ASK THE COACH–Reluctant Reader Requires Really Rapid Reads

Dear Homework Coach,

     My 7 year old child is hates reading.  I can’t get him to read anything.  What can I do to get him to practice reading? –Angie


Dear Angie,

     Before you can really change an attitude, it is helpful to define the issues involved.  Is it possible that he is unable to SEE the words and then makes embarassing mistakes?  Is it possible that he has dyslexic issues that make the words nonsensical to him?  Is it possible that he thinks it’s all too much trouble?  Does he think you’re judging him if you correct his errors?  Does he have difficulty coping with frustration?

     Most kids by the time they are 7 years old, have had some school experience.  Has his teacher given you any hints of a visual disability?  Has he demonstrated low-level toleration for frustration?  If not, maybe he just needs to find more interesting reading material. 

     You might interest him in books of HIS choosing.  Go to the library with him and let him pick out a book that he would like to read.  Encourage him to start with more pictures and less words….but let him pick! Then when you sit down together, be "vewwy, vewwy quiet" (a la Porky Pig) while he reads it with you.  If he asks for assistance, offer it.  If he struggles, let him try to work it out first.  If he gets frustrated, forget the real words and make up your own story. 

     Most of all, don’t test his patience by spending more time on the "read" than his attention-span will allow.  Choose short reads that can be successful and interesting and won’t challenge him as he’s taking little steps toward reading success.

     For more do’s and don’t do’s, you’re invited to read an extended article at   

     Good luck…The Homework Coach




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One Response to ASK THE COACH–Reluctant Reader Requires Really Rapid Reads

  1. Hi,
    I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 and up, that kids hate to put down. My web site is at and my Books for Boys blog is at I also have a short story in a new book called LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing.
    My other books are all ranked by Accelerated Reader
    Max Elliot Anderson

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