Help! My Child Hates to Read (10 Dos & Don’ts)

6 Minutes to Read -

I Hate Reading - Blog Article

We all know that reading is crucial for success at school but as parents, we know that not all children like to read. In fact, some of them would rather take out the rubbish than sit down with a book!

I have always encouraged my children to read. If they are reading a book they enjoy, they will read it. There have been times though, that reading for them was a real chore. If you are a parent, whose child has no interest in reading, don’t lose hope as there are plenty of things you can do to help.

There is a real problem in the UK where too many children are unable to read and if they can, they prefer not to. Reading is a real emotional experience.  If children are emotionally turned-off from reading, it can be very hard to get them back into the habit.

We also know that the process of learning to read is often the point where a lot of children actually lose their interest in reading and as they get older, the motivation to read decreases rapidly.

So, if you have noticed that your child just doesn’t want to read, you really need to nip it in the bud as early as possible!

The first and foremost question to ask ourselves is, ‘Is my child emotionally turned off from reading or is there a learning issue here that needs to be looked at?’

Now please don’t freak out, I’m just putting it out there so that you, as a parent are aware of the different ways in which you could approach this.

Bear in mind that we tend to do things that are pleasurable because they make us feel good. When reading becomes a pleasurable experience for your child, they will read!

Here are some dos and don’ts to help your child enjoy reading:

  1. Shift your mind-set about what reading is. It does not always have to be sitting down with a book and reading for a good length of time. Ideally, this is the goal but once you become more conscious of it, you will notice that there are reading opportunities all around us. [spacer height=”20px”]Many of us like to cook with our children and follow recipes. I know I like to read it and then tell the kids what to do. NO! Don’t be like me! Get them to read the recipe and you facilitate. Not only are they reading, they are following instructions, doing maths and making you something nice to eat afterwards! [spacer height=”20px”]If you are crafty, like me, and love to get out the paints, glue, sequins and anything else you have in your craft box, then here is another opportunity to get your child to read! Yes! We often have crafts books or we have downloaded an activity from the internet. Get your child to read it![spacer height=”20px”] They won’t even know that you have snuck in a piece of reading! When they are done let them know, using plenty of praise, how well they read and how impressed you are. [spacer height=”20px”]My younger daughter has read the strangest things, but it’s reading so it’s all good! That includes take away menus that have come through the letter box, leaflets, newspaper articles, websites and even some terms and conditions! Yes, she is strange, she takes after her father!
  1. Find out why your child doesn’t like to read – possible learning difficulty? There could be underlying issues as to why your child doesn’t want to read. Did something happen at school? Speak to your child’s teacher and to your child. Perhaps there was an isolated incident that caused it.[spacer height=”20px”]I remember years ago, working at a primary school in one of my first ever jobs where a child volunteered to read something but got the words mixed up and the other children laughed at him. Since that day, he never volunteered to read aloud again. It took a lot of work to build up his confidence again.[spacer height=”20px”] If your child gets their words mixed up while reading, it could be a lack of confidence which could be fixed over a period of time. If this continues you may want to find out if dyslexia could be a possibility; there is no harm in checking and getting to the bottom of it.
  1. Set an example. Children will imitate what they see. So, if you spend a lot of time in front of your mobile phone, that’s what they’ll want to do. I have seen children imitate smoking because they have seen their parents do it in the doorway, or certain mannerisms they pick up from us too.[spacer height=”20px”]In the same way, if they do not see us reading, they will probably not do it either. Instead of picking up that phone, pick up a book. You may find that your child even asks you what you’re reading, that’s your opportunity to tell them how much you are enjoying your book. Try it and see what happens.
  1. Read to your child. We often think that reading means that the child has to read. If you read to your child, then the pressure is removed and they can relax and enjoy the story. Read so that they can see you are enjoying it too. Hearing you read will increase their confidence in reading too. While you read, they will be picking up vocabulary and recognising and learning sight words.[spacer height=”20px”]When they are confident enough, they can read the book back to you, or you can take it in turns to read each page. You can also make it a collaborative experience where you read one line and your child reads another…you can even get the rest of the family involved. We have done this using Read Aloud Story plays.Story Plays The Usborne Farmyard Tales are an excellent set of books for early readers where they can build confidence with their reading. They are written at two different reading levels allowing you both to share the reading experience and allow your child to read at the higher level once they feel more confident. Help! My Child Hates to Read (10 Dos & Don'ts) 1 Pig Gets Lost internal page[spacer height=”20px”]
  1. Identify the purpose of reading. When you are reading with your child, take a moment to think about why you are reading the book. Is it for pleasure so you can enjoy the story? Is it for school, so they need to read as independently as possible and you are there to facilitate the reading? Is it to learn new words or practise their phonics? [spacer height=”20px”]Why do you need to know the purpose? Because, we want our children to enjoy reading and too many times we get hung up on making sure they can read every word and if they can’t, we make them sound it out phonetically. [spacer height=”20px”]I know this is what the school tell us to do but it is not necessary for every word they get stuck on. If you just want to enjoy the story and your child hesitates on a word, you can tell them what the word is. Through repetition, your child will learn to read those words anyway.
  1. Read books your child will enjoy. I know this is really obvious but, it’s not really. Let me explain. So, we think we are giving our children books they will enjoy but the number of times my children have told me that a particular book is boring got me thinking.[spacer height=”20px”]Should I tell them to read it anyway? NO! Would you read a book you weren’t enjoying? Now, I know there will be times when we have to read for research, but the focus is on getting our children to read and enjoy it.[spacer height=”20px”]Take your child to the library and let them choose. Don’t judge. Magazines are great too and kids love them! Find whatever it is that your child likes to read and let them read it.
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  1. Don’t nag! The last thing you want is for reading to become is a ‘nagging’ experience. You might as well get them to tidy their room than nag them about reading. We don’t like being nagged as adults, so why would our children like it? It will only put them off reading even more.[spacer height=”20px”]The key is to have a routine. We have a half an hour slot every day for reading, which includes reading school books. Then the children read a book of their choice half an hour before they go to sleep. My children are older now and we have had this routine for some time.[spacer height=”20px”]You need to see what works for you but a start is to, at least, make sure you read with your children at bedtime. Not only is it enjoyable, it relaxes them before they go to sleep, (unless it’s their dad doing the reading!!), and they can’t escape!
  1. Read age-appropriate books. Make sure your child is reading books that challenges them but doesn’t become so difficult that they think they are not capable. This, in turn, puts them off reading. [spacer height=”20px”]The way to judge whether a book is just right for your child is to see how many words they struggle with per page. If your child struggles with five words or fewer per page then it’s a sign that that book is just right for your child.[spacer height=”20px”]
  2. Read when asked! Not as simple as it sounds, I know. My children will ask to read when I am in the middle of making dinner or vacuuming or doing something that isn’t easy to just stop and read.[spacer height=”20px”]If you are, however, not doing much and your child approaches you with a book and says in their cute little voice, “Mummy, can you read to me?”… Embrace that moment with both arms!! Read to your child and make it a habit.
  1. Work out a reward system. What child doesn’t like a reward? A special treat? We do it with potty training and eating their 5-a-day, we do it with good behaviour… us parents are experts at reward charts. Why not do it with reading?[spacer height=”20px”]Set a realistic target, if your child reads a certain number of books a week, they can choose their reward. Or you could do 5 pages a day, a book a day, whatever suits your child, but have a starting point and build on it. You could do one for each member of the family so it becomes competitive!

I hope this information has been of use.  If you try any of the suggestions, please do leave a comment below and let us know how you got on. Happy reading!

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