Ways to Make Reading Fun for Reluctant Readers

September 29, 2022

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When you have a reluctant reader, it can be challenging to motivate them to keep reading! So how can you help your child be more interested in reading? Consider these ideas.

child reading

Ways to Make Reading Fun

Some kids naturally love to read and they would read all day if you let them. But others are more reluctant, either because they are not confident readers or maybe because they’ve never found the right kind of books to get them motivated. So what can you do to make reading fun for those kids? Here are ten practical ideas to try.

Select Good Books

The first place to start is to select good books. Reading poorly written books or just plain boring books isn’t going to cut it, especially if you have reluctant readers. It’s like feeding your kids junk food instead of the best food to fuel their bodies.

Find great books that even you as the adult would love to read! If you or your child dreads reading, you have to take a look at the stack of books you’re using. Find rich children’s literature that has stood the test of time for good reason.

Read Aloud Together

One way to help a child that needs more support is to read aloud together. There are many benefits of reading to your child

This shared reading experience can take a lot of pressure off a reluctant reader and helps to make reading fun for your child. You can read a few paragraphs while your child follows along on the page and then let them take over for a bit to see how they do.

When they know they will not have to read entirely on their own, reading can become an enjoyable activity again. Chapter books provide a great structure for this shared reading. You can read one chapter, then send your child off to read the next chapter independent. Then, they can report back to you and narrate back what they read.

Acting Out the Story

A great way to make reading fun is acting out the story. Kids of all ages love this, but especially your younger children. Consider starting a prop and costume box if you don’t have one already. Then after you read a chapter with your kids, or after they read a section on their own, encourage them to scour the costume box and act it out.

Enjoy Audiobooks

One of the best ways to make reading fun is to enjoy audiobooks either in the car on long drives or in the living room snuggled up on the couch with a fun snack. It’s one of the easiest ways for the whole family to enjoy the same book together, and it’s’ a great way to include your reluctant or struggling reader.

Many children with dyslexia, for example, struggle with the physical skill of reading, but these same children have superior comprehension skills. So by using audiobooks you can still engage the children that are reluctant to pick up a physical copy of the same book and they can also enjoy the benefits of reading.

Choose Books Based on Interest

While some of us may cringe at the idea of allowing our kids to read graphic novels and comic books, they can be a great way to help make reading fun for some of your reluctant readers. What other books would they loved based on interest?

Your young children can find picture books based on their current obsession, whether that’s dinosaurs or mermaids or construction vehicles. Go ahead and indulge their interests and let them choose those fun books.

Kids reading books

Designate a Reading Space

When you designate a reading space in your home, you’re conveying to your children that a daily routine of reading is important. By giving them a quiet and cozy reading space, they’re more likely to enjoy their independent reading time and also form that daily habit of reading.

While you’re designating a reading space in your home, make sure you also designate a time in your routine each day where the children can enjoy independent or family reading time.

Create a reading space

To encourage your children to be readers, create a reading space. This doesn’t have to be fancy! In fact, it could just be a cozy chair in the corner of the living room. Or it might be a secluded space under the stairs that you throw a bunch of pillow and twinkle lights into to make it fun.

It could be a spot in your child’s bedroom or out on the porch. Whatever you decide to use as your reading space, it’s the perfect way to encourage more reading in your home.

Discuss What You Read

To make reading fun, discuss what you read. The reading process is more clear when your kids know you’ll be discussing it with them. This helps them to pay more attention and focus as they read. Plus, for social butterflies, it’s just so much fun.

This is why book clubs are very popular, whether you have an in-person book club with your homeschool friends or find a great online option. When you discuss what you read with your kids, use open ended questions. You don’t want them to be able to answer with a simple yes or no. You want them to have to dig a little deeper.

Allow Children to Select Books

When you allow children to select books, you’re more likely to have them follow through and actually engage in reading them. As adults we appreciate getting to choose what we read, and children are no different.

Your older kids can start to tailor their reading selections into the specific genres that they love. While you may still want your younger children to read broadly and experience different types of books, it’s great if you can still give them the freedom to select many of the books they read.

Add Extension Activities

There are many reading extension activities that you can use as you read aloud with kids of all ages. These creative activities will help extend the learning. Here are a few ideas:

7 Extension Activities for (Almost) Any Read-Aloud

Making Reading Fun for Reluctant Readers FAQ

How can I make my child more interesting in reading?

If you want to make your child more interested in reading and help them grow a love of books, just look for ways to make it an enjoyable experience. Incorporate reading into real life rather than making reading simply a school subject.

Show them that you love to read and would rather read than scroll through social media. Much of this is caught rather than taught. A simple tradition to help them be more interested in reading is to read a bedtime story with your kids. You’ll be making memories and connecting reading to time with you.

Another way to help encourage your kids to be more interested in reading is to use a book series to your advantage. You could use the first book in the series as a read-aloud, then encourage your kids to read the rest of the books independently. Chances are that if you selected a great book, your kids will definitely want to finish the whole series!

Sonlight language arts blueprint

How do you make reading fun for kids who hate reading?

You can still make reading fun for kids who hate reading! Yes, this will be a challenge, but ask a few questions about why they hate reading.

  • Do your children lack the literacy skills necessary for enjoying the reading process? If so, remediate that while you allow them to read graphic novels or books well below their reading competency level. Or, consider using audiobooks until their reading skills have caught up with their comprehension skills.
  • Is the number of books you’re requiring them to read too overwhelming?
  • Have you used the book series idea we described above? Get them hooked and then let them discover the next books in the series on their own.

What makes reading boring?

Reading is boring if you’re not using the right book. That is, have you selected engaging books that you would want to read yourself? There’s a good reason why kids think reading is boring – because it is! If you’re using downright dry and uninteresting books, can you even blame your children for feeling this way?

Once kids find an author or series or topic that they are passionate about, keep them filled to the brim with amazing books.

How do I instill a love of reading to my child?

You can teach your kids to learn to love reading by making it a part of your everyday life and family culture. Make a regular time in the homeschool day where everyone (including you!) gets to drop what they’re doing and enjoy some relaxing reading time.

Story time together as a family is another way to make this love of reading grow.

What is the best way to motivate students to read?

One of the best ways to motivate students to read is to actually give them time in the schedule to literally drop everything and read. You need to make uninterrupted time for reading. During this time, your kids can feel free to read their own books that they are loving at the moment.

As your kids become more competent readers, they will love this practice of daily reading. Yes, your kids are moving through different stages of competency in their reading experience, but a regular reading time is important for all of them.

How do you engage students while reading?

Reading aloud with your child is a great way to engage students while reading. It becomes a shared experience and an enjoyable one! You can even use different voices to make the read aloud more interesting. But there are just so many benefits to reading with your child.

When you read to your child, you are helping them learn to listen and to focus. These critical skills will translate into better academic performance and increased reading competency. Reading aloud also helps your children to love reading, which then turns into an ever growing ability to read well.


You can make reading fun even for your reluctant readers with encouraging the practice of daily reading. Just consider which of the ideas presented above might make an impact with your kids and try to implement them. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to keep enough books on the shelf for your enthusiastic readers!


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