What do you do when your kid doesn't want to read?

Perhaps the most asked question for any reading specialist is, "My kid doesn't like to read, what do I do?" I assumed that we would never have this problem because we always seem to be reading. Unfortunately, I was wrong. My oldest took to books like a kid in a candy shop, but my second would rather do jobs than pick up a book on her own.

I have talked to her teachers, the reading specialist at school, and even other moms. The advice given is often the same, "The more they read, the more they will like it." To which my response is, "Yes, I realize that, but how do I get them to read?"

That much being said, I put my brainstorming skills to work and came up with a few suggestions that have helped us.
  • Talk to your kids and find out why they don't like to read. Seems easy right? Well, learn from me and don't try to have this conversation when they are doing their school reading, it won't work. The only time I could get my daughter to spill her guts was at night when she was in bed, "supposedly" sleeping. You may not get the full spill, but you might get some clues.
  • Try a different type of book. My son loved adventure, my daughter does not. Other girls love fairy series, she does not. She loves animal fiction. Give her a book about animals and she will usually finish it.
  • Check the levels of the books your kid wants to read. No matter how much they may want to read a particular book, if it is too hard, they will get frustrated. Don't tell them to hold off on the book, rather, get it for them as an audiobook instead.
  • Audiobooks are excellent ways to get your kids excited about reading. They will help comprehension skills, fluency skills, and overall reading enjoyment! Many teachers will count listening to books towards reading minutes if the child follows along. Be sure to ask!
  • Order magazines your kids might be interested in: Highlights, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Boys Life, American Girl, National Geographic for kids, whatever may cause a spark. Plus, kids love getting mail.
  • Pick books that have movies to go along with them. Then, after they have finished the book, have a themed movie night. For example, only after our kids finish each Harry Potter, can they see the movie. We find themed snacks, such as licorice wands, and pumpkin pasties and party on.
  • Find a book to read together, and then invite their friends over for a mother/daughter or father/son book club.
  • Break up reading time. If they have to read for 30 minutes a day, break it up! Do 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes before bedtime.
  • Read with your child! Alternate you read a page, they read a page or even you just do all the reading. If you are interested in reading with them, they will want to do it more.
Now obviously you can't do all of these suggestions at once. That would be a bit of overkill, but a little goes a long way!

Happy Reading,

1 comment:

  1. Okay Liz,
    You and Becky are my heroes for starting this blog. My boys love to read, my daughter can take it or leave it. I discovered this was mostly due to my forcing genres onto her that she just isn't interested in (in some cases, just not yet).

    I get frustrated when a kid starts a series then loses interest. I have realized it's better to let them quit and pick up a new book, then have a resentment toward reading.

    Thanks for all the great tips. I just ordered 8 Classics from Deseret Book and hope to do a Mother/Daughter read with Emily.


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