Muse Journal

How to Encourage Unmotivated Readers

I’m sure some of you wish your little ones read more. And it’s easy to believe that your child’s disinterest in reading is due to technological access (e.g., video games, streaming apps, etc.). But, what happens when technology or other activities are not the reason your child is reluctant to pick up a book? Let’s go through some possible causes.

Have a Reluctant Reader? Here’s why.

1. They are unable to read.

Your child may have difficulty with reading skills, so the task alone may feel intimidating.

2. They indeed enjoy other activities.

Every child is different and shouldn’t be shamed for it. Your child may be able to read, but prefers to spend their free-time outdoors.

3. They are selective about genre.

One child may enjoy mysteries while another may enjoy sci-fi. Whatever genre your child may like, it’s important they genuinely enjoy the book they are reading.

Now that you are aware of a few reasons–there’s likely more–your child may feel unmotivated to read, below are a few tips on how to encourage them!

1. Make a reading routine.

Whether it’s after homework or before bed, creating a consistent reading schedule with your child can help their reading become habitual. Additionally, consider age and length of time. Start with 10-15 minutes of reading a day, perhaps!

2. Pair reading with play.

If your child often engages in other forms of play (e.g., being outdoors), link the two. Another thing to consider is purchasing books that involve other activities. Read a recipe from a cookbook, for example!

3. Make reading fun.

It may be helpful to read aloud with them and create some form of entertainment surrounding the story (e.g., creating animated voices for certain characters). The key is to avoid forcing the experience. You want them to feel as though reading is an option during leisure time.

4. Read culturally-specific stories.  

For children among underrepresented groups, it’s not uncommon for them to read stories that aren’t representative of their culture or experience. So, consider purchasing books with characters that look like your child! This may be encouraging as they’ll see that they matter in even fictional worlds.

5. Visit literary spaces.

Take a trip to the library! Expose them to spaces where reading is encouraged and books of all genres are offered. This way, they have an increased chance of figuring out their niche… for free at that.  

Happy Reading!


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