How to Encourage Prereaders

When a group of children gather, there will invariably be a large range of skills and ability. Some children excel at reading, while others are slower readers. Some are just learning how to read. The best scenario for Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors is to divide children into age-level groups to manage the differences in reading ability. Whether or not that is possible, here are some pointers to encourage prereaders and minimize potential embarrassment: 

  1. Never require a child to read out loud, especially if he or she is uncomfortable or doesn't want to read aloud.
  2. Avoid reading through the magazines as a regular part of your meeting. Hands-on activities are more meaningful to children and allow prereaders to be successful. 
  3. Provide activities that require minimal reading. GA Leader and RA Leader have hints and activities specifically designed for prereaders. Many other activities can be easily adapted for prereaders. 
  4. Determine the reading ability levels of the children. Partner higher-level readers with middle-level readers and middle-level readers with beginning-level readers. It is not recommended to pair higher-level and beginning-level readers together to avoid possible frustration and embarrassment. Never let children know you decided to rate their reading levels. 
  5. In your ministry to children as their leader, instill the value of encouragement. When a child struggles to read, encouragement and acceptance are needed so he or she feels affirmed, not mocked or rejected. 


by Jennifer Smith

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