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Kids have to read all day in school. So if you have a struggling or unfocused reader, he may resist doing it at home. Avoid the battle of the book by introducing these fun formats.

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Friends reading comics together
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Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Illustration rules when it comes to comics and graphic novels. But the words carry the story along. For kids with reading issues, graphics make it easier to follow the action. And the text is broken down into bite-size segments. Most important, comics and graphic novels are entertaining. If your child is drawn to them instead of traditional books, don’t stand in the way. They offer plenty of reading practice—and great illustrations, too!

Close up of a tween girl lying on the couch looking online
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Social Media and Blog Posts

You may not realize it, but if your child loves spending time on social media, he’s already doing a lot of reading. Even if the posts or tweets are short, they still count! Turn that interest into a fun assignment. If he’s a sports fan, have him follow Sports Center’s tweets and give you a daily highlight. Or follow a blog and give weekly updates. You’ll send the message that reading is everywhere.

Sisters laughing and whispering together
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Joke Books

Everyone loves a good laugh. And if kids can get that by reading, it’s a big plus. For struggling readers, joke books can be a compelling way to practice. Jokes can also provide a subtle exercise in reading fluency. Explain to your child that comedy is all about timing, so he’ll want to read his favorite jokes aloud many times to perfect his delivery. Encourage him to share the jokes with friends or siblings.

A young girl dressed in an apron and hat consulting a cookbook
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Cookbooks, Menus and Online Recipes

If your child loves cooking and food, menus and recipes can be a fun way to practice reading skills. They all can provide general literacy practice, but each format also reinforces different skills. Help your child have fun with it. Come up with a cooking project together and read through some recipes for ideas. Or have your child research menus online to help him create an ideal menu for his own future restaurant!

Young girl reading the newspaper with her family
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Magazines and Newspapers

Kids who resist books may not be as wary of a shorter format, whether it’s the paper version or online. Even browsing headlines or TV listings is practice reading. Show your child the benefits of being informed by reading newspapers and magazines yourself. Or read out loud together. Have each family member, including him, find an item each day to share with everyone at the dinner table.

Father and son sitting outdoors enjoying the computer together
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Tablet Apps and eBooks

Reading books on a screen is just as valuable for your child as reading a traditional book. If he loves technology, and you have a tablet, treat him to downloaded books. Sometimes, just the difference in format is exciting enough to engage a reluctant reader. There are many free apps, but you’ll have to pay for the books themselves.

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About the Author

Portrait of Louise Baigelman

Louise Baigelman

Louise Baigelman, M.Ed., is the executive director of Story Shares, a nonprofit literacy hub that generates and distributes high-quality stories for teen and adult beginning readers.

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