btt button

Suggested by Barbara H:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

65 responses

  1. I’ve posted my advice on how to get kids reading.

  2. […] is this week’s question. How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books […]

  3. Not a lot of advice–just observations from raising my 4 kiddos!


  4. Interesting Question. I think I rambled a bit though! Its here

  5. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a nonreader! Here’s why.

  6. I might not have the world’s greatest advice, but here’s my opinion on the subject! http://www.michellesmastermusings.com/2010/02/booking-through-thursday-encouragement.html

  7. http://www.teacherninjas.com/2010/02/growing-readers.html

    These tips do get them reading more, no question about it.


  8. Well, I’m lucky in that my two (ages 5 and 3) often just go into a corner with a book. They also go to bed with books to look at. I guess what worked for us was to start them VERY young cuddling up and reading together – and I mean while they were still at the breast – I actually mean from the moment they could sit on my lap and focus on the bright pictures. Our house is full of books, and there are childrens’ books in every room. Like this they are part of our lives and so it’s natural that the kids look at them. We also have NO TV and intend to be a no computer-game zone when the time comes. It’s a good foundation, but we’ll see what happens when they get older. ..

  9. My answer is more geared towards kids as non-readers, ’cause it’s what I know, but I tried to answer about adult non-readers, too!



  10. Thanks for using my question. 🙂

    I guess I should have clarified that we read a LOT as the kids were growing up — regular trips to the library, reading every night at bedtime and multiple times through the day. But somehow as they got to older elementary age and above, two didn’t continue on their own, one did. That’s beyond the age of a sticker on a chart kind of reward system, but any encouragement to read or suggestions are met with remarks like, “I’m just not a reading kind of guy.” So I guess what I am asking is, do you just accept that, or keep encouraging, or require them to read as Ben Carson’s mom did in hopes that they’ll enjoy it once they get back in the habit.

  11. Great question…my answer is here

  12. I don’t have any children of my own yet, but if I did, and they didn’t like reading on their own, and refused to be coerced by my affection for all things bookish, I woudn’t force it on them. I think they would naturally develop an interest if they had it in them (which hopefully they do!) and I think, as I’ve heard from other parents, kids develop a interest from seeing others read. My boss’s 8 year old daughter is working her way through Harry Potter because she’s seen the first couple of movies and that’s how she became interested in reading. I have no doubt she’ll move on to other novels after she finishes HP.

    I posted a Valentines related question at The Crowded Leaf that I’d love to hear from people about!

  13. GREAT question (although I think my answer got a little bit carried away)….
    Mine’s Here

  14. Great question!! I had to deal with this with my oldest.
    Here’s my response.

  15. OK although I don’t have kids (being 19 and all) I have used my sister as an example of a former non-reader and rambled away happily on that front.

    Here is my post

  16. My brothers were not readers, until they were. Sometimes it’s just luck (or a really awesome book)!

  17. I didn’t post at first since I had the question and not the answers, but then decided to post after all:


  18. I love this question! Here’s my answer:

  19. It’s a big issue at our house, too:


  20. […] was just over at Molly’s blog, and I really enjoyed reading her post answering today’s Booking Through Thursday question: How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books […]

  21. Wonderful question! I’ve just posted my answer: Encouraging Your Children to Read.

  22. This is a wonderful question – I don’t have children yet but I do feel strongly about this.

    Here is my response

  23. How timely. I have been thinking about this a lot lately with my own child. My response is here: http://wp.me/pAjhm-9L

  24. […] by priyaiyer in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment A recent question over at Booking Through Thursday caught my attention. It is something rather close to my heart, and something I have been pondering […]

  25. I’ve often wondered how much pressure is too much pressure. I’ve realised that no matter how much you encourage a child to read, he or she will only read if they truly love it. If they happen to be sporty, we’ve got to accept it with good grace and give up the book dream, knowing always that we gave them the choice and they picked what they wanted.

  26. This is a very fascinating post, I was looking for this information. Just so you know I found your blog site when I was browsing for blogs like mine, so please check out my site sometime and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

%d bloggers like this: