“A child might be saying this because he thinks the reading is too hard,” says Readicide author Kelly Gallagher. “But the answer depends on the age of the child. If it’s a 5-year-old, I’d have the kid read some of the text to me and see how fluent he was. If he was really struggling, I would get him something easy to read. I would also read to the kid as much as possible, because when you are developing as a reader, your listening compression is higher than your reading comprehension. This is why kids need to hear text the way it’s supposed to be read.”

“Kids say this more when they’re older, around fifth grade. It might be because they think reading is boring. Those complaints, that reading is boring, often come from kids who don’t have an extensive background of parents reading to them. One way to help them? Take them to a bookstore and say, ‘Let’s find something you’re interested in. What is it? Romance? Sports? I would put something interesting in front of them.”

“You have to be careful. Kids who turn off of reading in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade are often kids who were bribed to read. There’s a program called Book It and you get a pizza coupon for reading. Programs like that work in the short-term, but in the long-term they teach kids to read for extrinsic not intrinsic reasons. ‘If you bribe me, I’m going to figure out that reading isn’t that important and the only reason to do it is because I’m going to get a sticker.’”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…


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Melissa Taylor
Don’t despair, says Book Love author Melissa Taylor. Instead, try these three secrets to get your reluctant reader hooked on books. Format: Video (1:58)

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Bruce Feiler
The bestselling author of The Secret of Happy Families did his research and discovered the best way to respond. Format: Video (1:39)

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Carol Dweck
Read between the lines, says Stanford psychologist and Mindset author Carol Dweck. Why? Because kids mean something very different when they object to reading. Format: Video (1:06)

Jane Bluestein
Don’t force it, advises education consultant Jane Bluestein. If a child resists reading, there are plenty of ways to lure him in. Format: Article