Does your child love to read? If the answer is 'yes', then you are blessed. I have one son that absolutely loves to read! I had to take books away from him at one point because he was staying up all hours of the night reading! Don't worry, he got them back the next day ;)
I also have one son who does NOT like to read. He struggles with reading. We've used several successful programs but for the free reading, well that has been challenging.
First, why free reading? I do believe that children need to experience free reading and part of their education to help them
not only understand that reading can be fun, but also to learn how to
sound things out and learn on their own a bit. If they are reading
something they enjoy, and they mispronounce a word, the sentence will
not make sense. They will notice right away and want to figure out
their mistake so they can get the just (or climax) of their story that they are so interested in.
So lets get back to the issue about helping a child love to read that is struggling. My solution is why not let your child read what he/she enjoys? Do they like Star Wars? My son loves it! Why not let him read those books for school (free reading time)? It will keep him interested and they are free at the library. Most of the Star Wars books I have found were above his reading level, so I let him pick others out. He chose 'Captain Underpants'. Now, if you all don't know what those are, in my opinion, they are stupid. This is from a mother's standpoint, which usually is the one standpoint that counts. BUT, they do not contain anything graphic, violent, cussing, etc. so I let him read them. I ask myself if stupid books (again, in the mother's opinion) are not education in anyway, should I allow him to read them? I am saying 'yes', unless they are disrespecting our family based, Christian faith life.
The most important thing here is to get him/her to love reading. So these silly, non-educational books may not be my first, second or even 10'th choice.........at least he is reading. I do believe that if a child reads what he/she wants to, they will learn to love to read.