My Child Hates to Read

My child hates to read

What to do When Your Child Doesn’t Like to Read

Motivating a child to read is a challenge when they’d rather be doing something else–anything but reading.  Dr. Linda Silbert suggests word puzzles and games at first.  Then eventually children find something they’re passionate about and often will enjoy reading about that. She even shares a free downloadable resource.

Dear Dr. Linda,
My daughter is in 8th grade. She’s a pretty good student. She does her homework and gets A’s and B’s. Sometimes she gets a C, but in general she’s always done well in school. But, she hates to read.

She’s a good reader who never picks up a book.

We make her sit and read for 20 minutes every day. She hates it. My husband and I love to read. What can we do to encourage her to read more and ultimately become a reader who loves to read?


Dear Maria,
We assume that everybody loves to read. The fact is that not everybody loves to read. We all need to know how to read, but we all do not have to love to read.

For example, some people love to go to the beach with a good book in order to relax. Other people would have a nervous breakdown if they had to go to the beach to read a book.

Recently I heard an interview with a  famous musician. The interviewer asked him what books he reads while flying to his concerts. He commented by saying that he’s not a reader. He shared that he spends the hours writing music while he’s flying. Years ago, I heard a famous writer make a similar statement. He said he’d much rather write than read.

Some people love to read and some only read to learn more about topics they love.

Fun Alternatives to Reading

Your daughter doesn’t have to love reading now or at any point in her life. Kids don’t like to read for many reasons But it is important that she is able to read. Introduce her to crossword puzzles, analogies and other word games. They’re not only fun, but they also expand vocabulary, develop problem solving skills, and other high level thinking skills. Introduce her to newspapers, magazines, blogs and online articles.

Eventually, your daughter will become interested in a particular field. Now she’ll look for books to learn more about her favorite topic. Right now, she seems to be doing what she needs to do well in school and still have time to do things she enjoys. That doesn’t have to be reading a book. That’s what you enjoy.

What to do When My Child Hates to Read

Just make sure she reads at grade level. Many children complain about reading and say they hate it. In reality they have a reading problem. They may have difficulty decoding, their vocabulary may be poor, or they may read slowly. Perhaps they can’t keep up with assignments or remember what they read.

With these challenges, they learn to hate reading. Be sure this is addressed before accepting the fact that your child is simply not a reader. Many times “I hate to read” is simply a cover up for “I have trouble reading.”

Dr. Linda

P.S. As Maria goes on to high school, she may need help with Study Skills. Pick up my complimentary ebook, “How to Study” for her.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Why Do Kids Hate School?
Kids Who Do Not Like Reading

Got a question about reading for Dr. Silbert? She may use it in her syndicated newspaper column. Write her at Linda @ Strong Learning dot com.  We delete any identifiable information and you get the answers you need from a nationally-known reading specialist!

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Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory