Tips for Reluctant Readers

Tips for Reluctant Readers

What does a parent do if their child does not want to read? 

Here are some suggestions:

1. Listen carefully to your child when he shows an interest in something. For example, if he
tells you about a cool animal on the Discovery Channel or a new student who is coming to
school, make a mental note of such conversations. When you are at the library, you can find
books on almost any topic. Ask the librarian for help in finding the appropriate books for your
child. If the book is too difficult, read it together. Remember, a child’s interest fades quickly,
so don’t wait too long to get a book!

2. When you go to the library, have your child choose some books on his own. Choice is a
strong motivator. Have your child read a few pages to you. If he misses 5 words out of 100,
the book is too difficult for him to read by himself. Take turns reading together or echo read it
—the child repeats the sentence after you.

3. Model reading in your home. Set a time when the whole family reads together. Share some
points from each of your books. If your child sees you reading, he is likely to copy your

4. Make reading an enjoyable activity. Praise even the smallest achievement. Be positive,
reading is a difficult task to accomplish. Elaborate on the story. Read character voices in
different tones. Yell out phrases like, “I’m going to huff, and I’m going to puff, and blow your
house down!” Make the story more interesting with props, using common things around the
house. For example, put a big hat on your child’s head or wrap a sheet around your child when
he reads.

5. When you see some spark of interest, set small goals with your child. Read one page every
night. Use chart paper and chart the nights he reads. Then he can see for himself if he’s
achieving his goal.

Sadly, research is showing a growing number of children are becoming apathetic readers.
Some of these children are choosing not to read, not because it’s difficult, but because they
don’t want to. Yet, skillful reading is the basis of successful education; we must encourage our
children to read.