Choosing Children's Books for a Reluctant Reader
Does your child hate to read? Whether he is a proficient but disinterested reader or one who struggles with words, introducing the right type of children's books can spark his enthusiasm and turn him into a lifelong reader.
Before buying, see how your selection rates by asking yourself:
Is it the right reading level?
Discuss your child's reading abilities with his teacher. Ask which level of children's books is best for him to read on his own: easy-to-read books such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; chapter books like Encyclopedia Brown; middle-grade books such as The Giver; or young adult books such as Lord of the Rings.
Is it age-appropriate?
If your child is reading below grade level but does not have a reading disability, extra practice at home should help her progress. She may hate reading because it takes her a long time to figure words out. Building her vocabulary will improve her fluency. Use books that match her skill level to boost her vocabulary.
Will she read it?
If she likes what it is about, there is a better chance that she will read it. Anything that gets your child to read for pleasure and her own information will help her build her vocabulary and sharpen critical-reasoning skills. Let your child choose her own books as long as they are not offensive and don’t cause nightmares. Encourage her to read comic books, graphic novels, entertainment news, or sports magazines if she's interested in them.
The Developmental Edge
Interest in books may start to wane as your child grows. Use this guide to select reading material that reignite a love for children's books and words.
Elementary schoolers — grades 1–5
Spend time every day partner-reading with your child. Amusing books with silly drawings and humor only a kid could love is a great way to turn reading into fun. The Captain Underpants series is good for ages 7 to 10. Try a book that was the basis for a movie he likes such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Middle schoolers — grades 6–8
Be enthusiastic about books that suit her interests even if they are not what you would have chosen. The Day My Butt Went Psycho may make you cringe, but it will keep your child reading. If she has found a series of children's books she likes, let her keep reading the other titles.
Engaging proficient readers
If your child is an advanced reader, he may be bored with the selection of children's books he's been exposed to so far. See our tips on choosing books for advanced readers.