Friday, March 22, 2013


Beating The "I Hate To Read" Syndrome

Dyslexic and struggling readers are noted for the "I hate to read" syndrome. Usually after working for a number of years on decoding skills, struggling readers decide that reading just isn't fun. They see others in their class reading all kinds of interesting books and having all kinds of fun, but they're not having any fun. Reading boils down to, "Now let's get into a small circle and practice our skills." These skills have been practiced ad nauseam with slow results. Then by third and forth grade dyslexic student's reading gets confined to textbooks. Lets face it textbooks are BORING!!! So, for most struggling students reading is very difficult and boring. So the natural response is, "I hate to read."

Why do proficient readers like to read? Besides being easy for them, books are filled with interesting stories. As oppose to facing boring or under age books, proficient readers choose exciting and fun books to read. Proficient readers often choose their books, while dyslexic readers are told to read required books.

What is the solution? One great solution is the being "Read To" experience. Who doesn't love listening to a great story? I know that I do. What one needs to recognize is that being "Read To" is READING. Reading is absorbing language and being Read To is absorbing language.

Listening to books levels the playing field for struggling readers. If the dyslexic or struggling reader were blind, no one would question that being "Read To" is reading. I have a number of blind friends who are quite proficient in Braille. But for the majority of my blind friends listening to books as their major way to read, braille is very, very secondary for them. Reading To comes in a number of formats. One way is for one person to read to another person. Audiobooks are also great. Then a very liberating experience is to have a computer or an iPod Touch read an ebook aloud.

There are struggling readers who definitely prefer someone they know to read to them. The familiar voice of a parent or the presence of children from their class reading is often engaging and motivating. For some readers alternative like audiobooks are not personal enough. We all love to share our moments of joy and engagement with special people. A good book is a fun experience when especially shared with others.

Audiobooks are very popular. Audiobooks are recorded by professional narrators who read very clearly and with good expression. This is like spending an evening with a great storyteller. Three great advantages of audiobooks are:
They capture and maintain interest in reading.
They develop comprehension skills that are needed for all that knowledge based reading.
They increase a readers vocabulary.

Studies show that the majority of adults get audiobooks from their local public library. I get my audiobooks from and the Apple iTunes Store to use on my iPod Touch. A great source for audiobooks for young readers and adolescents is the app called Tales2Go. Tales2Go is a $9.99 monthly subscription service with more than 1,500 commercially produced audiobooks. Many of the same audiobooks that are for sale at When looking for an audiobook, it is best to go on the Internet and listen to the audio samples available at In this way you can see if the narrator catches the readers interest. Also look for audiobooks that match the reader's age and gender interests.

A computer, iPod Touch/iPad, Kindle Fire HD, or a Nexus Tablet can read books aloud. The advantage of these devices is the large selection of books. Nowadays, there are millions of ebooks to choose from. These devices use text-to-speech voices to read the books aloud. Computerized voices are greatly improved and are based on an actual person's voice.

I've read a number of blog posts from dyslexic readers. Firstly, they say that the Reading To and Reading Along experience makes them avid readers. Today there is a large selection of ebooks to read. In this way a reader can find what interests them. We all love to do what we like and what interests us. Second, the Read To experience allows the reader to follow the text during read along time. This greatly, improves a readers own reading. The experience of seeing, hearing, and processing the words builds connections for read by oneself. Reading along while being read to cements the reading process in the brain. Just remember neurons that fire together wire together. Thirdly and most importantly, reading interesting books helps to increase social bonding. Struggling readers who use being Read To approach to reading most often mention an increase in friendships. A good book shared with others is a fun experience. So put on the headphones and read an interesting book.

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