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How to Motivate Your Child to Read

boy sitting in bed reading books

Quick poll: Which category is your child in?

  1. LOVES to read!
  2. Could take it or leave it.
  3. Really dislikes reading.

Our goal—and I’m guessing it’s your goal too—is to get your child into the first category.

But what can you do if your child just isn’t motivated to read?

There is actually quite a bit you can do to encourage a love of reading, but first, let’s do some detective work.

Why Doesn’t Your Child Like to Read?

Before you work on motivating your child, it helps if you understand why he resists reading in the first place. Which scenario depicts your resistant reader?

Frustrated child

“Reading is hard!”

You probably wouldn’t choose hard work as a leisure activity, and that’s true for your child, too. If reading is a struggle, he probably won’t find reading interesting or enjoyable.

If your child is a struggling reader, take a look at why this might be. Does he have issues with fluency, or have gaps in his phonogram knowledge? Maybe he’s struggling because he’s guessing at words or hasn’t developed strong vocabulary skills. It’s even possible he has dyslexia or another learning challenge. But whatever the cause, if your child feels that reading is too much work, begin by identifying and addressing his areas of weakness. As he becomes a better reader, he will enjoy reading much more.

Sleeping child

“Reading is boring!”

For some kids, reading isn’t hard, but it isn’t interesting either. But it may be that they just haven’t found reading material that motivates them.

Think about what your child loves to do. Does he have a hobby or special area of interest? Does your son like dinosaurs? Does your daughter like gymnastics? By finding reading material that piques their interest and draws them into reading, you’re giving your children a motivational boost.

10 Tips to Motivate Your Child to Read

  1. Make time for reading. If your child has a jam-packed schedule and reading is shoved between gymnastics and band practice, reading may seem like an unwelcome chore. Allow reading to be a relaxing and enjoyable time, free from pressure.
  2. Download 10 Ways to Motivate your Child to Read Quick Guide
  3. Set aside a regular read-aloud time with your children. Choose a variety of high-quality literature that appeals to your child’s age and interests. Audio books are another great option for a reluctant reader. And don’t abandon read-aloud time when your children get older—no one is too old for a great read-aloud.
  4. Make sure the reading material isn’t beyond your child’s reading abilities. The interest may be there, but if the book is hard to read, your child’s motivation will wane.
  5. Create a cozy reading nook. A special reading space may be all the encouragement your child needs to settle down and spend time with a good book!
  6. Motivate kids to read with reading nooks
  7. Look for a variety of reading material. Kids often gravitate toward the fiction shelves in the library, but don’t stop there. There are many other genres to consider: joke books, cookbooks, how-to books, graphic novels, and biographies are all great non-fiction possibilities. And children’s magazines can be a great out-of-the-box way to encourage a child to read.
  8. Try buddy reading with your struggling reader. Buddy reading can help improve a child’s fluency and make him feel more comfortable with reading on his own.
  9. Have your reluctant reader read easy picture books to younger siblings. This provides excellent practice, yet it doesn’t feel like work.
  10. Boy reading to younger sister
  11. Let humor work its magic! Select a funny book at your child’s reading level and read the first chapter aloud. Then stop reading. If your child wants to find out what happens next, he’ll have to read it himself!
  12. Exhibit a love of reading. When your kids observe that you love to read, they’re more likely to develop a love of reading themselves.
  13. Provide access to books. Use your public library. Create a home library. Keep books accessible. When your child decides he wants to read, you want to be sure there’s a book at his fingertips. Our picture book and chapter book library lists are a great place to start!

Have you discovered a great way to motivate your child to read? Please share in the comments below and we’ll add your idea to our readers’ tips box.

Motivational Tips Recommended by Our Readers

  • For every 10 books your child reads, allow her to choose a prize from a bin of dollar store goodies. (Recommended by D. Jacobs via Instagram)
  • Pick books that feature topics and themes your child is already interested in. (Recommended by Lara via Instagram)
  • Let your child choose what he or she wants to read! (Recommended by Sarahi D. via Facebook)
  • I make sure that books with higher reading levels have lots of illustrations and diagrams. (Recommended by Nancy B. via Facebook)
  • Comic books! (Recommended by Alaina K. via Facebook)
  • Keeping a reading log of completed books can be a great motivator! (Recommended by Robin W., AALP Customer Service)
  • Graphic novels got my oldest son interested in reading! (Recommended by Corrie via Facebook)
  • Read aloud together with finger puppets! (Recommended by Marci via blog comment)
  • Choose silly chapter books like How to Eat Fried Worms that tickle your child’s funny bone. (Recommended by Rachael via blog comment)
  • Have an older child read easy picture books to a younger sibling. (Recommended by Ann Marie via blog comment.)
  • Create fun and engaging activities that tie in to the themes of a book your child is reading. (Recommended by Allyson via blog comment)
  • Challenge your child to make up fun voices as he reads. (I do it too!) (Recommended by Anita via blog comment)
  • Use one-page stories to get them past the fear of the story being too long. You can even write your own! (Recommended by Anita via blog comment)
  • The “book it” program by Pizza Hut is a great motivator. (Recommended by Nichol via blog comment)
Motivate Your Child to Read Pinterest Graphic

Photo credit: Rachel Neumann and Joleen Steel

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Leave a Comment

Caryn T

says:

Reading was “too hard” for my kiddo, but he loved to listen to reading. I just kept reading to him. I was still reading to him when he was in the 8th grade! Now he is 27, and a voracious reader of all things history and finance. He just needed time to find his niche!

Heather

says:

I have a reluctant reader because of the way she was taught. These suggestions are going to really help me get her motivated!

Amanda Bowen

says:

All great ideas!

Alice

says:

Such good suggestions! Making time to read and often choosing “fun” reads that are not a stretch helps my challenged reader. For the books that are a stretch (like Harry Potter), I let her read along with audio books or we took turns. My daughter who really struggled and could barely read a page of text until 4th grade now (8th grade) loves reading and can keep up with audiobooks like Hunger Games and read many books alone! Success!

Jennifer

says:

Great tips! Thank you!

Abdullah Abdullateef

says:

Nice!!!

Summer I.

says:

Thanks for sharing these tips. We are in the process of learning to read.

Joyce

says:

Reading aloud to babies sets the stage fir a good reader. Give them a love for books and they will continue on!

Donald Errol Knight

says:

When teaching in Taiwan, I took the Taipet Times to class as it often had excellent pictures which could be used to get the students to talk. The boys used to turn to the sports pages to read the basketball results and would be disappointed if I forgot to bring the newspaper. Back in South Africa many years before that The Star in Johannesburg ran a Newspaper in Education project and I used some of the material with grade 6s. Most gratifying was the commentnof one boy: ‘Gee, sir, this is the best English ever!’

JoAnna

says:

Thanks for the suggestions!

Alesa McFall

says:

Used All About Spelling with my own kids years ago. Loved it! Now looking to use All About Reading with my grandkids.

Ashley Ballard

says:

this is incredible helpful! Finished the pre-reading program and cant wait to start AAR 1. Time to implement more of these tips to get my two littles more eager to read. So thankful for this program already

CHRISTINA

says:

Often kids find books boring because they are word calling. They are just reading the words without understanding what they are reading. If your child finds reading boring, check to see if they understand what they are reading. You might need to give them strategies to increase comprehension.

Angela

says:

I’m a new homeschooling mom, who has 2 children that think reading is just so, so. I’m looking forward to using these tips, to make reading more enjoyable for them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great, Angela! Don’t worry if you don’t notice a change in their perspectives right away, however. I have implemented these ideas for my children’s entire lives, yet some of them remained “could take it or leave it” about reading until they were pre-teens and one was even a teen before he realized he actually enjoyed reading. Lay the reading foundation, and trust that the enjoyment of reading will come.

Gwen

says:

I would love to know about different type of resources to help my child read and be social with other children.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Gwen,
I am not sure what you are asking. The only way to use reading to encourage being social with other children that I am aware of is book clubs. You can start one. Our local homeschool community has had a few of them just over the last couple of years, varying in age range and book topics. Typically, club members take turns choosing the book and then all the members read the book at home. Then at the following meeting, typically the next month, members discuss the book and maybe do a craft or activity related to it. Watching a movie based on the book together is sometimes done. I have heard of virtual book clubs as well, where members discuss books online.

Is this what you were asking about or did you have something else in mind?

Edith

says:

We have a few books “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” that are written to read with someone. They are short stories and fables and such. It helped my us with turn taking.

Nicolle

says:

Thanks for these tips! Much appreciated!

Laura H

says:

Great tips! Can’t wait to start implementing some with my boys.

shirley

says:

i can definitely use this to help my daughter. Thanks.

Joy

says:

Wow! This is very helpful. Thank you

Anita Flinchum

says:

These are great tips..many of which I used with my daughter and my granddaughters. Thanks for sharing.

Ecaterina B

says:

I think your advice is great as different pieces of it match one of my different kids. I have all reading levels and styles from a very gifted one to one who struggled and is now finding success and liking reading rhrough patience. Good advice

Amanda B

says:

All About Reading has developed a real love of reading in our children! We are so thankful for such an awesome program!

