5 Ideas for Kids Who Hate to Read

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Book Love by Melissa TaylorWhat do you do when your child hates to read?  It’s painful to see your child struggle and feel such negative emotions.  No doubt you’re wondering what you can do at home to help your child learn to love reading.  (Or at least like it.)

Try these 5 easy ideas at home with your reluctant reader. You can help your child’s reading confidence.  Once a child is a more confident reader, he or she will be less likely to hate it.


Read the page or sentence to your child. Let them whisper read with you, or echo read just after you.


Don’t force your child to continue reading a book that is too hard for them.


Let kids pick books on topics they’re interested in reading. Even if you aren’t.


Try comic books or graphic novels. 8 reasons why.


Read a book with your child in a book club style where you both talk about the book.  Have your child ask you questions about your favorite part.

Kids are like puzzles. Find what pieces fit for them and enjoy the journey of discovery.

Don’t forget to read yourself. Your kids are watching.

15 Responses

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  3. All great ideas. To continue on with the “comic, graphic novel” theme, children will also be more inclined to stick with a book if they can relate to the subject matter. Toddlers love books with real pictures of things that they see in their daily lives. They can identify with the story easier; if they are not interested in the words yet, then they often will make up a story about what they are seeing and eventually their curiosity will lead them into the story.

  4. Great ideas — thanks for sharing this very important information.

    Another idea for reluctant readers is Think It Ink It Publishing’s (www.thinkitinkitpublishing.com) professionally illustrated wordless picture books in which kids write the story and become authors. The pictures provide just the right amount of scaffolding to lessen the intimidation of a blank page. And we have seen reluctant readers SO PROUD to read their own writing that they are motivated to read other books because of this opportunity!

    Try it and let us know what happens!

  5. Thank you for the idea, the main problem with me also that I lose interest in finishing her book with her. I will try on the recommended steps again.

  6. My 5-year-old has never liked it, not even as a toddler. I struggle because I don’t want to force it if he hates it and make him hate it more, but he HAS to do it. These are great ideas, I really hope some of them work.

  7. If a child hates reading, perhaps it is because the way he is being taught sets up inefficient pathways in the brain. Inefficient processing makes reading hard work, and not fun (no matter how interesting the subject matter). Memorizing the appearance of words is a pattern recognition task. The right side of the brain is best at pattern recognition. Brain research shows that struggling readers use the right side of their brain, probably using pattern recognition strategies. But intervention with phonics not only improves their reading, but moves the brain activation to the left side where the meaning and pronunciation of words are stored. Learning to sound-out words is a better way to make sure that the 3 critical elements of reading–the visual appearance, the pronunciation, and the meaning are all stored together in the left hemisphere of the brain. With practice, the child no longer has to sound-out the words because the visual appearance is stored in the left side, and is efficiently connected to the meaning and the pronunciation of the word. A child will stop hating reading when reading is easy. Reading will be easy when reading pathways are efficient.

  8. Thanks so much for your kind comments, friends! I respect your websites tremendously – it means a lot.



  9. I’m just echoing what others have said. These are great and easy for busy parents to digest. Thank you!

  10. All 5 of these ideas are practical and easy to try. I think it is so important for kids, especially reluctant readers, to have a positive experience with reading. That means that if they enjoy comic books, graphic novels, or are interested in books on the iPhone or reading on the computer, go for it. Shakespeare can come later once they’ve developed their reading skills and a love of the written word!

  11. Great ideas! This is so important for parents to understand. I also would add one more: if we represent reading as a tool for life (as “choice” alludes to) instead of some academic exercise, we have a chance. Although I certainly celebrate how much more of the science of learning to read we understand for the classroom, I fear it has alienated a number of families and children who don’t relate easily to that world. When we treat reading as this practical avenue, we start to change the view of reading and make it a more personalized, attainable skill. I also have to say that “there is a book for every child”. Our challenge is to help that child find it!

  12. Damion Learning Exposures says:

    This is much needed. I like this site. Continue to encourage readers.

  13. Indeed, I agree with Book Chook….a quick and easily understood piece to give parents…and teachers. Thank you!

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