Three Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

Three Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

Boy wearing plaid short pointing with pointer finger and reading a book that is on his lap

If you have reluctant readers, you’ve probably heard one or all of the excuses above. While parents are eager for their children to develop a love for reading, getting a reluctant reader to pick up a book, let alone read it, is a big challenge.

“Reading is too hard.”

“Reading is boring.”

“Reading isn’t for me.”

Here are three reasons why some children might be reluctant to read and what parents can do to change their minds.

Reading is hard.

From vocabulary to fluency to comprehension, there are several skills that children must master while they are learning to read, and it’s not always easy. Making the process fun and digestible is a great way to keep your child engaged.

Tip 1:

Read books to your children that are above their reading level. The content will likely be more exciting than the early reader books they are reading on their own. It will help them prepare and get a feel of future reading levels.

Tip 2:

Let humor work its magic. Select a funny book at your child’s reading level. Read the first part of it aloud and then let your child takeover.

Reading is boring.

For some children, reading isn’t hard, but it isn’t fun either. Your child is looking for interesting and motivating reading material. It’s important to merge your child’s passion and hobbies with their reading.

There are many ways to instill the love for reading in your child this summer.

Tip 1:

Whether it’s baseball, music or space travel, get a subscription to a magazine on that topic. Also consider general magazines for children, such as Highlights or Time for Kids. Magazine content is typically shorter than books, which allows children to read the material in its entirety in smaller doses. And, if it has your child’s name on the address label, a magazine becomes a personal invitation to read.

Tip 2:

Children are never too old for picture books. In fact, many picture books are created with older readers in mind. The art is visually appealing, and the words correlate with various reading levels depending on sophistication of the story.

Fear of reading aloud.

Children aren’t born with an aversion to reading. It’s something developed over time. Whether they feel like they can’t read as fast as their friends or they fear reading aloud, there are many things that could trigger a dislike for reading. It’s important to encourage your children to read aloud to develop fluency, but you shouldn’t put too much pressure on them.


Have your reluctant reader read easy picture books to younger siblings or even a pet. This provides excellent practice, yet it doesn’t feel as intimidating.

Keep in mind that your child’s interest in reading may fluctuate. There may be times where they want to read book after book. But also, times where they rather play with toys or watch a movie. It is important to figure out what may be discouraging your child from reading and how you can best support them.

View all of our reading articles from our Summer Reading Series.