Amber B.

says:

My daughter loves buddy reading, and reading with a puppet friend really helped her persevere when reading feels really difficult to her! Snacks always make hard work more fun too. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amber,
Yes! Buddy reading makes the hard work shared and social. I did a lot of it with my youngest child when she was struggling with fluency.

Alyssa

says:

My son definitely dislikes reading. I think it is a confidence issue. A lot of things have seem to come easily to him–math, basketball, riding bike–so when something is a little more difficult–reading, soccer–he wants to give up very quickly. Thank you for the tips here, and throughout this website.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alyssa,
It is normal human nature to want to do things that you are good at and avoid things that are difficult. It is understandable that our children would react that way too. However, it is possible to become good at reading, like soccer and most everything else, with practice.

Heather Engstrom

says:

Thanks for the tips and encouragement

Becka Roy

says:

Thanks for the great ideas. Hoping my reluctant reader clears this hurdle soon.

Cheri Burns

says:

Great tips! Thank you!

BRANDI HOFF

says:

Would love to win the giveaway for our next set of All About Spelling!

Janelle L Cooke

says:

Would love to win the $100 giveaway for my daughter’s next reading level

Heather G

says:

Thank you for these tips! Looking forward trying these as I have been struggling with one of my readers. We do a lot of reading aloud and trips to the library. Allowing my kids to choose their own books has been helpful. I am hoping to help my children develop the love of reading and not wanting to avoid it.

Tahiry Andriamasy

says:

I was just reading a good night story this evening for my kids and my oldest son acted out whatever I was reading. My younger ones loved it and retained much more out of the story than usual.

Merry

says: Customer Service

That’s so fun, I love it when things like this spontaneously happen!

Myra

says:

I’ve found #3 to be so true! I’ve always loved reading, and definitely hope my kids will, too.

Fay

says:

I appreciate that you mentioned that you should find a variety of reading material. My children are very smart, and I would like them to keep learning and develop social skills. I think I will try to find an activity house for them.

Amber

says:

Great ideas!

Ellen Johnson

says:

Great ideas!

Renae Richard

says:

Great ideas! Love this!

Mary Schuh

says:

Thank you for all these great tips! I will use these.

Ashley

says:

Great tips…especially on helping struggling readers and motivating kids as they journey through reading. My 5 year old is expressing interest in learning to read, so I’m curious to try AAR products with her!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Do you have any questions, Ashley? Let me know if I can help you with anything.

Teresa

says:

My oldest, who is now 15, just started to enjoy reading. I’m not sure exactly what changed, but I am glad he likes it now.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Teresa,
Sometimes it just takes time for kids to learn to enjoy reading. My 3rd child was also 15 before he started reading for pure enjoyment. Better late than never, right? 😉

Sarah Watkins

says:

Hi Robin,
My 16 year old boy still won’t read. Everytime I give him an easy book like The Hobbit, I catch him playing with his phone or he invites friends over.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Getting kids to read can be a challenge when they don’t want to. While The Hobbit is often listed as a junior high-level book, it is much longer, more wordy, and complex than most books at that level. You might attempt books that are shorter and less likely to have long, rambling paragraphs.

With older kids like your son, consider offering rewards or privileges for finishing a book. Reading is more work than playing a game on a phone or hanging out with friends and most people, even adults, will avoid work if they can. He needs to see the benefit of putting the work in.

Thankfully, the more we read the easier it gets and the easier it gets the more enjoyable it is. This is the “Matthew Effect” in Reading. The trick is getting someone that doesn’t want to read to read every day for at least twenty minutes or so, long enough for the Matthew Effect to work.

I hope this helps some, but please let me know if you have further questions.

Kakaire Noah Paul

says:

This is a very good venture

Kakaire Noah Paul

says:

This is a commendable advice unfortunately it suits the developed worlds. In African setting especially in Uganda we are still far to reach this level. Can we be helped in any form do that we operate positively in diversity.
Thank you a lot

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kakaire,
Many of the tips outlined in this blog post will help children be more motivated to read no matter what part of the word they are in. A set reading time each day, an adult that reads aloud to the child, a comfortable place to read in, these will help encourage more reading in children anywhere. I understand that a wide variety of reading material may be hard to provide, especially in more rural parts of Africa, but the suggestions can still help parents and teachers to do the best they can.

I’m not sure what you are asking in your question. Please let me know if I can help further.

Roy

says:

I agree with limiting the screen time, this article was on point!

Linda

says:

I hope these ideas work with my third grader granddaughter, she hates to read. It’s a shore to get her to set still long enough to read 15 minutes a day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
I do hope these ideas help, but let me know if you need more ideas or help in this.

