When your child hates reading it can be discouraging and frustrating. But the good news is any child can be taught to love reading.
When your child doesn’t want to read or says things like, “I hate reading” what are they really trying to tell you? Let’s look at some common mistakes and how you can avoid them to help your child love reading, at any age.
When Your Child Hates Reading
As a reading teacher and a mom, I’ve heard enough children tell me that they hate reading to know there is usually something more going on that they are unable to, or afraid to, express. Let’s take a look at the three mistakes parents (and sometimes teachers) make that can easily be avoided.
Pushing a child to read before they are ready can make a child hate reading
There are a plethora of resources and Facebook groups that promise you can teach your toddler or preschooler to read, but the scientific truth is that children are rarely ready to read before the age of six. There are children who will learn to read early, but you’ll know if that’s your child because the process will be effortless and they won’t hate it!
If your child is under the age of six and they are crying, frustrated, doing anything they can to avoid reading, and they are expressing that they hate reading, it’s time to back off.
Go back to reading aloud to them, make reading fun again, and hold off on the instructional piece or asking them to read on their own. Your child may feel overwhelmed and confused by this complex task set before them and they probably don’t want to disappoint you. All the cortisol being sent to the brain while they are stressing out over sounding out words they’re not ready for is sending them the message that reading is hard, that they are not smart, and setting them up to dislike reading.
You can still do many fun things around reading like visiting the library, play bingo and word matching games to learn the alphabet, shared reading, and more, but please don’t push a child who simply needs more time to be ready to read.
Overdoing worksheets, drills, memory work, and isolated phonics practice can make a child hate reading
When your child hates reading, there is a good chance that they are associating reading with activities that aren’t really reading. Children are savvy and know a good story when they hear one, but they also recognize when reading becomes more about worksheets and boring practice instead of a good book.
We start out introducing children to wonderful children’s books and reading to them but somewhere along the line, someone convinces us that we need to get down to the details of teaching reading.
Enter the boring phonics programs, rote practice, and confusing reading programs with long lessons and lots of worksheets. This is not reading. Children need to spend time doing what we want them to get good at and that means real reading with real books.
If your child has started to resent or hate reading, moans when it’s reading time, or has had a sudden attitude change about reading, step back and take a look at what reading time involves. If you’re ready to teach reading without boring and expensive reading programs, you can order our book here or join the VIP membership group, Raise a Lifelong Reader, where I show you how to teach reading with REAL children’s books so your child will love to read for a lifetime!
Asking a child to read books that are too hard will make a child hate reading
Nobody likes to do something that makes them feel like they are failing. In order for children to gain confidence with reading, we need to give them books that are easy enough for them to read without making reading feel like torture. Reading does not have to be hard! We want children to love reading so let’s give them a positive and rewarding experience every time they open a book.
I teach parents how to find “just right” books in my VIP group for parents. If you’re looking for all the strategies you need to help your child overcome their dislike for reading then Raise a Lifelong Reader is a good place to start.
When your child hates reading, you can go through these three concerns and take the necessary steps to get back to the place where your child will love books and desire to learn to read. It’s never too late.
I’ve worked with many children of all different ages and I know that it’s possible to change a child’s attitude about reading. My desire is to help you raise lifelong readers who can read and love to read! To learn more, visit our Facebook group or our free community here.
Read, read more, read more often. ~Mary