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Help! My Child HATES Reading!

Reading is one of the most disliked subjects. Ironically, it is the most used subject in life as well. Our children need to understand how to read to help them through all school subjects and in the real world. I often get this question from concerned parents: "My child hates to read! What can I do to help them learn and become interested in reading?" Here are some tips to add interest to reading time and get your child wanting to read.

1. Add their interests to reading.

I have found that by adding your child's interest into their reading choices, they become more willing to read. My son loved Legos, Avengers, Batman, and Ninja Turtles at the time he was learning how to read. I made sure that these interests were placed in books for him. He wanted to read more. I still continue to follow this method with him, although he is in middle school.

*A list of most interesting reads among students K-12 is listed below!

2. Set a timer

I know this sounds weird or confusing, but setting a timer helps add a routine to reading time. I have noticed that my son knew that there was a priority to reading. He knew that at a certain time during the day he needed to set a timer for 20 minutes to read. Once he set the timer and began reading, I usually had to argue with him to pause reading when his timer ended. He always wanted to finish the book or read the sequel. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes each day in your child's daily routine.


3. Have family reading time

Get the whole family reading! Each week, my family sets time aside to have the house quiet and read together. We often get our favorite/current book and read for about 30 minutes. Before my son was able to read well, his dad and I would have him select a book for each of us to read with him. It provide quality family time and also promoted reading for him. We even add a little flair each time. For instance, we will go to the beach or a local park to read. We would even have a theme/particular genre for our book selection. I challenge you to have a book family presentation or book tasting to add more fun to your family reading time.

4. Play games that deal with reading.

Playing games always are fun! Incorporate games into reading time. I loved to do this because my son did not realize that he was reading. We played games like:


5. Add a rewarding challenge.

During the summer, adding reading challenges makes it not only fun but provides a reward. As an elementary, I always provided a reading challenge during the holidays with a cool reward to have my students continue to read. I would provide them during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break holidays. I did not want my students to "slide away" from the reading. I would always provide a reward like a "No Homework" Pass, a sweet treat from Chick-Fil-A or Dairy Queen, or even a trip to the Treasure Box. At home, I would do something similar. My son would have rewards such as a trip to Wal-Mart and can make a purchase (...with a price limit), a dinner of his choice, or a trip to his favorite fun place. Here is an example of a reading challenge.

Here is a list of books to help you get started in engaging reading:


  • The Bad Guys Series(graphic novel)

  • Don't Touch this Book! by Bill Cotter

  • Books by Mo Willems (such as Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!)

  • The Duck Who Didn't Like Water by Steve Small

  • Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson


  • Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (graphic novel)

  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series (graphic novel)

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (graphic novel)

  • Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft (graphic novel)


  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

  • Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

  • Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

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