Helping struggling readers who hate reading.

My most asked question – My child hates reading, I have books in the house. I read to them often and yet they hate reading, what do I do?

Reluctant Reader

Reluctant Reader

There are many reasons why your child might hate reading, this post looks at if your child is a struggling reader and hates reading.

Reading words is difficult. Your child needs to recognise the letter, connect it with the sound it makes, then blend the sounds together fluently to read the word.

thinking timeOnce they have read the word they then have to understand the meaning of the word and place it in context with the other words on the page to comprehend the story or text they are reading.

We know there are 26 letters in the alphabet which make over 44 sounds and have more than 200 spelling variations.

Ahhhh! It is a hard skill. You are not alone with having a child who does not like reading,

Since beginning abcJenny on Facebook, reluctant readers have been the biggest concern of followers.

If your child is a beginning reader and is struggling with learning to read, take a break from reading books.

Reading should be fun for children. Books given to your child to read should be easy for them. Reading is not all about the letters on the page it is also about reading fluently. Reading fluently helps with comprehension.

Learning how to read single words can be done either directly with pen and paper or indirectly with games.

My top 5 ways of including the word read with your child without using books.

Shopping – When shopping ask your child to read the signs to find different food items. For example, say to your child, Can you that's liferead the sign and bring back 2 tomatoes (choose food they are able to recognise)? Although your child may not be reading the sign they will begin to connect words with food items and seeing themselves as a reader.

You could also make a shopping list with pictures and words to give to them while shopping.



Menus Before a meal time give your child a menu with words and pictures. Ask them to tell you what they would like for their tea. This could be as simple as different spreads on toast, or pizza toppings. If your drawing skills are not easily identifiable (like mine) supermarket catalogues are great to use.

A further post on children writing and reading menus can be found here Your Child’s Restaurant.

celeryRecipes/ Science Experiments/Lego  Find a recipe, science experiment  or Lego booklet, which have step by step instructions with pictures included. Give your child the instructions to make the item. Remember to use the word ‘read’ when asking your child to make the recipe, Lego structure or complete the science experiment



Board Games Playing board games with your child is a perfect way to include reading while having fun. Even if your child is only monopoly 3matching words still use the word read. For example, play Monopoly and let your child be the Real Estate Agent, giving each person their property. They will only need to look at the colour and match the beginning letter to find the correct card.



Signs Environmental Print is perfect for your child to read. Whether it is road signs, tourist signs, bike path signs or shop signs. Signs are often made for people with limited English to understand, therefore the illustration is often very clear. Give your child the confidence in reading by asking them to ‘read the sign’.

signs 2

Give your child confidence in their ability.

If your child is at school, speak to your teacher about wanting to re-engage your child into reading. Ask for your child to still bring readers home from school, you don’t want them to feel different from other students. When at home mark off what reading they did – read a menu, read a recipe, read a board game, read a sigh or read while shopping.

I have made a No Books, Reading Challenge with notes for teachers and parents of children reluctant to read books. Click on the link below.

No Books, Reading Challenge

When your child is beginning to regain their confidence, find books they could read a year ago. This may be books with a single word and illustration in them. Use these books with your child and ask them to read them to a younger sibling, favourite soft toy or relative (maybe via Skype). Give them confidence to read fluently.  If your child is uncomfortable about reading from a lower group than other students, see your teacher after school to select books for your child to read.


If you feel your child is not progressing with reading and you have taken all appropriate steps it may be time to consider checking medical reasons. Anyone of the following could be a reason while your child is struggling with reading. Please seek professional help and speak to your local general practitioner and any other educational services involved with your child.

  • eye sight
  • speech delays
  • dyslexia
  • intellectual disability
  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum
  • hearing
  • auditory processing disorders

Try to make reading fun. Please feel free to continue asking questions on your child’s reading and writing development on here or via my Facebook page abcJenny.


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