I am asked quite often how to improve a child's reading. I believe it is simply to read. Parents come back to me and say, I cannot 'make' my child read. Here are some ideas you might want to try. When my children were younger we had to drive from activity to activity often miles apart and I used this time to play a book on tape--now discs and MP3 downloads are available. The books we played were available at our local library and the bookstore. We also found some at the used book stores and garage sales as well. When my children were small an Arthur book such as, Arthur's Pet Business, took us to school. We usually could go through two or three books in activities around town. As my children got older we listened to a variety of books such as: Charlotte's Web, The BoxCar Children Mysteries, Magic Treehouse Mysteries, The Series of Unfortunate Events by L. Snickett, books from the Charlie Bone series, Inkspell, Eragon, Harry Potter, etc. The children sometimes could not wait until we got into the car again and would find the book to see what would happen next. I also would check out other books on tape for myself so I could listen and talk with them about them. Though the children were not reading the books themselves, they were exposed to wonderful literature, good writing and story plots, and the book was a shared experience. We also had reading time at night before bed. We would read to the children or they could read to themselves for the fifteen minutes before lights out. When the kids were small this was a a special time together, as they got older it was a programmed part of their day. When the children read on their own we made a point to talk about the books they were reading. We went to the library often, we met the librarians, we also would shop at the our local bookstore and look for new books every so often. My children love to read.
When you have a struggling reader, listening to a book on tape allows them to experience the story orally. If a child reads along with the tape, this will also improves reading fluency. Also your child and a buddy could share reading (partner reading). One reads the first page or two and then the partner reads the next page or two. This activity makes reading more fun and it seems less arduous to a struggling reader. This also allows the readers to share the book and discuss it. These activities take a little pre-planning, but very little of your time. These experiences help with reading and make a memory of a wonderful shared book experiences.