One thing not mentioned in this blog post is trying at different times of the day. Often children (and even adults) find it easier to focus at certain times of day than others. I know if I need to do something that takes a lot of concentration, I better get it done before late afternoon or evening.

Also, take a look at another of our blog posts, Is the “Matthew Effect” Affecting Your Child’s Desire to Read?.

Let me know how it goes over the next few weeks and if you have more questions.

Tiffany

says:

I read in funny voices in books and now when my daughter reads she will occasionally try silly voices-it’s so fun!

She doesn’t like to learn to read but doesn’t mind actual reading too much.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
Isn’t it wonderful to hear our children read aloud in the same sort of way that we do? I’ve seen it with my children too and it makes me smile so big. 😊

Shannon Alexander

says:

I love that reading motivates reading! I just wish we would have started read alouds when my oldest was younger!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

There is always time, Shannon! I still read aloud to my teens regularly as well as enjoying audiobooks myself. We all read a lot too, but being read aloud to increases the number of books we all get to enjoy.

Kelly

says:

Thanks for the tips! I am struggling to get my pre-teen interested in reading, especially since school has ended. I am considering challenging him to a reading contest this summer, logging our completed books on the fridge, at the minimum read one book a week (visiting the library every Saturday). Whoever finishes with the most books read will get to pick our end of summer long weekender vacation destination. From a 12 year old’s perspective, its hard to say where that may be! :) I think that’ll motivate him to continue reading while out of school. Thanks again.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a great idea, Kelly! I especially love that your motivation to get him reading more is for you to read more as well. That shows that it is important enough to you that you will do it too.

Danelle

says:

Theses are all great tips to try. Right now I am struggling with a very, very reluctant 2nd grade reader. Unfortunately, he has been exposed to way to much technology in his brick & mortar school, which is why we are now homeschooling. He and siblings would rather play games (not exactly learning games) instead of a book to read. Hopefully I can utilize some of these ideas to reverse this.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Danelle,
It is somewhat understandable that kids would rather play than read, especially when they are still learning to read. Before reading is easy, it is work and work is tiring. It takes practice and time for reading to become easy enough to be enjoyable.

In addition to the tips here (and I want to shout out for reading aloud to your student regularly as probably the best tip on this blog post), take a look at our blog post on the “Matthew Effect” in Reading. Sometimes you have to provide the motivation by requiring daily reading lessons or practice and in time that will spiral up to becoming the child’s own motivation. I have seen this work with my own children. I had to require 20 minutes of daily reading for a long while and slowly they began to enjoy reading more and more.

Please let me know if you have questions or need more information or help.

avigail

says:

I love the ideas, my kids are definitely not born wanting to read

Mich muk

says:

Superb

Mich muk

says:

This is lovely, I’ll help my kids will definitely learn how to read.

pankaj

says:

Thanks for this blog post . Keep sharing

Kavleen Kaur

says:

Thank you so much for your post. Keep sharing

Sherry

says:

Both my reluctant boys enjoy graphic novels (Bad Guys, The Flying Beaver Brothers) and some of the scholastic Branches series (Dragonmasters, The Notebook of Doom). It’s taken a while to get them to this level but I’m so glad they are finally getting to “read something interesting”.

Ofe

says:

Reading itself is fun and should be enjoyed but when there is no interest it could be a problem. In this blog post you have broken down everything concerning motivating kids who don’t to enjoy reading and for those who love reading to continue been their best through reading. When I was a child I struggled with reading, I saw it as a big concern but it was later on in my life I realized it is so much fun when explained well. Kids generally don’t like boring things and as such could get tired when they feel the book given them is so long then they end up closing the book but with this tips of yours I don’t think any child will not want to read books that motivate, inspires and above all strengths the minds into thinking of so many solutions to existing problems. I will definitely link people to your blog and kids as well , Thanks for this.

Noni

says:

Thank you guys highly unhelpful

Noni

says:

Meant Helpfully sorry.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, I’m happy to hear you meant helpful, Noni!

Sandi E

says:

Thanks for all the great ideas!

Desire Beatty

says:

Thank you for writing this very thoughtful and helpful article. We will definitely try these strategies with our reluctant reader!

LISA

says:

WHAT IF YOUR CHILD HAS EAR TUBES IN THE EARS AND STILL CAN NOT HEAR SOME OF THE SOUNDS?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
In the situation with a child that has already had ear surgery but is still hearing problems, please follow up with the child’s doctor and audiologist. Hearing impairment can have profound effects on a child’s ability to speak and process spoken language. Only through medical examinations will you be able to know for sure the best way to proceed to help the child.

