Fostering a Love of Reading

“My Child Hates Reading”

Do you have a child that hates to read?  You are not alone.  Many children have the same response when asked to read, “I hate reading!”  For parents, this is a big hurdle because reading is one of the key skills they need to develop.  Reading is like sports, if you do not practice it, you will not develop it.  So how do you motivate your child to read?

Why does your child hate reading?  In order for children to like doing something they once didn’t like, it’s important to find out why they didn’t like it in the first place.  If they do not have the vocabulary knowledge or comprehension abilities, they will struggle.  When a skill is difficult, it is easier to just give up rather than push through.  Others may not enjoy reading because they are just not interested in the books or material they are reading.  Technology distractions continue to pose a problem as well.  Start by asking your child why they do not like to read.

How can you, as the parent, encourage or motivate your child to read? Once you identify where the issue is, you can work from there to develop their knowledge.  You want reading to be fun, not a chore.

“Reading is too boring”

                                If you have a child who is bored with reading, maybe they do not have the right materials.  Try finding reading materials about their interests (cars, fairy tales, animals, etc). 

“Reading is too hard”    

                                Does your child struggle with reading?  Find out where the struggle starts.  Sometimes it is phonetic knowledge, vocabulary, or just comprehending the reading.  You may ask your child’s teacher if they have noticed any issues in the classroom.  There could be other underlying concerns like dyslexia, ADHD, or other challenges. 

“I want to watch TV instead”

                                Video games, television, and movies can all be a constant distraction to children.  Reading forces them to use their imaginations, whereas technology does it for them.  Suggest ideas like reading the book first and then watch the movie of the book together to look for differences.

Ideas for how to encourage reading… believe it or not, your behavior and participation matters.

Parents who love to read, tend to have children who love to read.  If you, as a parent, enjoy spending your free time reading, most likely children will do the same.  Encourage your child to read with you or spend time reading to them.  Listening comprehension is much easier attained than reading comprehension.  As you read aloud to your child, their imaginations will create the story vibrantly in their heads, making the experience much more enjoyable to them.

Create the atmosphere.  When your child is reading, or you are reading to them, create a space that is comfortable and free from distractions.  This could be in a cozy nook, on the couch in a den, or at bed time.  A place where your child can calm down and settle their minds with a book creates an ideal atmosphere for reading.

FIVE FINGER READING RULE: Open a book to any page and start reading.  Hold up a finger every time you see a word you do not know.

0-1 = too easy
2-3 = just right
4 = okay to try
5+ = too hard

Do not make reading a chore.  This can be difficult, especially if there is reading assigned for homework, but children often do not want to read simply because they feel forced to do so.  If possible, do not make it a requirement.  If a child does not want to sit down and read a book, suggest another task that seems more fun but has reading in it.  There are many games or puzzle type activities that require reading but are still fun to children. 

Cook with your child.  How can cooking be reading?  When cooking a meal or a yummy dessert, there is often a recipe that needs to be followed.  Offer to have your child help you make a meal and let them have the task of reading the ingredients and recipe.

Play audiobooks in the car.  Most children love stories and listening can be just as important for comprehension as reading is.  Choose an audiobook to play in the car during long trips or on your daily route. 

Go to the library.  Plan trips to your local library and let your children have room to explore on their own.  They can look for books that they like and sit down and thumb through them.  Most libraries have an assortment of other materials they can look at.  Check the libraries schedules to see if they have any story time activities that you can join.

Offer rewards at home for reading.  Depending on your child’s age, you can set up a reward system for reading.  This will differ with reading levels, time spent, and types of materials they are to read.  Set goals for them to achieve in order to earn the reward.

Website links for more resource on how to motivate children to read

When Kids Hate to Read

5 things to say when your child says, “I hate reading!”

What to Do When Your Child Hates Reading

Does Your Child Hate Reading? Here Is How You Can Fix That!

10 Ways for Parents to Encourage Their Child to Read

7 Best Literacy-Boosting Board Games

Helping Kids Enjoy Reading