If you’re a parent of a reluctant reader, you’ve probably tried everything to get your child to love to read. In fact, you may now feel like you’re part of the problem, since you keep finding yourself cajoling, nagging, and even bribing them to pick up a book. (Hint: if your kiddo starts to fuss and pout when you walk in the room, book in hand, your strategy isn’t working!)
Unfortunately, forcing a child to read has its own set of consequences, so why not take a different approach?
FOR KIDS WHO DON’T LOVE TO READ, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
If your child is in third, fourth, fifth grade or higher, you probably have an idea of what ‘grade level’ they should be reading at. Perhaps you cringe when your nine year-old wanders over to the picture book section of the library, or when your tween only wants to check out beginning chapter books.
So here’s something to try: let your child read whatever they want. The only way to learn how to love to read is to practice, and struggling readers get a lot more practice when they choose easier books. Forcing a reluctant reader to plow their way through a challenging book usually backfires; reading becomes tiresome, and comprehension is almost non-existent.
The fallout is they may never love to read!
Once you get an idea of what types of books your child gravitates toward, you can start choosing more wisely. Remember, don’t think about what’s age-appropriate; rather, watch what your child is willing to keep their nose in for more than ten minutes at a time, and you’ll be more likely to come up with a winner.
Before choosing a gift book for your reluctant reader, think about what your child loves to talk about—and do. Whether they’re fascinated with animals, science, superheroes, or mysteries, there’s a book for every imagination. And remember, try to choose books that are below your child’s grade level. Again, please don’t worry about this! By practicing on easier texts, your child will develop a more natural ability to read the harder ones.
Check out the following list of books for kids who don’t love to read. Gift a few of these to your child and play detective to figure out what works and what doesn’t. These are time-tested titles that have provided hours of delight and adventure, even for kids who don’t love to read.
READ MORE: 10 of the Best Finance Books for Kids
10 GIFT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN WHO DON’T LOVE TO READ
- THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by Jeff Kinney
Your child will love following the humorous escapades of middle-schooler Greg Heffley in his diary, complete with hilarious doodles and anecdotes. The cartoon-style illustrations and relatable themes make it an engaging and easy-to-read series.
- WONDER by R.J. Palacio
This story will most certainly tug at your child’s heartstrings! Auggie Pullman, a boy with facial differences, shares his journey as he navigates school and friendships. The heartfelt narrative and concise chapters make it a compelling and accessible read.
- DOG MAN series by Dav Pilkey
Kids love this graphic novel series that follows the adventures of Dog Man, a part-dog, part-human police officer. The humorous illustrations and action-packed plotlines appeal to kids with varying reading abilities.
- GERONIMO STILTON series by Geronimo Stilton
What child doesn’t love small, furry animals? Geronimo Stilton, the rodent editor of The Rodent’s Gazette, will take your child on thrilling adventures around the world. The lively text layout, colorful fonts, and exciting adventures make it an irresistible read.
- THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE series by Mary Pope Osborne
Reluctant readers have loved this series for years. Jack and Annie travel through time in their magical treehouse, encountering historical figures and exploring ancient civilizations. The fast-paced adventures and fascinating historical elements will capture—and hold—your child’s attention.
- GRAPHIC NOVELS – Various Authors
Graphic novels encompass a wide range of genres, from superheroes to fantasy, offering captivating visual storytelling. (Comic books are a good idea, too. Let go of your need for your child to read ‘educational’ materials. If your reluctant reader is reading anything, it’s educational!) The combination of vibrant artwork and concise text makes graphic novels (and comic books) appealing and easy to follow.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC
If your child is more into learning about places and people than storytelling, these almanacs are packed with fun facts, colorful photos, and exciting information that provide a wealth of knowledge on various subjects. The bite-sized information and captivating visuals keep young readers engrossed.
- CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE series – Various Authors
Talk about engaging your kid! These interactive books allow readers to make decisions that influence the story’s outcome, offering a unique reading experience. The element of choice empowers readers and adds an exciting twist to reading.
- HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
Across the globe, millions of children (and adults) have loved the magical journey of Harry Potter as he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even though the book itself is HUGE (and may look intimidating), J.K. Rowling has discovered a secret sauce that keeps even reluctant readers engaged. The enchanting world, compelling characters, and captivating storytelling make it a timeless favorite.
Somewhere in these 10 gift ideas, you will no doubt find something your child can’t resist. But don’t stop there. You read the books, too, so you can talk about them with your child.
Ask your child how they feel about Auggie’s experience as a kid who looks ‘different’ from everybody else. Has your child ever felt excluded because they’re different in their own way? How is being different a good thing? If your child were a wizard, what type of magic would they have? What’s the most unbelievable account you read in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? Which one was your child most amazed by?
By making stories more relatable to your child’s own experiences, you will awaken a curiosity that can only be satisfied by reading more books!
THE GIFT THAT CAN MAKE YOUR RELUCTANT READER LOVE TO READ
The journey from reluctant reader to enthusiastic book lover often begins with a single book, and you’re the most qualified person to stumble across it. By selecting books that cater to your child’s interests and reading level, you have the power to instill a passion for reading that opens doors to a world of knowledge and imagination—doors that may otherwise be closed. Take a thoughtful approach that’s tailored to your child’s personality and interest, and your child just might say something you’ve been waiting a long time to hear: “Can we go to the library? I need a new book. I just love to read!”
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