6 New Ideas for Reluctant Readers

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Do you have a reluctant reader?  I did — and I tried everything to get her to like books and engage with stories.  Here are some of the odd things I tried that seemed to work.

Reluctant Reader Ideashttps://imaginationsoup.net/2010/04/artist-dates-with-kids/

1. EAT and READ

Read to your reluctant reader while they are at the table eating. (Sitting still.  Undivided attention.)


Go to the library and let her check out as many books as she wants.  Even if it’s 60!  Even if it’s 100!  Who isn’t going to be excited about that? (Besides your back?)


Give books as rewards.  Go to a garage sale or a book store and let him pick out reward books you can dole out later.

That being said books as rewards are good. Food or money is counterproductive unless the money is for a bookstore.


Read to her when she’s sad or mad. This associates books with comfort.


If you play an audiobook in the car or living room, someone listening just might get hooked. (Besides you.) Once you get a child loving stories, it helps immensely with reading more books by the author or in the series.


Let your reluctant reader stay up late to read in bed with a flashlight or headlamp. Breaking rules is fun!


I agonized and worried for years that my daughter wouldn’t love books. A wise friend told me to relax, not push too hard and it would come.  I’m not sure I totally relaxed but somehow, it did eventually “click” and now my daughter loves to read.

How about you?

What have you done that’s worked?

What are you trying now?

Here are some good books to read…

Short, Nonfiction Books for Reluctant, Struggling, and Wiggly Readers
Short Nonfiction Books for Reluctant Readers

Easy (Not Babyish) Books for Older Kidshigh interest low level books for struggling older readers

Funny Chapter Books That Kids Lovefunny chapter books for kids


Photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser / Foter.com / CC BY

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  1. When my boys were infants, I would read the stories to a tape. They became familiar with my voice especially when I had to go back to work.

  2. Do you have a pet? Ask your child to find a book they think the pet would enjoy then suggest your child read to he/she or it! Or post notes from the pet to your child asking for a hug and a story.

  3. Excellent post and appreciate the do-able simplicity of these reading ideas for ALL readers—but especially for reluctant or struggling readers! Many thanks for the great article here!