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Helping Your Reluctant Reader

What do you do with a reluctant reader? Some kids just don’t seem interested in books. They may associate them with homework, thinking of them as boring. They may simply not see it as appealing when compared to other activities. Or they might find reading difficult. So, how do you help your child get over their reluctance?

You can start by modeling reading yourself. It’s never too late to start. Read to your child, but let them see you reading on your own, too. Whether it’s a book, magazine, the news or something else, when they see you enjoying the written word, they will begin to associate it with positive things.


Your child can also read more than just books. Sometimes a chapter book or novel looks intimidating. So how about a short story? Magazine article? Website? Maybe your child would like to write and illustrate a story of their own. offers this wonderful list of ideas, from trading cards to scavenger hunts. Text is a gateway to fun and interesting topics. Your child will soon learn that reading can be more than just an activity unto itself.

When your child is ready to sit down with a book, how do you help them choose? Let them pick things that interest them; you can always ask your friendly librarian for suggestions. The most important thing is that they find pleasure in reading, so don’t force them toward something they don’t want to try. Comics and graphic novels are a great place to start. Even if your child only wants to read Star Wars stories or books about computer games, they are still reading, learning new words and growing comfortable with books. Here’s an article from with more advice on the subject.

Are you looking for specific titles that might appeal to your reluctant reader? Common Sense Media offers some lists of ideas. These are books that are appealing, fun and non-intimidating. Carnegie Library also brings you staff picks every month, so be sure to take a look for more suggestions. We have something for every age and interest.

Stick Cat book

Make sure you seek professional help if you think your child may be struggling to read or affected by such issues as Dyslexia. Breaking down these barriers is vital. Listen to what your child says when they tell you they don’t want to read. The NIH offers this helpful article about signs of learning disabilities.

Not every reluctant reader will grow into a book worm, but there are many ways to foster and encourage your child’s enjoyment of reading. Remember that the library also offers programs for all ages, including Storytime. Bringing your young child to the library to share books, songs and more is a perfect gateway to reading.

Megan is a Children’s Library Assistant at CLP – East Liberty. When she isn’t reading fantasy, magical realism and/or pretty much any children’s book, she enjoys gaming, watching movies and writing fiction, some of which has been published.

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