How to Make Reading Fun for the Child Who Doesn't Like to Read

a straw hat and maracas sit on a bright blue wooden background
Although I have loved books for as long as I can remember, my eldest daughter is not interested in reading. She would rather play outside and build things than read books.

Because I believe that reading books is an essential part of a child's education, I’ve worked to find methods that promote a love of reading in even the most reluctant of readers.

Read-aloud Often

My mom and dad always read aloud to me and my siblings when we were growing up, and I think that played a large role in my love for books. I also read aloud with my children as much as possible both at bedtime and during the day. I let the children choose a book that is interesting to them but not too mind-numbing for me. We love mysteries, tales of adventure, and classic children’s books.

If you add voices to your reading aloud, you get bonus points! 

Of course, choosing a book-based homeschool curriculum is an obvious way to include more books in your child's routine. And instead of assigning them, you are enjoying them together

Find the Child’s Favorite Genres

I thought for several years that my daughter didn’t like reading, but it turns out she simply didn’t like reading the books that I picked out. She is not a big fan of fantasy or classic children’s literature. Instead, she loves non-fiction books that teach something.

I’ve seen her pour over science dictionaries, a thesaurus, encyclopedias, books on animal care, and many other books that are practical and informative. She would rather learn something while reading rather than simply be entertained.

When we allowed her to choose her own books, she suddenly became much more interested in reading.

Listen to Audio Books

How to Make Reading Fun for the Child Who Doesn't Like to ReadSome children have a harder time reading due to dyslexia or other learning differences. Reading may not be fun for these children, but that doesn’t mean they should not be exposed to books. In fact, exposure to literature is even more important for kids who don't like to read themselves.

We allow our children to listen to audiobooks while falling asleep. Our library has hundreds of children’s audio books to choose from, saving us money. Listening to a book is not cheating, and children still get the benefits of expanded vocabulary and learning literary elements when listening to a book. Sometimes, listening to a book sparks enough interest in a child for that child to then seek out books to read as well.

Watch the Movie First

There is some debate on whether the book should be read before the movie, but having a visual representation of what a story will be like is important for some children. My eldest daughter was not interested in reading the How to Train Your Dragon series before she watched the movies. Now, she wants to read the books. In her case, watching the movie first triggered a desire to read more about the characters.

Complete a Hands-on Project

Hands-on learners need to do something with their hands to unlock their true learning potential. Luckily, there are thousands of activities that you can persue to bring a book to life.

We like to make food mentioned in the book, but we have also done other projects related to a story as well. When we read I Am a Bunny, it inspired an entire nature study on local and seasonal plants. BookShark has hands-on kits that make projects seamless. Use them to supplement your history curriculum, or use them as stand-alone projects. 

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About the Author

Brenda Priddy

Brenda is a professional writer and homeschooling mother to two girls in Dallas, TX, with a passion for books, DIY, and creative education. Her blog, Schooling a Monkey, is all about homeschooling, crafts, green living, and fun.