5 Ways to Encourage Reading in a Reluctant Reader

In recognition of National Reading Month, I'm sharing tips for encouraging reluctant readers.

Do you have a reluctant reader? I do. Lorelai can read, but she's not interest in reading. 


I don't have an issue with the fact that reading isn't her thing. I mean - I don't have an issue with her not collecting stamps, skateboarding, or horse-riding either. A hobby is a hobby and reading isn't hers.


However, she does need to read when it comes to homeschooling. She needs to read for the sake of gaining knowledge and improving her reading skills. But it bores her.

So how do we get a reluctant reader to read?



5 Ways to Encourage Reading
in a Reluctant Reader

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

March is National Reading Month. It's easy to celebrate by reading books and doing reading activities. I encourage it! But not everyone loves reading, right?

So let's use this month, not only to do all the reading we book lovers can do, but to encourage our reluctant readers, also.

How can we do that?


Be a reading role model.

This is the obvious suggestion, right? Now, it doesn't mean your kid will become a reader, but the power of example is strong. If the child sees you reading, and discussing things you've read, it may show them the value of reading to some extent.

Read aloud to your kids. 

Many parents read aloud to their kids when they're toddlers and very young children. Unfortunately, few continue this habit into the older years. Check out this infographic from Scholastic. 



Did you see that? Older kids want their parents to continue reading aloud with them.

Start reading in pregnancy and keep it going through high school. Yes, I said high school. What's wrong with reading as a family? Nothing. Turn off the T.V. and pick up a book. 


Have a weekly family reading session! Make it fun!

Tune in to your child's interests and passions.

A child may be more interested in reading if it's related to her interests. My son was never big on reading, but he'd read any book related to whatever his interests were (skateboarding, architecture, wilderness survival).

Lorelai likes humor, so reading books like Junie B. Jones works for her sometimes. She also likes knitting and will read about that. Let your child choose books and magazines based on his passions and you may find him reading a little more.

Sneak reading into your everyday life.

Having a child read a menu, or a recipe, or the directions to a board game are perfect opportunities to refine this skill.

Lorelai's reading increased dramatically when she started playing Club Penguin when she was 9 years old. She wasn't a very strong reader until she was on that game. Reading was necessary if she wanted to get through the game or chat with the other kids. It worked wonders for her.

Choose books within the child's capabilities.

Kids don't like reading when reading is difficult. Be sure you're not giving your child something too advanced for her reading level, nor give her something too easy (easy = boring). Be sure she can read the material, but make certain it's challenging enough to advance her reading skills.

There is some very interesting information in the latest reading report from Scholastic. I encourage you to check it out.


More Articles for National Reading Month

Be sure to check out these posts from my bloggy friends, who have written articles about reading and are sponsoring this giveaway.

Before you do, if you have any tips or comments about reluctant r

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Happy Homeschooling!

54 comments

  1. I have never had a reluctant reader :)

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    1. Neither did I until my last child. I think she got that from her dad's side. None of them are readers, while nearly everyone on my side is a voracious reader. :D

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  2. Yay for National Reading Month. We have just started reading aloud at night and I'm so thankful we are doing this. My 5 YO now asks "When are we going to read!"

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    1. That's wonderful, Ashley! Great job!

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  3. Anonymous3/16/2015

    When our library has a book sale, I give each of my boys one dollar to spend. They get to pick out their own style of books. I also read outloud A TON to my boys (none of them being reactions readers on their own) so I know they're getting good stuff in their head and heart. And I hold out on hope. I wasn't a hungry reader until I was an adult. 😯

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  4. My kids love being given the chance to act out the story they were just read...just another way to bring some fun to the reading experience.

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  5. When I first introduced listening to audio books I would set up my daughter with an art project. She loves painting, so having a book on in the background while focusing on her love of art allowed listening to books to become a natural thing for her. We now listen to audio books in the car when we are running around town.

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    1. That's perfect! My teenager does that, too.

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  6. Olivia Hamilton3/16/2015

    I'm so happy that we've always read to our boys since they were babies and now they are 5, 7 & 10 and they all love reading and listening to long stories.

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    1. I've always been a voracious reader, too. Several of my kids are as well.

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  7. Thank you so much for this!

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  8. Doesnt Lorelai have dyslexia? How do you encourage readers who struggle so much? My 9 year old son has ADHD, APD, SPD and dyslexia.

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    1. No, Lorelai doesn't. Alexis does and she LOVES reading and has always read quite well. Dyslexia is a language processing disorder, so reading isn't the challenge - processing the words is. We find workarounds for that, but she reads a lot.


      ADHD and dyslexia will definitely pose issues with reading. I don't know a lot about APD, but kind of hinders using the 'fix' of audio books for dyslexia, doesn't it?

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    2. Yes it kind of does but there is therapy that helps "retrain the brain". Homeschooling works wonders because there is that much less noise. Plus with reading the whole phonics thing is further complicated as the sounds aren't always heard "right". But he wants to read more and we work to help him a lot. He is in OT for SPD but that also helps with some ADHD stuff, sees a retired special education teacher for dyslexia tutoring, uses All About Spelling, and sees an audiologist for APD therapy. Our kids may have challenges but we as moms work super hard to help them.

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    3. Yes, we do. Alexis has dyslexia/dyscalculia/dysgraphia, Asperger's (which is no biggie at all) and bipolar disorder. Lorelai just has bipolar disorder, but a severe form of it. We muddle through and find our way though.

