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How do I get my daughter to enjoy reading?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am not sure if I am posting this in the right place, but both of my children have been doing Montessori since they could walk so I thought that it would be good to get Montessoroi parent feed back on this topic....and I didn't know where else to post it!

My 7 year old daughter says that she hates to read, she says that it is boring and she doesn't want to do it! I guess that I am finding it disturbing because we are all big readers in our family and I really want her to be able to find the joy in reading! She has always enjoyed books....until now.
She will read books below her reading level, but when I try to challenge her with something harder she refuses and says that she will not read any books without pictures in it.
I have tried suggesting that she draw her own pictures to go with the book. I have found her books with some drawings in them, but harder books...
I think that part of the problem is that I just can't find anything she is interested in! She is at about a 2nd or 3rd grade reading level, but hates that they have no pictures.
I really don't care what kind of books she reads (they don't have to be award winning books or anything, they can even be about Barbie!) I just want her to be able to sit and read to herself sometimes....and ENJOY it!
Am I worrying about this too much?
Am I putting to much pressure on her?
I try to buy her any book she says that she will read (or check it out from the library) but they always end up shoved on the shelf and unread.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 9
I would let it go for now. If she is able to read and has enjoyed it in the past she probably just has other things she'd rather be doing at the moment. You don't want to force her to read, and you certainly can't make her love it. It's like she's gotten the hang of it and is ready to move on, doesn't mean she'll never look back. I'm sure when she finds something that interests her and wants tp read about it, she'll happily read again. You don't want it to be a negative thing. It sounds like she is above average as far as her reading skills so as long as she knows how to do it, she'll do it when she wants to. I think we all go thru periods in life where we read more than others, sounds normal to me.
post #3 of 9
Hi, you have what librarians call a "reluctant reader." I think it's a very good sign that she is reading at all, even though you know she likes to read below her grade level. It's really important at this age to go with what you know she likes instead of trying to force her into reading classics or whatnot (not that you were, but some parents do, and then you have a power struggle over reading).

If she likes picture books but can read at a fairly decent level, as you mention - I would try getting her into comics. Garfield, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Family Circus (ugh! nevermind, not that one!), whatever. The combo of pictures with the higher-level jokes will hopefully interest her.

More complicated picture books, such as those about greek myths or legends from around the world.

DK and other nonfiction books about whatever she's interested in...

Listening to books on tape is also another way to get her used to creating the pictures in her mind instead of seeing them on the page. So, on a long car trip or something, get a CD of a great fiction book (I love Roald Dahl, myself).

Going to the library at least once a week and letting her pick out whatever she wants. Hopefully you have a cool librarian who can help you find great nonfiction or other books on topics she's interested in...

And of course, keep reading to her from chapter books at bedtime.
post #4 of 9
If you don't mind getting lots of books, many picture books are actually written at a much higher level than beginning reader. That is because they are designed for an adult to read outloud, so they often have difficult word choice and more complex sentance structure.

DD read on the early side so we had the problem of needing harder books w/younger content. We searched here and were fairly successful:


You can do an advanced search w/the code "NC" (nonconforming text, usually means higher text than the story line/length/etc... would suggest).

Here is a grade level conversion chart:
http://www.anderson4.k12.sc.us/curr/MAP/Accelerated%20Reader%20&%20Lexile%20Conversion.pdf #search='lexile%20grade%20levels'

Here is a search for "NC" from 350-675 (appx grade 2.0-3.9):

Then, I would just go through the books and pick ones I though DD might like and reserve them at the library.

post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by TiredX2
If you don't mind getting lots of books, many picture books are actually written at a much higher level than beginning reader. That is because they are designed for an adult to read outloud, so they often have difficult word choice and more complex sentance structure.
This is very true! We had a lot of success by going to the J398s (folklore, usually separated out at most libraries); and some libraries create a space for "advanced" picture books that are either written in a more complex style or concerning heavier subject matter.

There is also a thread going in the Books and Media subforum concerning funny books. Your daughter might enjoy many of those...
post #6 of 9
I think you've gotten great advice here, I just wanted to add that reading *to* children goes on being important forever and ever and is one great way to make sure that they are getting "content" that is slightly above their current reading level, while building all the positive associations you want with reading for later in life. I agree with other posters that the fact that she doesn't want to sit down and do it herself right now isn't necessarily a problem, and the more you focus on it, the more resistant you may make her.

Comic books, also graphic novels are great suggestions. you just need a good librarian's help!

Try this link re: reluctant readers - it is a bit focused more toward older kids but I think you will find useful tips .


A couple of publisher have series for "reluctant readers," and they can be quite good. My son isn't at all "reluctant" and I was at first chagrined at this label when he chose some of these, but when I dipped into them I discovered they were well written.

I somewhat disagree with the frequent advice one hears now that "it doesn't matter what they read as long as they read." I think some kids are being turned off by dreadful reading material. A lot of great stuff is published, but also a lot of crap. I've always told my son that if something is stupid and boring, drop it right away (assuming it is pleasure reading; this won't always work in school!). There is too much *good* stuff to read to waste time on all the stupid stuff.

Finally, remember that what you model is one of the most important influences in the long run, even if you can't see its effects today. You can't make your child be an enthusiastic reader if her talents and interests simply lie elsewhere but you might be surprised at what they are learning from you even when they aren't overtly imitating it. If your whole family reads, and really makes it a priority, she will see that it is really important to you. Some people are just giving it lip service, though - sure there's a shelf of books but they're all stuff from high school or college, or there's Moby Dick and Shakespeare's collected whatever and no one's cracked the spines in years. I think our kids figure out what is important to us.

I also found that buying my kid any book he wanted was counterproductive. Many did get tossed aside unread. If books are important but special, we just don't grab any book. Maybe if you made her earn money to buy books (just a joke, kind of)
post #7 of 9
I would try giving your daughter more non-fiction books to look at, ones with lots of pictures in them. The Dorling-Kinderley series is great for this and has books on every topic imaginable.

Reading non-fiction helps a child with reading comprehension and many children dislike reading because in fact what they are being given to read is fiction and they have not in fact had enough exposure to reading and learning about reality to understand what is going on in the fiction books.
post #8 of 9
How about getting her her own magazine (mailed to her) in something she is intererested in? I know the National Wildlife Federation has some good ones in her age range with lots of nature pictures!! Good luck!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks for all of the great advice!!!

I forgot I ever started that thread, and I am so glad that I did.
I thought I was overreacting.....
She picked up the Secret Garden (mine from when I was lil) this week and told me that she was going to read some to me every day until it was done. She said that it looked like the best book ever and did I think it was a true story.

I was SO excited..I just told her I thought that would be great if she wanted to read it to me every night. It is nice to hear the story again!

Thanks again for all of your advice and support!!
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