John G

says:

Thanks for this great article. I really enjoyed reading it, I was having trouble with my nephew as he doesn’t like reading. Maybe we are not providing him with enough reading materials, I will buy some new books for him to read. Let’s see if he enjoys them.

Allyson

says:

The importance of creating a routine that allows for parent-child reading time is so important. I understand that some families have circumstances that make it more difficult but these are opportunities for young learners to create positive associations with reading and learning. To add to this list, creating fun and engaging activities tied to the themes or topics of the book can be a way for young learners to enjoy reading!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Allyson,
Yes! We completely agree. Thank you.

Godswill Etim

says:

I love what am seeing here

Thomas Mokua

says:

Awesome indeed. I love these books. The pictures are amazingly motivating. Reading is challenging for many kids and adults a like. Reading demands discipline and dedication. I agree with Iam successful in my profession because i love to read. If i see a book, i just grab it and swallow the contents and with it the knowledge acquired.Knowledge is power because those who know can not be easily swayed and therefore can not take to the idea of fake news of this terrible era.

Mark Anthony Martinez

says:

These are all great ideas for the upper and middle class family in suburbia, my issue is how do you get kids whose mom or dad are working two jobs to just get by. How do you help the kid that is in 5th grade but has been passed on because they are SPED?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mark,
The tips and suggestions here will help children of any socio-economic status. With school and public libraries, nothing here would require money in order to be put into practice. Even the suggestion for a cozy reading nook could be accomplished with a couple of blankets near a window.

Finding the time to do many of these suggestions can be difficult for parents in all kinds of situations, but it can be done although creativity may be needed. I knew a struggling single mother that read with her children over breakfast before they left for school and she left for work.

Frances Powers

says:

Children learn by example. Parents should be seen by their children read books as well.. bake cookies together..read the recipe with them.

CW

says:

Finding Child-Interest Books that are on-level can be tricky! After much labor, We managed to locate some fabulous engaging leveled reader “classics” pertaining to a favorite theme of our: cats! We located Jow Cowley Sunshine Books, Story Basket, Story Box, and Rigby PM, Rigby Sails, Rigby Stars. My kiddo couldn’t put these down, often reading on his own accord <3

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for these book recommendations! They sound great, but I have never heard of them.

Joyce

says:

Love the reading nook pictured! Thanks for the great tips!

Chris Janzen

says:

My son has certain reading assignments given to him for school. One thing that has kept him motivated to read them every day is getting to choose when they will get read. Sometimes he does the assignments during the normal school day, but other times he loves to save his books to read as bedtime stories just before going to sleep. Either way the work gets done and he loves feeling in control of getting to choose exactly when it is completed.

Anita

says:

I like to challenge my students to make up fun voices as we read. I do it too! They are not sure at first, but they love it.

Also, I use 1-page stories to get them past the fear of the story being too long. I even write my own 1-page stories using their names and their friends’ names to draw them into the story.

Lastly, books on tape really help!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Anita,
Great ideas! I especially like the one about 1-page stories with the child’s own name! Thanks for sharing.

Nichol

says:

A motivational tool we have found is the “book it” program by pizza hut. Set whatever reading goals you wish for your children to achieve and when they are reached the children are rewarded with a free pizza hut personal pizza. We tend to eat quiet healthy so pizza is a real treat at our house.

Crystal

says:

I have a 9 yr old who is still a reluctant reader. He says it takes too long. I have tried various things from reading about his hobbies to aloud reading to trying to make it fun. I will
Try the suggestion to create a spot but I’m thinking might be comprehension issues. Any suggestions on how I tell if it is comprehension issues?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Crystal,
Have you listened to your son read aloud? Often it is only after listening to a student read aloud for 10 minutes or so can we get a good idea of where they are struggling. Typically, comprehension issues are caused by other reading issues, such a not being able to read smoothly and fluently, or not having the stamina for reading well for longer periods. Listening to him will help you to hear if it is something like this.

Have you seen our article on Is the Matthew Effect Affecting Your Child’s Desire to Read? In it we discuss that good readers read more which makes reading easier which makes it more enjoyable so they read more in an ongoing upward spiral. Struggling readers find reading hard so they read less which makes reading more hard in an ongoing downward spiral. Because of the Matthew Effect, you may find it beneficial to simply require your son to read for 20 minutes or so every day, whether he wants to or not. Allow him choice in reading material, even allowing “easy” or below grade level reading, but require the reading. I have seen this daily required reading to make a big difference in my own sons’ desire to read, but it took over 6 months of requiring reading approximately 5 days a week to see this difference.

Let me know what you find after listening to your son read.

Marci

says:

I used 2 small finger puppets (one for me, one for her) and we pretended the puppets were reading the story. She loves pretend play, and it helped make reading less like work.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

What a way to make it uniquely fun for your daughter, Marci. Thank you for sharing this great idea.

Leslie

says:

Does anyone have any ideas for a child who is fully capable of reading two levels above her grade level, but puts up a fight anytime her own grade level reading is required of her? She’ll happily sit and read to her younger siblings; she’ll happily listen to any length of story read aloud; she’ll happily read a book that she has chosen herself (which tends to be a year or two below her grade level or Captain Underpants). But, ask her to read an on-level book for school that I choose and the whole world crumbles into a heap (not every time, but it’s happened enough that I’m asking the question).

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Leslie,
It could be that reading on or above your grade level is hard work for her, so while she can do it she doesn’t enjoy it nearly as much as lower level reading. This is normal human nature; I am very capable of reading The Illiad, but instead I enjoy young adult fiction much of the time. It is a lot of work to read The Illiad, and a pleasure to read Under the Never Sky.

How you are deciding what reading level the books are? Did you know that The Hunger Games and Kirsten Saves the Day (an American Girl book) are both listed by Scholastic as 5th grade reading level? As someone that has read both books, I can tell you that they aren’t on the same level at all. I am not sure how grade level for books is determined (and there is a lot of contrary information about that online), but obviously there is a flaw in the system if these two books are ranked similarly. For one thing, the content and interest level of one is at a much higher level than the other. Kirsten Saves the Day seems very appropriate for a 5th grader; The Hunger Games does not. I have seen this sort of problem in grade level listing for books a lot, and it makes me leery of choosing my children’s reading material by it.

Have you listened to your daughter read aloud the kind of books that you want her to read but she is resisting? You may find that her reading isn’t as fluent at that level as you thought. Or, you may find her fluency is fine, but the smaller print of higher level books troubles her. Or she sees the thickness, with few to no pictures, and her confidence is shaken. It is very difficult to determine what the issue is without sitting with her and hearing her read it.

I have made the mistake of requiring my children to read books that I felt they were ready for, but they felt were too hard. It never ended up with them being motivated to read more, and at times it ended up with them wanting to read much less. It is a much better tactic to encourage them to read a lot on a level they are comfortable with, but to keep offering suggestions for books they may enjoy. Sooner or later they will move to a higher level and start to enjoy reading there. If you feel the need to require her to read a book of your choosing (which I do occasionally, such as historical fiction that goes along with our studies), set a timer and allow her to stop at 20 minutes no matter how far (or not far) she gets. Another useful technique to encourage higher level reading is to buddy read the book with her.

I hope this helps some, Leslie. Let me know if we can help further.

Jen S.

says:

I need to try some of these ideas! Thank you for sharing them. My younger son 7 is a reluctant reader which is not helped by the fact that his older brother reads a ton and loves reading. My younger feels he can’t read as well and realizes he is struggling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jen,
I’m sorry to hear your younger son is struggling, and comparison rarely is helpful. Poor guy. Most children aren’t strong readers at the young age of 7, but grow into over time.

Renae B.

says:

Read this for future advice as my son is not yet ready to learn how to read. He loves to be read to, however, I can see him wanting to give up if he finds reading difficult. He wants to be easily good at everything and is frustrated when he is not.

Emily Lepich

says:

Thanks for all of the helpful advice on reluctant readers

Amy Dapprich

says:

I;m looking forward to trying some of these!

Heather

says:

My son was a reluctant reader. All About Reading and Spelling have helped us to overcome this. Although I thought the day would never come, he is finally beginning to enjoy reading.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Heather,
This is great to hear! Thank you for sharing your son’s success!

Fawn

says:

Great article! As you mentioned, a variety of materials (even comic books) often helps. Also, a time set aside for the child to share with peers or adults what they find fascinating about the book read creates a kind of “book talk”.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Great point, Fawn. Someone else expressing interest in what they read is very motivating for many kids.

Audrey

says:

I always have trouble finding books (outside curriculum), that my daughter can read. And I REALLY want to set up a reading nook for her… just have to find where!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Audrey,
It can be a struggle to find phonics based reading books on the earliest level, because so much of what is published today is sight reading based. However, if you let us know what level of AAR your child is on, we do keep lists of additional reading material that people have told us have worked for their children.

And a reading nook doesn’t have to be anything fancier than a comfy chair or cushion near a window or lamp for good light.

Mimi

says:

I would LOVE a list of reading materials for my grandson. He is in AAR level 2 but we are hoping to work into level 3 before summer.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sure, Mimi, here you go.

Here are some readers that others have told us they used with AAR 2. We have not looked at all of these to make sure there are no new patterns introduced; I know some will have a few new patterns, so pre-read the materials if you have a struggling learner who might need more help.

