Why Some Kids Don’t Enjoy Reading

Getting your child to read can be a daunting task. We all know the importance of reading—studies have shown the more kids read, the better they read and the more they learn about the world around them. But some kids just won’t read. They say “it’s boring,” “it’s no fun,” “it’s too hard,” “It’s not important,” “I don’t have time.” Here are some ideas for kids that just don’t enjoy reading.

  1. For the child that says it’s boring. Kids may find school assigned reading uninteresting, and be unmotivated to read. Try exposing them to another style of writing—mystery, short stories, poetry, nonfiction, graphic novels, choose your own adventure—just to name a few. When looking for a new kind of book to read, find something they are interested in. Plan a trip to the local library and enlist the librarian for help in finding books about your child’s favorite subject. Once your child finds that perfect book series, try writing the author a letter or sending them a video book review of their favorite book.
  2. For the child that says it’s no fun. Take the pressure off reading! For students who find reading difficult or who feel the pressure to perform, reading can seem like a chore. Let your child read sometimes just for fun and don’t worry about their accuracy or their speed. Another way to make reading fun is to read a book together, whether that’s you reading some and them reading some or you reading and your child listening. Try choosing a book with a movie version too, then after you finish the book, you could have a family movie night and watch movie. Make sure to take time later to compare how they were the same and different. Or try buying video game guides or magazines about their favorite video game.
  3. For the child that says it’s too hard. For some children reading is a slow and difficult process. If this is your child, ask for support from their teacher or school in choosing the right book level for them. Another way to help your child access books is to remove reading all together. Listen to books as a family in the car, or download e-books with the option of playing the audio version. For younger readers, try the book series We Read Together, where one page is written at a higher level and the next is written at a lower level.
  4. For the child that says it’s not important. Often children don’t appreciate how reading can be purposeful and relevant to their life. Show reading’s importance by setting an example for your child—let them see you reading. Talk with your kids about what you are reading, what you found interesting and why, and ask them about what they are reading or what they liked about what you read together. Also find reading material on subjects that do matter to you kids. Remember to think outside the box about what reading material is—reading letters from a pen-pal, comic books, helping with the grocery list, or turning on the closed captioning on the television.
  5. For the child that says I don’t have time. Carve out time in their busy day and dedicate it to reading. Create a cozy reading nook in your house where it will be inviting to sit and read book. Help your child rearrange their schedule to allow time for reading. By setting reading as a priority, your child will learn that it is a valued activity and will develop an enjoyment of reading.