When Your Child Hates to Read

when_your_child_hates_to_readWe’ve been blessed in raising four children who love to read. But occasionally, one of our children will go through a phase where nothing appeals to them. There is no book mom can suggest and no genre which appeals to them. What’s a parent to do when their child is going through this difficult time; and what if this isn’t just a ‘stage’ and our child truly hates to read?

If our child is going through a stage where reading is no longer of interest, or has never experienced the joy of reading, it can seem impossible to spark the flame of desire. Is there hope?

Be Prayerful – You know me! Everything – but everything – starts with prayer. Encouraging a love of reading is no different. If our children are struggling in this area, we need to be asking the Lord to soften their hearts and open their minds to this skill. He can do what we cannot. We pray for an increase in their interest, and wisdom on our behalf to show them the way.

Set An Example – Expressing joy over our own reads encourages our children to pick up books. Our enthusiasm can be infectious. Are we reading often and consistently? We might share what we’re reading, exciting plot twists, what we’ve learned, and how this book has sparked our imagination. Reading our Bible daily is also important. Our children will mimic what they see us live out.

Show Patience – Yelling, belittling, grumbling, and nagging aren’t going to encourage our children to pick up that book buried under piles of dust. Our children need to hear about literature in a positive light and see grace lived out.

Be Creative – Great literature doesn’t only come in book form. We might consider reading aloud to our child, listening to books on tape, or attending book reading events. We want our children to experience the joy of the story, not stress over the reading of words. Given time, the reading will follow.

Talk It Out – Is there a genre our children like more than others? Before we hand them Shakespeare and ask them to enjoy, we might start with something more on their level and in their interest range. Perhaps we’re choosing books which are not challenging enough. Our child might need to step up their game.

Start Small – Just because our children know how to read, doesn’t mean they are ready for War and Peace. We might begin with littler books, or even books which seem like twaddle (shudder) but inspire our children to explore more. Our goal is to start the flame, then build. Eventually War and Peace might not seem out of reach.

It helps when I keep things in perspective. Our goal is to raise righteous children who love the Lord. We want them to enthusiastically read their Bibles. But if my focus shifts out-of-place and becomes the ever-impressive list of books my child has read, the Lord might be using this to teach me a lesson.

May the Lord help each of us to find balance in this area of our lives. May we have patience to reach our children where they are, wisdom to help them overcome this obstacle, and grace to lead our children in joy.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
~ Romans 12:12

📢 Chime In!: Have any of your children expressed disinterest in reading? Share with us how you’ve helped – or are helping – your littles through this challenging time.

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5 thoughts on “When Your Child Hates to Read

  1. I’m an author and my oldest hates to read. Go figure. I have managed to find her a few chapter books that do interest her; however, when those are put away and it’s time to read for school . . . she goes back to the “I hate reading” mindset and pouts and complains. It’s draining. I’m hoping it’s just a phase. I didn’t really like it much at her age either. Then I stumbled upon The Saddle Club series and it changed. I still have the set of books that I saved for her, but she’s about 2-3 years from being at that level. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Usually, the “I hate reading” speech translates, “I don’t like reading THIS.”

      While I’d love for my child to enjoy everything put in front of them, odds are they won’t. However, I do want to find a balance and ensure a love of learning in general. Hopefully with a dash of “I love reading” mixed in.

      Thank you for sharing.


  2. You provide all very nice tips to encourage a child to read. At my house, we have what I like to call a library of almost 1,000 books. Magazines and newspaper (old paper) are found around the house. Still, my youngest never grasped reading like my oldest. Even comic books are encouraged as a way to get my youngest interested in reading. It took an expert to open my eyes about how children learn. I want to say Andrew Pudewa, but I don’t believe it was him.
    Children learn through different methods. Some are hands on while others are not. My oldest is a hands on learner and loves to read, but the truth of his college education is that he doesn’t read any of the books. My youngest is not that type of learner and doesn’t read. He is taking the same college class his older brother took a few years earlier, and my son reads the book. Curiously, my youngest will read short articles, so we purchased Reader’s Digest and a World War II magazine since he was interested in that history. These are short-lived.
    The point I’m trying to make is don’t sweat it if your child is not a reader. Our education at home was and is reading based. The oldest read while the youngest took methods to accomplish his tasks without reading. We have what I think is the perfect environment. My advice is not to get too upset if they are not readers but continue with your excellent advice. Each child learns and develops differently, and they may at a later date develop the desire to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up an excellent point! Comic books, graphic novels, and the like are all excellent ways to encourage a love of reading.

      As parents, we need to understand this isn’t a personal affront or failure. Each child needs to have the freedom to embrace this gift in his own time.

      Excellent thoughts! Thank you for sharing.


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