writing. Try not to fret about time your child is spending on the computer if they’re reading and writing while they’re there (but do be very aware of how the sites your visits are monitored and moderated, never forgetting about their online safety). 

Write a blog

If your child has a hobby or a passion, encourage them to write a blog about it and link to other people’s blogs. The thrill of seeing your words published and read by other people can be quite empowering.

Read a blog

If they have a favourite popstar or sports star, help them keep up to date by reading their blog or website or social media feeds (if they are suitable for children!) regularly. Ask them questions about what they’ve read.  

Make sure the whole family makes time to read together

Maybe after homework time, switch off the TV and all read for pleasure or listen to a bedtime story together, even once your child can read independently. Audio books are another great way to help your child immerse themselves in narratives.

Buy your child a subscription to their favourite magazine

There’s nothing quite like looking forward to a new issue every week or month. Whatever they like to read about, we can recommend loads of brilliant educational magazines for kids.

Make reading part of general information-seeking

Try not to tell your child the answers to things. Encourage them to look up what they need to know, either in reference books or on the internet (with supervision). That way, reading becomes part of essential information gathering.

Write reviews of books

When you and your child have read a book, write a review of it. It doesn’t need to be much, but it will give them a chance to take stock of what’s happened and commit it to memory. It can also be useful to look at examples of book reviews written by children to get an idea of how to begin. Compare your reviews and have a healthy debate about what you read!

Write in the style of an author

Once your child’s reading and writing confidence has been developed, suggest they write small sections in the style of their favourite author. This will encourage them to look at what it is they admire about the writer.

Contact the author

If your child loves a book and the author is alive, let them know. Encourage your child to write them a letter or email (many authors will write back), make contact on Twitter (lots of authors have their own account) or visit a fan site or join a fan club if there is one (why not start one if there isn’t?). 

Play Scrabble (but let them cheat)

Word games might not be every dyslexic reader’s idea of fun, but if you let them cheat (by looking up the word first), they might enjoy playing more and learn essential skills in the process.

Get creative

If your child has enjoyed about, there are so many inventive ways they could respond to. Could they film a movie version? Present a news bulletin about it? Draw a picture of an important plot twist or a portrait of the main character? Code a version of the story in Minecraft? Whatever medium your child enjoys working in, always encourage their interest in responding to the written word.

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