Ways to help a reluctant reader to enjoy books

05-Jul-2018 by Lisa Bradburn

Does your little one struggle with reading? Or are they a real bookworm? Why do some children adore reading whilst others avoid it like the plague! Confident readers tend to be good readers and they are also ones who find reading easy, which in turn seems to lead to great enjoyment in books. So how do we help kids that find reading difficult to enjoy books?

Firstly and most importantly, don’t always make reading a challenge and don’t make it the focus. Below I’ve listed two fun activities to try out if you have a reluctant reader in the family.


  • Head to the library: I would check out if your local library (or book shop) runs a story time session and go along to take part. This is a great way to encourage kids out of the house but also by heading to the library or bookshop to read, it means that the children are reading in a different environment which they may see as more interesting than reading at home. Also I’d suggest letting the children choose their own books at the library, as this usually encourages them to be much more interested! If they have chosen it, they will be more eager to read it, than if you chose it!  However make sure you are on hand to guide them, making sure the book they choose is not too challenging or that it has too many pages.


  • Quiet & fun reading areas: Create different areas for reading in the house or garden and let the kids help in the design process. Find out what sorts of things your kids are interested in and what they love – they might choose blankets, pillows, teddies etc to fill their space! For some kids this area may be a quiet, tranquil, relaxing space, whereas others may prefer creating an area of make believe. For the very reluctant reader, try making a den or use a pop-up play tent, so they can use their imaginations to create role play situations and then I’d recommend incorporating reading into this – Little pirate lovers can read adventures while going on the open seas or space explorers can investigate planets and the solar system for example. Another great play situation is to set up a classroom full of teddy bears, allowing the children to take on the role of a teacher. Then using well known picture books, children can read to the teddies, creating a pretend school situation. This is the perfect setting for kids who believe that picture books are too babyish (and I’ve heard this many times from a reluctant reader during my teaching days). In this setting they will be copying a teacher and therefore they won’t see reading pictures books as babyish at all!!!


The key to success for reluctant readers is to make reading fun and enjoyable. Don’t let it become a chore. Be creative in the reading situations and activities you involve your kids in and they will become passionate about books from an early age and this passion will continue into their adult life!!! If you have any more ideas on how to encourage reluctant readers to read then please share them!

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