Picture this scenario: you invite your child to sit with you in the coziest chair in your house. You open up what you consider to be a fantastic children’s book and enthusiastically begin to read it aloud. Your child sits with you for a minute or two, but then gets up and walks into another room.
Or how about this scenario: your child receives a new book in the mail, at school, or from the library, and when you ask your child to read it independently or with you, they immediately make an excuse or express their disinterest in reading through their words (“I don’t want to read!”) and/or actions (crossing their arms or pushing the book away, for example).
Can you relate to one or both of these scenarios? If so, you may feel as though you’ve tried everything you can to encourage your child to enjoy reading. You may have even spent time worrying that you’re doing something wrong or that your child could fall behind in meeting their reading benchmarks at school.
Guess what? You’re not alone. We repeat: you’re not alone. You wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find other parents with children who have little to no interest in sitting down and reading a book—at home, in a car, or wherever they may be!
Our team at Sol Book Box wants to help you help your child. Our goal is to make your child feel excited every single time they pick up a book, no matter where they are or what activity they’ve just finished. So, we’ve compiled some tips to help your reluctant reader become an engrossed reader:
Imagine being asked to read a book that doesn’t interest you. You may read a few pages, but is it going to hold your attention? Probably not.
Your child may not be interested in reading because the books on their shelves haven’t quite spoken to them . . . this could be on account of the illustrations, the characters, or a combination of other content-related factors. Try to match your child’s interests with the books you purchase for them. If your child loves cats, for example, fill their bookshelf with titles that feature cats in all kinds of situations—saving the world, looking for a home, or, you know, causing mischief while two siblings are home alone.
Side note: if your child finds a book they love, we recommend checking to see if the book is part of a series. If it is, keep the momentum going by purchasing the other books in that series!
Do you know what children love? Laughing! Why not stock your child’s bookshelves with silly books? It’s important for children to recognize that not all books are meant to be read with a straight face . . . some authors and illustrators get super silly. You could even purchase a children’s joke book for your child if that captures their interest.
Your child’s friends could play a huge role in fostering their enjoyment of books. If you start a book club, your child will be incentivized to read the same book all their friends are reading, and they can look forward to getting together with their friends to talk about the book in a fun and relaxing environment. To make the book club even more exciting, consider making it customary for your child’s friends to come over to your house, read and discuss the books, dress up as their favorite characters, and even make desserts or foods that are featured in the book.
Children’s books are full of interesting characters! Numerous authors and illustrators do an excellent job of including creatures of all kinds in their books—dogs, spiders, mice . . . you name it! If your child enjoys playing games, we recommend combining a book reading session with a game of charades. Invite your child to read a book with you—one that contains lots of characters. While you read, emphasize to your child that you should both pay close attention to the characters because once you finish reading the book, you are going to put the characters’ names in a hat and act out those characters in a game of charades.
In your child’s eyes, you are a superhero! You may have noticed that your child emulates you in numerous ways, which is why our final tip speaks to how you can model behavior that encourages your child to want to read. Every night, you can cuddle up on your favorite couch with a good book. On every trip out of town you take, you can take a book or a magazine with you to read.
Next time you’re reading a book you’re enjoying, stop whenever you come across an interesting part or twist in the story, and tell your child about it. For example: “I have to tell you about this book I’m reading! One of the characters just went for a long bicycle ride, and they came upon a mysterious lake! I cannot wait to read what’s going to happen next.”
What we’re trying to say here is that you should make it clear to your child that reading is a fun experience . . . a way to step out of their world and into another one for as little or as long as you want.
Children love getting packages in the mail. If you think your child would respond well to getting a box of books delivered to their door monthly, consider enrolling in a subscription book box. Here at Sol Book Box, we curate a personalized selection of Spanish & bilingual books that we personally review and feel confident your child will love. Peruse our store with your child, or surprise them with a subscription.
Remember, every child is different and, therefore, takes to different subjects such as reading and math at their own pace. We understand that you want to foster a love of reading in your child, but please be mindful not to force it or make your child feel guilty that they’re not reading. Reacting negatively to the situation can potentially make it worse. The goal is to help your child view reading as a source of entertainment—not a chore.
Let’s also not forget that children, by nature, are busy little bees . . . the simple act of reading challenges them to stop what they’re doing, relax, and concentrate.
Just because your child is not interested in reading now certainly does not mean that they won’t develop a love for reading in the future. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that one or more of these tips will make all the difference!
Please remember that every effort you make in regard to getting your child interested in reading is a worthwhile effort. You’re doing what you can, so please give yourself some credit. Your child will come around, and you’re going to feel so proud when you see them reading a book they can’t put down!