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  9. Robin King3/16/2015

    I'm so proud that my kids and Grandkids are lovers of reading, like we are!

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  10. It is sometimes very hard for my children to read to themselves so we try to read books together. I ask questions about what they think will happen next to make it interesting.

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    1. Lorelai loves read aloud time. She just doesn't find herself particularly interested in the activity as a thing to do on her own. She'd rather draw, knit, play with Barbie dolls, sing and dance. :D

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  11. My reluctant reader I discovered is dyslexic, that changes things up a lot.

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    1. It really does. Was the diagnosis mild, moderate, or profound?

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  12. I bought a Kindle Fire for my granddaughter for Christmas who has had trouble reading and this has really helped. Now my second granddaughter is having difficulty which is why I am entering this giveaway.

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    1. We've had several Kindles. The last was the one Alexis has now - the 7. I kinda want 6. My daughter and her husband have them and love them.

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  13. Love that you encourage folks to tune into a child's interest. Many have to meet reading goals in B&M schools, and it kills a child's interest. I'd rather see a child get a bad grade for not meeting a test goal and love reading what interests them!
    ~Your friendly neighborhood children's librarian

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    1. Hello Cristy! We love encouraging interests and we love librarians. :)

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  14. My kids love audio books, especially in the car and during their quiet time.

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    1. I do too. I'd prefer reading, but it's nice to have someone read to you every now and then, too.

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  15. We have incentives for reading that really seem to work.

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  16. I've tried just about everything, but my boys still hate reading. :( My youngest has finally found pokemon books and will check those out at the library & read them willingly ... it's a start :)

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    1. Sounds interest-based to me! That usually works better than other things. I've found that was the case with all my kids. They hated what was being given to them in school, but loved that at home they can choose what they want. Sometimes, it takes the child a while to figure out what it is he DOES like to read.

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  17. Charity H3/17/2015

    Reading is a family pastime around here! Unfortunately, one of our daughters seems to want nothing to do with it. We will definitely be incorporating the ideas here that we don't already do!

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    1. Charity,

      Glad to know you found some helpful tips. Be sure to hop over to the other blogs associated with this giveaway. They have some great tips of their own.

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  18. Anonymous3/17/2015

    My reluctant reader is the typical active boy. Fortunately, he loves to read about sports as much as he loves to play, so we've found authors who write sport themed books (Matt Christopher, Mike Lupica). My son will also read action/adventure (like The Hobbit, which we told him he had to read before he could see the movies). He also will read biographies, provided the person had a lot going on in their lives.

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  19. We have 2 out of 5 reluctant readers. It is due to dyslexia. I have been reading aloud for years, but really started to do it every night of week since I have started home schooling our 8yr old. Currently our 8 yr old (dyslexic) and 5 yr old are the receivers of the reading aloud as it's in their room, however, our 12yr old (who is dyslexic) and our 14 yr old will come in and sit while I read. It is just wonderful.

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    1. Unfortunately, kids with dyslexia spend more their reading time decoding and can't really spend the time comprehending. What works for my daughter, Alexis, is reading along while another person reads aloud (that could be me or an audio book). In this way, she doesn't have to decode.

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  20. I have been lucky so far in that my oldest loves reading. There are 3 more to follow her so time will tell if they are readers or not.
    I do remember my brother hating to read. My mom would let him read farm classifieds and finally she found Hank the Cowdog books that got him reading some. Find reading material in what your child is interested in. Reading is just not fun if it's not interesting.

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    1. Oh that's true. I've begun reading books by authors I love, only to shut down after the first couple of chapters. If the material isn't interesting, why bother?

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  21. Jenn R3/17/2015

    One of mine was a natural reader and would read everything they could. The other was not a big fan. Finding subjects of interest, and time to really enjoy reading instead of pushing was what worked for us.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that. Sometimes it takes a little work to learn what works for each child.

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  22. Karen I.3/17/2015

    It used to bother us when our son always chose books below his reading level when we went to the library. But we soon learned that this was where his love for reading really grew. Now at 13 he is reading on target or above. When he gets his hands on a new book he cannot put it down until he's finished it! And yes, he and our younger son (10 yrs old) still look forward to story time with dad each night!

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    1. That's great! I'm so glad you found what worked for your child. It's the little successes, isn't it?

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  23. Although I was a reluctant reader in school, all three of my girls love to read. I know they didn't get it from me. I started reading to them when they were little, but haven't read to them as much since they are older. After reading this, I think it's time to start back! Thanks!!!

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    1. Excellent! My kids enjoy family reading time. According to that Scholastic report, most do!

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  24. I need to get back into the habit of reading aloud to my kids.

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    1. I enjoy having family read-alouds. It surely helps my daughter who has dyslexia. She can read, she just gets worn out from the decoding. But reading together as a family is always enjoyable.

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  25. My middle child doesn't want to read (stubborn!), so I keep reading to her for as long as she needs, trying to encourage her by reading just some words along when I read. I am praying she is ready soon....

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    1. They all get there in their own tight, don't they?

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  26. Great Tips! I have always read to my children and I am so happy that they have developed their own love of reading. Thanks for coming by and joining us for The Mommy Monday Blog Hop :D

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    1. Hello, MrsTee! That's great that your kids enjoy reading. I was surprised that I could create a kid who didn't enjoy it, but hey - we're not all the same, right? Thanks for coming by.

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