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My Kid Dislikes Reading... What Do I Do?

My kid dislikes reading.. what do I do?

The prospect of your child being an avid reader is a vision many parents hold close to their hearts. This is not just because books are enjoyable, but they're also pathways to wisdom and knowledge. And yet, what if your child doesn’t share this enthusiasm? What do you do when the ideal and the real don’t align?

Before diving deep into the various strategies and insights on nurturing a love for reading in your child, it's essential to pause and reflect. While some of these points might sound familiar, there's incredible value in revisiting them with a fresh perspective. Consider this: when sifting sand, sometimes the most precious gem reveals itself only after thorough examination. Similarly, by contemplating and pondering over each point, even if they seem known, you might discover a new angle, a fresh approach, or that missing puzzle piece to your child's reading journey. Let's embark on this introspective quest to unlock the potential of every strategy.

1. Understanding the Reason

A fundamental principle in problem-solving is to first understand the nature of the problem. Why does your child resist reading? Is it a difficulty with the mechanics of reading, a mismatch between their interests and the book choices, or external distractions vying for their attention? It's crucial to dissect the root of the reluctance before devising a solution.

There are many reasons a child might not enjoy reading. Thus, a nuanced understanding is crucial.

Once we understand the root cause, the next step is addressing it. For example, if the problem is a mechanical one, specialized programs or resources might be needed. Or if it's about the content, a trip to a bookstore or library (or an online bookshop) where they can pick books might change the game. 

There's power in a sit-down conversation. By opening a dialogue with your child, you can unearth the root causes behind their aversion to reading. Consider asking:

  • Your Perception vs. Their Reality: Start by sharing your concerns without making it sound like a criticism. Then, listen. Understand their side of the story.

  • Diving Deep: Ask open-ended questions. "What kind of stories do you enjoy?" or "Do you remember a book that was hard for you? Why?"

  • Testing New Waters: Propose a trial period where both of you dedicate time to reading. Discuss ways to make this time special. Could a cozy reading corner with bean bags be inviting? Maybe accompanying the session with a cup of cocoa or their favorite snack? Tailoring the experience can make reading more appealing.

Questions to ponder: 

Have I genuinely listened to my child's concerns about reading without imposing my perspective or biases?Could there be external factors like school pressure or peer influences affecting my child's perception of reading?How often have I associated reading with rewards or punishments, and could this have shaped their reluctance?

2. Choose the right books

One pivotal truth to remember is that children, like adults, have their own unique tastes. We wouldn't expect every adult to love the same genre of music or film, so why would we assume this about books? Delve into various genres with your child. From fantasy to history, from mystery to graphic novels, the literary world is vast. Find out what kindles their interest. With experimentation, you're more likely to find that captivating narrative that lights up their imagination.

 If your child feels disconnected or even intimidated by books, start simple. Younger audience fiction or illustrated books can be great entry points. And for those showing interest in more complex topics, guides or beginner books can be introduced.

Questions to ponder: 

Do I often find myself pushing classics or "must-reads" onto my child rather than exploring their natural inclinations?How open am I to embracing new genres or modern authors that resonate with today's young readers?When was the last time my child excitedly spoke about a book or a story, and how did I respond?

3. Set the example

Children, in their essence, are keen observers. They often emulate the behaviors of those around them, especially their parents. If they witness you lost in the pages of a novel or the depths of an article, the very act may arouse their curiosity. Reading, like many other habits, can be caught as much as it can be taught.Your behavior silently communicates that reading is worthwhile.

Questions to ponder: 

How frequently does my child see me engaged in reading, and do I portray it as a chore or a pleasure?Am I open to discussing the content of what I read with my child, even if it's not children's literature?Do my partner and I emphasize and model reading as a value in our household?

4. Interactive Reading

Transform reading from a solitary activity into a joint venture. Read aloud, dissect the narrative, predict upcoming events, or role-play key scenes. By doing so, you make the act of reading a shared experience, rich in dialogue and interaction. This interaction makes reading an experience, rather than a mere activity.

For younger audiences, starting with simpler narratives can break down these barriers. A great way to introduce them to literature is through programs like The Story Weavers. This program takes them on a narrative journey, making reading more interactive and relatable. In a minimalist homeschool, using such targeted programs ensures children receive rich literary experiences without overwhelming them.

Questions to ponder: 

When reading together, do I allow space for imagination and curiosity, or am I in a rush to finish the story?How often do I encourage my child to predict, question, or even challenge elements of a story?Could turning reading into a shared hobby, perhaps with a shared journal or scrapbook, enhance our bonding and their engagement with reading?

5. Audiobooks or E-books

 Some children might prefer listening to stories before they enjoy reading them. Audiobooks can be an excellent gateway into the world of literature. (It is important at somepoint that they see and read the words. But they might want to hear the story, and then read it.

In today's digital age, there are several apps designed to make reading interactive and fun for children. Devices like Kindles can also be enticing for tech-savvy kids.

Questions to ponder: 

Have I explored diverse mediums of storytelling to understand which format captivates my child's interest the most?Am I balancing the digital immersion with active discussions to ensure comprehension and engagement?Could my preconceived notions about traditional reading be limiting my child's exploration of audiobooks or e-books?

6. Establish a Reading Routine

Often, I've heard folks remark about reading as if it's an innate talent. However, much like any skill, proficiency comes with practice. Through observation and personal experience, it becomes clear that the more one reads, the more adept they become. 

To establish reading as a habit, make it a part of your daily ritual. Carve out time for it. Twenty minutes before bedtime, for instance, can work wonders. Even if it's just 10 minutes a day, that accumulates to 3,650 minutes or over 60 hours a year. The goal isn’t the volume but the consistency.

Questions to ponder: 

How consistent is our reading routine, and do I allow flexibility based on our daily life dynamics?Am I placing undue emphasis on the quantity (time/pages) rather than the quality (engagement/interest) of reading?When was the last time I evaluated our reading routine to ensure it's still in sync with my child's growth and evolving interests?

The Higher Purpose

The goal isn't to make your child a voracious reader overnight, but to foster a love for stories and knowledge that will hopefully grow with time. The journey might require some patience and creativity, but the rewards of nurturing a lifelong love for reading are immense.

Many shy away from books because they haven't fostered a relationship with them. To such individuals, books appear as strangers, perhaps even adversaries, reminding them of past failures or insecurities. But, like all relationships, this can be mended. Starting with simpler narratives, like fiction for younger audiences, can be an entry point. And for those delving into intricate subjects like philosophy, introductory guides can offer a gentle initiation.

However, the 'why' is just as crucial as the 'how.' Why read? Because it empowers us with knowledge, enriches our verbal fluency, and equips us with a sharper understanding of our world. It boosts confidence in conversations and negotiations. To be literate is a profound advantage in this complex world.

Questions to ponder: 

Beyond fostering a reading habit, have I clearly communicated to my child the profound implications of literature in understanding the world and personal growth?In our discussions about reading, do I emphasize more on the process (like finishing books) rather than the overarching benefits (such as empathy, knowledge, and cognitive growth)?How often do I reflect upon and share stories of how reading has personally transformed my life, offering real-world examples of its deeper purpose and significance?

Thanks for reading, listening, or watching. While the journey to nurture a love for reading in your child may be winding, it's within the challenging steps that true growth is found. Begin today, for the pages of tomorrow await their eager eyes and curious minds.


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