All teachers and parents want kids to read widely, but even if all children start learning to read at the same time, some are going to be left behind. These are reluctant readers, children, usually teenage boys, who either refuse to read or have trouble with reading in comparison with their classmates. It can have adverse effects later on in the child’s life when it comes time to take exams and apply for jobs and colleges. In the worst cases, it can set the reluctant reader back several years in their career, or even keep them from their dream job altogether.

Forcing books into the hands of reluctant readers and telling them that they have to read isn’t going to do any good, in fact it can turn kids away from books even more. Many parents may not have realized the benefit that the eBook revolution can have on reluctant readers. Here are just some of the ways that eBooks can encourage kids to read more:

  1. A more accessible format.
    Reluctant readers are often daunted by a book’s heavy volume, but they don’t have this problem with eReaders. Any parent will say that their kids are much quicker to grasp new technology than they are. Today’s children are practically raised by electronic screens and are able to retain information read on a screen much better than adults are. To young boys, reading a book isn’t ‘cool’ but using technology is, and eBooks provide more privacy that teenagers always crave. A study by Scholastic revealed that easy access to eBooks encouraged more children to read for fun.

  2. Additional content.
    EReaders and tablets come with features that enhance the reading experience. Reluctant readers can use the built in dictionary to look up unfamiliar words, make notes while they are reading, and quickly move onto the next book when they are finished. Parents needn’t be concerned with their children being distracted by other internet sites as they can look up websites related to their books such as Goodreads or Sparknotes.

  3. Free and cheap books.
    A reluctant reader won’t want to spend all of their allowance on a thick book that they might not be able to read. Some eBooks for kids on Nook and other online platforms are affordable and sometimes even free to fit a child’s allowance much better. If the reluctant reader is having trouble finding a book that is right for them, then they don’t need to worry about spending too much money.

  4. Find the books that they want.
    One of the main things holding back reluctant readers is that their parents choose their books for them. It is a nice gesture to pass on the books that you loved as a child on to your own children, but many of the books that you enjoyed when you were younger have become old fashioned to modern children. Trends in children’s literature change quickly. It may not make sense to you that your children enjoy The Hunger Games and Captain Underpants more than Black Beauty and Enid Blyton, but if these are the books that engage them, then they should be encouraged rather than condemned. Even comic books can introduce kids to the basics of reading and storytelling. It is best to gently encourage children to pick up books on their own and eventually you’ll find they will become more interested in your own childhood classics.

  5. EBooks are more adaptable
    Publishers have picked up on the eBook trend and are starting to adapt children’s books for the new format. Publishers such as Badger Learning are producing eBooks especially for reluctant readers. The company currently has 70 books and graphic novels in all genres for reluctant readers and are adding more all the time.

One of the great advantages of eBooks is that they provide a platform for shorter books, some of them only a few thousand words in length. This is much more digestible for a reluctant reader, and will give them satisfaction in completing a whole book and therefore more confidence in their reading ability.

If you have been reluctant to use eBooks to encourage a reluctant reader then give it a try as you will be astonished by the results. If your children haven’t begun to read widely yet, then perhaps they haven’t found the right book yet which engages and motivates them to read. An eReader makes this much easier. EBooks don’t discourage children from reading print books. The Scholastic study showed that 80 percent of children who read eBooks also read print books for fun. Try this approach and the next time you set your children loose in a bookshop or library, they will likely come back with armfuls of books that they are eager to read.

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