Hate reading? 3 steps to help your child love it!

So you're not into reading. Your parents probably weren't either. You can break this cycle, but it will take some work. It's worth it because reading is a core skill that teaches your child vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and a wide range of concepts. The good news is there are very specific actions you can take to make it easier.

First off what not to do?

Don't force your child to read. If you're not setting an example by reading yourself you can't expect them to comply. Don't make it a chore.

Don't comment on what they read. Magazines, comics, video games - it's all okay as long as they get into the habit and like it. Reading anything is better than reading nothing.

Here are the actual tips to get them reading when you just don't like it.

Step 1. Figure out what you do like. Yeah, you didn't come here for this advice. You've probably tried everything. But it's important to set an example and also have reading be a together activity. Perhaps you can get into audiobooks? What about podcasts? Try a genre of books that you just haven't tried so far. If fiction isn't your thing, what about non-fiction? There are actually non-fiction books that you can learn history from that are super entertaining, like Sapiens. Another trick is to go to the library and ask for recommendations. A good librarian will help you figure out what you're into. Reading doesn't have to be books. It can be magazines, graphical novels, the news, and instruction manuals. Productivity gurus strongly suggest not finishing books. Don't feel the pressure you have to. You can keep 10 books open around the house and only read when you happen to feel like it. Reading multiple titles at the same time helps keep interest up. It's also much better to find the one book you actually want to read, rather than forcing yourself on that one and getting stuck.

Step 2. Figure out what your child likes. It's crucial that your child understands that there's a variety of topics and formats to choose from. There's something for them also! Go to the library or bookstore and let them loose, see what they find. Talk to the librarian for recommendations, they can think of problems that you just can't (like maybe the lines are too long to follow). Try audiobooks while driving in the car, doing chores, or just playing with Legos. Are they into fantasy stories or learning from non-fiction? Just make sure to not trample on their curiosity with your preconceptions about what a good read should be. Remember, children are naturally curious and there's probably a reason you don't like it. If the material they found is all fluff, then as long as they're into it they will get in the habit of reading and expand out later.

Step 3. Set a time for reading together. This can be the classic before bedtime or an unusual after lunch. It can be in bed, on the couch, or on the stairs. You can read one thing together that you both like or you can read individual items that you prefer. Just make sure you set a time (daily or 3 times a week, 20min at a time or more) when you sit together and do your favorite reading activity. This still includes audiobooks! If you don't feel like it one day (or any day) keep to the schedule anyway and just talk about stuff, perhaps you'll then find a common topic that you'd like to look into. Don't skip reading time, it's important!

A nice way to go about this is to switch the order around. First, set the reading time and be flexible with what activities are included. Perhaps going to the library to pick out books is also included at that time? This way you have a regular reason to just focus and think about the next step you need to do to get your child (and yourself) reading.

Go ahead set a recurring event in your calendar, draw the time in your homeschooling planner, or do whatever it takes so you get into the habit of taking time for reading activities together and figuring it out!

If you found this helpful you're going to love these tips on getting your child super into reading or if you're really having trouble you may want to check for medical issues.

Subscribe to KristerV

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson