How the Heck do I Get My Kid to Read?

by Rachel Esco November 14, 2017

kid hates reading


Let's be honest. Many kids hate reading-- okay, perhaps "hate" is too strong-- let's say "dislike". Better? Yet, no matter how we choose to spin the vernacular, we can't escape the cold, bleak reality: they're just not that into it. So, if you're among the zillion parents who stay up late at night, wondering, "how do I get my kid to read?", you can ease your anxiety. I've compiled the ultimate list of hacks to motivate your child to read. So, cross your fingers, think positively and maybe even grab a coffee before we begin.











Combine listening comprehension

"No, mom, I don't want to listen to my iPod", said no kid ever. It's no secret that kids like their tunes. Turn this passion into something educational by purchasing their novel as an audio book on iTunes.

These audio versions often come with engaging background sounds and professional voice-overs to make the story come alive. While they're listening to the audio, they can follow along in their novels, helping them become more immersed in the story. It's currently one of the most popular ways to encourage your child to read.

Exercise the imagination

How do I get my kids to read

Day dreaming equals distraction-- usually. But, when used correctly, it can help mentally render the story in the child's mind.

While they're reading, they should envision every detail of the action and dialogue. What do the characters look like? What about the setting? As they're imagining the events play out in their mind's eye, they can stay engaged in the story, making it more meaningful and memorable.

And although we can't completely eliminate day-dreaming (and we shouldn't want to), at least we can try channeling it to better use.

Find the main idea

Main idea reading

How many times have you ever found yourself in this situation: you ask your child, "how's your novel going?". There's no answer. Or rather, there's an ambiguous trail of ums and uhs, which disconcertingly lead nowhere-- nowhere specific, that is.

This common situation is a tell tale sign that they're not following the key ideas in their story. Bummer. To address this issue, have them record the main idea after each chapter. This strategy, although not the most fun they've ever had, will force them to focus more on internalizing the details and plot points of their novel.

Or alternatively, if they're very forgetful or day-dreamy, you can have them write the main idea after every 3-5 pages. Since they're responsible for this information, they'll be less likely to space off into la-la-land while reading.

Take a break from "the classics"

We all love classics like "Pride an Prejudice" or "The Hobbit", but sometimes, these grand tales are not what a kid needs. In other words, we need to face the reality that not every child--no matter how much we push, plead and prod-- will be enthusiastic about a slow-paced romance from the 1800s.

So, at the risk of sounding like a scholar's antichrist, let me say that there's still merit in choosing lighter novels to hold their interest.

Novels like "Maze Runner" or for higher reading levels, "Syrup", are great choices because they deal with social issues that teens can genuinely connect with. If they care about the story, they'll care enough to read-- usually.

Your last resort: bribe them

 If all else fails, you may resort to bribery. Yes, I said it. Now, if you're the moralistic type of grade-pushing parent, this approach may feel fundamentally  wrong to you-- and that's okay. Nevertheless, if you're among those who don't mind dangling some bait in exchange for your child's motivation, then I say, all the power to you!

Essentially, it's about getting your child to read in exchange for a sweet deal. And sure, this approach may be a tad questionable to some, but it can also be fairly effective. Your choice.


So for any tortured mind, wishing they could get their kid to read, you can use these strategies to start making the reading magic happen. Perhaps they won't turn into a bookworm overnight, but it'll surely help them move forward-- through the chapters.


Rachel Esco
Rachel Esco


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