High Noon Books Sound Out Chapter Books

The titles that start with Mr. Putter and Tabby. . . (with some help).
… Pick the Pears
… Paint the Porch
… Dance the Dance
… Spin the Yarn
… Stir the Soup
… (and many more)

Christian Liberty Press has a set of 4 Phonics readers: It Is Fun To Read, Pals and Pets, A Time At Home, and It Is a Joy To Learn. Book 3 mainly uses concepts from AAR 2 (some 3).

Sonlight Grade 1 and Grade 2 readers (many of these will be available at a good library).

Henry and Mudge (a few concepts that are introduced in Level 3, but may be decodable by students who don’t struggle with reading–such as the /dge/ pattern)

Dr. Seuss books.

My Father’s Dragon trilogy–one mom said this was mostly decodable, some mastered words, some new words they’ll need help with after AAR 2. “When we came across a pattern that they didn’t know yet, I would give them the sound for that phonogram and then let them see if they could segment and blend the word. If not, I segmented to see if they could blend. Or, if I sensed they were near frustration, sometimes I just said the word so they could keep going.”

Now I’m Reading.

Bob Books (these start easy but the higher sets do use more advanced words. Older students may think they’re too childish however.) Levels 3, 4, and 5 include concepts mainly from levels 2-3 of AAR.

Fly Leaf, A Book to Remember has very nice pictures but can be expensive. You might check your library for these.

I See Sam readers (these are free for iPads):
– Set 1 has 73 regular words (can be sounded out after learning ch/sh/th in AAR 1), and 9 “sight” words. All 1 syllable words. Introduces both small and capital letters.
– Series 2 introduces al, 80-150 words
– Set 3 introduces contractions, er, ou, 100-150 words
– Set 4 introduces ai, ar, ing, ed, 2 syllable words, 200-400 words
– Set 5: ay, ch, ea, ee, ir, ol, oo, or, ow, qu, ur, 300-500 words
– Set 6: au, aw, ew, igh, kn, oa, oi, oy, ph, tion, ture, ue, wr, 500-700 words
– Set 7: prefixes, suffixes, semi colon, prolonged sounds, possessives, abbreviations, initials, 600-800 words per story
– Set 8: suffixes, time, hyphenated words, abbreviations, 4-step approach to decoding multi-syllable words, 700-1000 words per story.

Fun Phonics might also be a possibility–the last 3 books include concepts mainly from Level 2.

From EPS Books:
– Primary Phonics Story Books
– Spire Decodable Readers
– The Alphabet Series

Progressive Phonics – Free phonics books that can be read online or downloaded and used right away. Follows AAR very closely.

The McGuffey Readers were used for YEARS from the mid-1800′s into the early 1900′s to teach reading. They are available online for free in the public domain.

We Both Read books – These books are designed for the parent to read one page of more difficult text and the child reads the other page of easier text.

Heather

says:

I needed to read this right now!

Allison

says:

Great ideas!!

Sharla M

says:

Thanks for this article. Some really good ideas to get my son reading!

Tami Lewis

says:

After teaching six kids to read and work in with my seventh , I can’t stress the reading aloud time enough. We all look forward to it.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tami,
Yes, we agree. Reading aloud regularly to children, even beyond when they can read well themselves, is beneficial in so many ways, plus it makes warm, fuzzy memories.

Laura Barnes

says:

My older kids read to my younger kids all the time– it’s great for all of them and I love to see them enjoy time together.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laura,
Yes, reading to younger kids is a great motivator for reading. And, if you don’t happen to have younger kids in the house, many kids enjoy reading aloud to pets or stuffed animals. (Or you can “borrow” a young cousin or a friend’s younger sibling.)

Renee C.

says:

Definitely finding a subject that interests my son works. The Level 1 Star Wars reader worked for him the other day!

Julie B.

says:

Your advice is always welcome! Thanks!

christine

says:

Great ideas. Thanks!

Rachael

says:

My reluctant reader is also a born comedian, so directing him towards silly chapter books like: How to Eat Fried Worms, is helpful. He just finished that one in a breeze since it was something he was interested in.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rachael,
We love How to Eat Fried Worms! It’s like a generational tradition, as both my husband and I read it as children, and now the children read it. Lots of fun!.

KD

says:

My son is a reluctant reader, so I’ve been reading out loud for me. The only thing that he likes to read to himself is comic books. He is a fourth grader and he still likes reading picture books. We like all the Dr. Suess’ books.

Christina Morales

says:

We are really loving using these programs. My oldest daughter is doing the spelling to fill in the gaps and has learned a lot already. We have flown through two levels at this point but it is worth it to gain a foundation for the future lessons. My youngest daughter is in AAR 1 and loves it. I love watching her face when she figures out a story. Her favorite so far is The Red Pen. She loves that one. My middle daughter is dyslexic and really struggling. Even she loves the level 1 books and is so proud of herself when she reads the stories. Thanks for an excellent program and thanks for your generosity.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Christina,
Thank you for sharing how your children are doing. Let us know if you ever need more help for your struggling learner, although it sounds like she is off to a good start.

Ashley

says:

Great improvement in my child’s spelling using AAS. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Ashley. Thank you for sharing your child’s success!

Elizabeth Stankiewicz

says:

I have found that reading aloud to the struggling reader is a great motivator. Also, I gently encourage them to read every other word so we are sharing the “difficulty.”

Jennie

says:

My child loves to read and be read to! This program has really helped her tremendously. It is amazing! i am looking forward to continuing it with her.

Amanda

says:

Going to purchase the first lesson today. So excited to help my daughter with her spelling! Would love to win the giveaway!

Rebecca Armstrong

says:

Thank you so much! Your curriculum has worked miraculously for our different learners. I have tried many spelling and reading curricula and I highly recommend yours!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
You are welcome, and thank you for the high recommendation!

Angela BOYCE

says:

Love this program! As a mom of five it has simlpified our day with the easy lesson plans to follow.

Amy

says:

Our child is definitely a word guessing…we’re working on it!

Jessica W.

says:

Thanks for sharing these great tips!!!

Amanda

says:

Thank you for the tips!

Ann Marie

says:

My son is reading more now by reading to his little sister when I need a few minutes to get a chore done. He enjoys showing her how he can read!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ann Marie,
This is a great idea! And if you don’t have a younger sibling hanging around, reading to a pet or stuffed animal works as well. My daughter loves to read to the dogs and cats.

Corrie

says:

I finally got my oldest son interested in reading when our local library got in a new section of graphic novels. He didn’t find the “comic” style as intimidating as chapter books.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Corrie,
My own boys have fell in love with graphic novels too. I have been pleasantly surprised with the range of topics available. It’s not just the superhero genre that I expected, but literature, historical events, biographies, and more. My boys especially love the “Hazardous Tales” series that cover American history events.

Thalia Waldvogel

says:

If you have a Six Flags near you, you can sign up to “Six Flags Read to Succeed” program. Your children can earn a feee pass if they read 6 hrs. Not much but it’s an incentive.

Marie Rippel

says:

Thanks for sharing this tip, Thalia!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Oh, I think some people are going to be happy you shared this, Thalia. Thank you.

Stephanie

says:

I Have learned that even if what they enjoy reading isn’t mom’s favorite don’t pick that battle and let them explore as they discover what they enjoy. My kids liked this comic series and I really wasn’t a fan but my daughter who is not an avid reader would get every book when we went to the library and would read every one…eventually she moved on to other books because it allowed her to discover what she enjoyed reading and try new series. I Also found it to be important not to have expectations in their reading and if they stay put at reading below their grade level that’s ok…there’s enough pressure out there and it’s important to let reading become enjoyable as they find material they like to read.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Great points, Stephanie! Reading “easy” books builds fluency and a joy of reading, and it isn’t a bad thing at all. Hey, I read books that are easy for me all the time. Thank you for sharing.

Summer

says:

Marie, just wanted to let you know how much we LOVE All About Reading. I’m using Level 1 with my 2nd Grader, who was a very resistant reader (and still says he “doesn’t like reading”). The last few weeks, he’s starting to read words on signs, cereal boxes, you name it! I tried several different curriculums and yours is hands down the best I’ve tried. It’s fun, easy for me to follow and we are seeing results. Thank you for an awesome reading program!!!! -Summer S. from California

Marie Rippel

says:

Hi Summer! Thanks for your kind words, and thanks so much for sharing this update about your son’s progress!!! I’m cheering you both on!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Summer,
This is GREAT! We love to hear this sort of thing, and I’ll be sharing this with the entire All About Learning Press team. Thanks for sharing.

Naomi

says:

When our former reading program was driving her batty, I just took her to the library and let her pick books that interested her. If the reading level was too high, I read them or helped. It took the pressure off though and now she loves the library.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Naomi,
I agree that allow student’s choice in their reading is a great motivator. Thanks for sharing!

Jo

says:

I agree with limiting the screen time, this article was on point!

Ashley Moore

says:

When my girls first started reading they got a new book for every 20 read. They also had a special doll that they could only hold if they were reading to her.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
What motivators, new books and a special doll. Thank you for sharing this idea.

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