7 Ways to Support Your Child’s Reading When You Don’t Like to Read

By Shivohn N. García, PhD

Everyone says reading to your child is important, but what if you don’t like to read? Or what if you have trouble sitting still for more than a few pages? There are other ways you can help your child develop reading skills.

You don’t have to be a book lover to help your child have positive feelings about reading. Explore these strategies for helping support your child’s reading—even if it might not be your cup of tea.

1. Download e-books with audio.

Digital books with audio are great because they let you read the text while listening to it. You can even adjust the settings to highlight each word as the narrator reads it aloud.

You can look and listen with your child. Or you can do something else nearby while listening to an audiobook. Either way, you can talk about the book together.

2. Encourage your child to read aloud.

Ask your child to read to you, another family member, or even the family pet. Pets can help readers relax and stop worrying about someone noticing if they make a mistake.

You can be a supportive listener too. For example, notice when your child reads a long or tricky word and praise your child for getting through it.

3. Ask questions.

Ask questions about what your child is reading. What has happened so far? What do you think will happen next? Reading involves thinking about characters, events, and ideas. And having lively conversations about books can help your child work on these important skills.

4. Go to the library as much as you can.

Younger kids love hearing the librarian read aloud at story time. And there are lots of free resources at the library that can help reel in older kids.

5. Be sports fans together.

Daily reading doesn’t have to be from a book. You and your child can read sports news together. Or recipes. Or comic strips. Or fashion magazines. Whatever you and your child are interested in, you can read about it together. Remember: Reading short articles is better than not reading at all.

6. Use movies as motivation.

Help your child pick a movie that’s based on a book. Watch the first half to help you and your child get interested in the characters or the plot. Then start reading the book together. Wait until you finish it to watch the second half of the movie.

7. Make snuggling part of your reading routine. 

Snuggle up for reading time in a comfy chair or bed. Make this part of your child’s daily routine. This special time together can help build your child’s self-esteem and create positive feelings about reading or talking about books together.

Having trouble finding time to read with your child? Try these tips.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Shivohn N. García, PhD is an experienced educator and the senior director of the Impact team at Understood.