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“My child doesn’t like reading – what do I do?” Encouraging Children to Read

Reading is SO Important

You already know that reading is important. But did you know that studies have shown that reading for pleasure (when a child chooses what to read based on their interests) improves classroom performance not only in reading and writing, but also in mathematics? However, knowing how important reading doesn’t necessarily help you to engage your child in reading if they are resistant.


These comments may sound familiar to you. 


Why won’t my child read? 

Reluctant readers are always reluctant for a reason. Perhaps they have trouble focusing long enough to enjoy the chapter books they are supposed to read at their level. Perhaps they feel self-conscious about how long it takes them to read. Perhaps they don’t even know what sort of book they would enjoy and so have no clue where to start. 


If your child is a reluctant or non-reader I’d suggest starting by gently trying to find out: 

  • Why they are resistant to reading
  • What sorts of stories they enjoy (perhaps look to movies and TV)
  • What they think you could do to support them with reading. 


What should they read? 

Reading something is always better than reading nothing. There’s the ideal situation where your child actively seeks out challenging and varied books in all their languages, and the opposite where they do not read any books for pleasure themselves, and only read what they are required to for school. 


There are plenty of suggested reading lists available online, and i-Learner often shares reading recommendations on our social media and in our newsletter. But, if your goal is to get your child reading something instead of nothing, then it’s completely fine to start small. Don’t feel you need to push them to read something challenging, or even something at their grade level. It doesn’t need to be a long book, it doesn’t even need to be a book at all! Comic books, for example, are a great gateway to reading for hesitant readers. 


Encourage and support your child’s reading by:

  • Helping them to access books: at the library, online, from the i-Learner library, purchase from book depository, or visit the book fair. 
  • Helping them to stick to a reading routine e.g. 15 minutes before bed, or 15 minutes when they get in from school with a snack. 
  • Staying engaged and interested in their reading by asking questions, reminding them to take a book on long journeys, asking if they need help choosing a new book etc.  
  • Celebrating progress, no matter how small. 

For more tips and information about how to support a reluctant reader, see all four articles on this topic here.