5 Ways to Encourage a Reluctant Reader

Is reading not your child’s favorite subject? Here are some ways you can encourage a reluctant reader!

5 Ways to Encourage a Reluctant Reader



1. Let him choose his own books.

Your child will be much more likely to be interested in a book if it’s about something he’s truly interested in.  There is no rule that says a homeschooled child must stick with his reading curriculum.  As long as he’s reading something (and it’s not too easy), you are reaching the goal!

2. Read together.

Sometimes having mom there to read along makes things a lot more fun.  Take a turn reading portions aloud to your child.  Use good voice inflection so your child can see that what he is reading is really an interesting story rather than just a bunch of words on a page!  Once he realizes the places his imagination will take him, he will look forward to traveling to those places through the written word.

3. Use technology

Encourage a Reluctant Reader with Kindle and the Free Time app!

Every child wants to have a turn using the iPhone, the Kindle, or the tablet.  There’s just something that draws a child to these devices.  Leverage your child’s interest by allowing him to do his reading on an electronic device.  Your child will be happy about getting some screen time, and you’ll be happy that he’s getting some reading time!

We’ve recently been trying out Kindle Free Time for my son.

You pay monthly for a subscription and set up a profile for your child(ren).  They can download age-appropriate books and read them on a Kindle device.  As they read, the Free Time app tracks how long they’ve read, how many books they’ve finished, or how many words they’ve looked up and they can earn various badges depending on what they’ve completed.  My son has spent a lot of extra time reading since we’ve had the Free Time app.

Encouraging a Reluctant Reader with the Kindle Free Time app

I love having a plain jane Kindle for him to use the app too because there is nothing else to tempt him and get him distracted.  (I already found that he had typed in “yoo toob” (YouTube) into the search bar!  Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about him having access to it!)

Some other cool stuff kids can do with a Kindle and the Free Time app:

  • Look up definitions as they read to build their vocabulary and increase the font size for easier reading.
  • Use features like Vocabulary Builder – which stores words that kids look up and allows them to quiz themselves with flash cards – or Word Wise, which provides short and simple definitions above difficult words as they’re reading along.
  • Read thousands of books for free, including classics like Treasure Island and eBooks from their local library
  • Easily take their books with them without loading up a heavy backpack, helping to increase the amount of books they read – when one book finishes, they can start the next one right away!


4. Model good reading habits

Why would a child think reading is fun if he never sees mom and dad doing it?  Show him that reading is interesting by spending time reading yourself.

5. Build reading into other activities

I love doing this in our homeschool.  I’ll use a subject that my son is really good at or that he enjoys and build reading into it.  For example, he loves History, so I’ll allow him to work extra on history class because he has to read the book to find out what happens!


Do you have a reluctant reader?  Which of these ideas do you think will encourage him/her the most?


MaryEllen Bream

Hi! I'm MaryEllen. I currently have 3 children that I am homeschooling, from kindergarten through 4th grade. I also wrangle a toddler and will soon have another newborn in the house. Join me as I share real life stories of how I'm getting it all done (or not!)