Benefits of Different Reading Materials for Struggling Readers

Benefits of Different Reading Materials for Struggling Readers

Do you have struggling readers in your classroom? Why not try different reading materials such as graphic novels, non-fiction books or magazines? A new format could be the very thing your students need to develop more interest in reading.

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Benefits of Different Reading Materials for Struggling Readers​

There are many different types of children’s books. If your child is a reluctant reader, why not try graphic novels, non-fiction books or magazines. A new format could be the very thing they need to develop more interest in reading.

Below you will find a rundown of the benefits of each type of reading types, including:

  1. Picture Books
  2. Beginning Chapter Books
  3. Chapter Books
  4. Graphic Novels
  5. Non-Fiction Books
  6. Magazines
  7. Audiobooks

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1. Picture Books

Picture books provide an engaging experience for anyone of any age. They may seem like they are only for the young, but many have powerful messages for anyone to appreciate. Illustrations are integral to picture books. If we read aloud picture books the listener can absorb the message of the story through the pictures.

Benefits of PICTURE BOOKS for struggling readers include:

  • introducing the concept of reading and increasing vocabulary knowledge. 
  • supporting understanding new words through illustrations.
  • encouraging conversation and discussion skills.
  • strengthening visual and critical thinking skills by helping your students connect their observations with their thought process.
  • developing art appreciation through the illustrations.
  • promoting self-confidence as the reader has control over the pacing, including stopping to look at the illustrations, revisiting previous pages and pausing.
  • introducing complex or difficult themes in a safe environment. There is probably a picture book written about any topic you can imagine!
  • improving writing skills as exposure to new words, grammar and punctuation will find their way into independent writing.
  • encouraging love and joy of reading!!

2. Beginning Chapter Books

Easy readers or beginning chapter books are created for emerging independent readers. The books have illustrations, supported by the carefully chosen text. They also introduce children to a range of genres seen in chapter books and develop patience as they can’t always be read in one session.

Benefits of BEGINNING CHAPTER BOOKS for struggling readers include:

  • ease the transition to chapter books.
  • increasingly complex vocabulary and sentence structure.
  • lengthier texts broken into easy-to-digest chapters.
  • illustrations that add detail and help hold interest.
  • illustrations that help the reader decode unknown words through comprehension.

3. Chapter Books

As your students become confident, independent readers they move onto chapter books. They have few or no illustrations and the choice of books and genres grows significantly from easy reader books. They have more complex themes and vocabulary which makes comprehension crucial.

Benefits of CHAPTER BOOKS for struggling readers include:

  • developing imagination as the reader visualises the characters, places and adventures, etc.
  • developing creativity to predict and infer events and actions.
  • improving patience as chapter books take time to read. Also, waiting for the next book in a series requires patience.
  • independence of choosing own books in their favourite genres.
  • reading independently at the readers own pace.
  • increasing comprehension because of complexity and lack of illustrations.

4. Graphic Novels

Graphic novels promote literacy and improve self-esteem. Some children find traditional chapter books frustrating because of the length and more complex storytelling. The graphic novel format gives children confidence while increasing reading and language skills. Finishing and enjoying a graphic novel can lead to a sense of accomplishment for a reluctant reader.

Benefits of GRAPHIC NOVELS for struggling readers include:

  • helping those struggling with language acquisition to gain new vocabulary and increase English proficiency.
  • improving reading pace as the reader can slow down to look at the images alongside the text leading to improved comprehension.
  • developing critical reading skills as illustrations provide contextual clues to understand the written narrative.
  • using a range of literary devices, including narrative structures, metaphors and symbolism, point of view, alliteration, inference and the use of puns.
  • supporting visual learners to understand the emotional context through facial expressions, comprehending the meaning and foreshadowing from the illustrations.

5. Non-Fiction Books

Non-fiction books help children gain knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Unlike fictions books, your students don’t have to be read from cover to cover as they can focus on what they are interested in. You will also find joke books, fairy tales, folklore and poetry in the non-fiction section of a library.

Benefits of NON-FICTION books for struggling readers include:

  • strengthening vocabulary and literacy knowledge. The informational text builds word knowledge and visual literacy through reading diagrams, tables, labels, quick facts, etc.
  • supporting success through a child’s academic life by reading to learn not learning to read. They will face more complex non-fiction texts as they move through school and into the world.
  • preparing children to handle real-life reading by being able to read and write informational texts.
  • appealing to personal preferences as some children simply prefer non-fiction.
  • supporting reading for a purpose as choosing a book for interests is likely to improve. Reading that answers their real questions leads to higher achievement and motivation.

6. Magazines

Magazines are colourful and inviting so more likely to engage struggling readers, as they can flip between many and short articles. There is a huge choice of magazines for children of all ages with different reading levels and interests. They educate and entertain, often holding the reader’s attention and firing up their imagination. 

Another advantage to magazines is that they arrive in the shops or through the letterbox periodically. This leads to familiarity with the magazine, its layout and themes.

Teachers can use magazines in the classroom in shared reading sessions or as a research tool. Many magazines have non-fiction characteristics such as diagrams, labels, fact boxes, photographs, maps, charts and graphs. You may also find catalogues, leaflets and brochures you can also use in similar ways.

Benefits of MAGAZINES for struggling readers include:

  • providing current articles with up-to-date information, particularly relevant if it is non-fiction or news related
  • motivating discussion between classmates and friends. I have seen small groups of children pouring over magazine articles and sharing the reading load.
  • short articles which build confidence for struggling readers. They can read about their interests and finish an article in one session.
  • helping reluctant readers feel more confident. Reading a magazine is not as daunting as a book. 
  • accompanying illustrations and photos to promote the reader’s comprehension and interest.
  • waiting for the next magazine edition gives opportunities to practice patience.

These magazine covers give you some idea of the different magazines for children. If you follow the Amazon link, you can order subscriptions straight to your door.

7. Audiobooks

Audiobooks are not ‘cheating’! They are another way for information to reach a child’s brain. Audiobooks help struggling readers access and enjoy books above their reading level. They can listen for meaning rather than decoding words.

Another advantage of audiobooks is being able to play them on mobile devices. Your students can listen to them with family and friends in the classroom, at home, in a car or on holiday, leading to natural discussion and increased comprehension opportunities.

The benefits of AUDIOBOOKS for struggling readers include:

  • providing current articles with up-to-date information, particularly relevant if it is non-fiction or news related
  • motivating discussion between classmates and friends. I have seen small groups of children pouring over magazine articles and sharing the reading load.
  • short articles which build confidence for struggling readers. They can read about their interests and finish an article in one session.
  • helping reluctant readers feel more confident. Reading a magazine is not as daunting as a book. 
  • accompanying illustrations and photos to promote the reader’s comprehension and interest.
  • waiting for the next magazine edition gives opportunities to practice patience.

These magazine covers give you some idea of the different magazines for children. If you follow the Amazon link, you can order subscriptions straight to your door.

You can sign up for a free Audible trial on Amazon. You can also check out Playways, mini portable audio books for children.

In Conclusion...

Having magazines, brochures, leaflets, etc around the home or the classroom provides children with greater access to reading material and more opportunities for reading. Do you find students in your class gravitate towards a certain type of reading material? If so, how do you cater for their reading preferences? Let me know in the comments below. It would be great to have a selection of recommended books to choose from when I update this post.

Related Posts

Further Reading

More Books to Explore

The Children’s Library Lady has over 150 picture books on a large variety of topics. You will find book, author and illustrator information, as well as resources. You can also browse themed books lists and explore all the books on the website. 

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