Family photo of young happy smiling child wearing rainbow t shirt cuddling with mother and reading together at home

Five Fab Ideas for Encouraging Reluctant Readers

Books and stories are wonderful. Reading is a gift for life and a ticket to adventure, knowledge and escape. This, we all know and most of us want our kids to dive into the world of reading with all it has to offer.

BUT! What if your kid just doesn’t want to read?!

If you’ve got a child who knows HOW to read but really just doesn’t WANT to read! How can you encourage the reluctant reader in your family to read without it becoming a battle? How to find the magic and not make it a chore?

With World Book Day just around the corner on the 2nd March, there is plenty of talk of the fun of reading, stories,  favourite characters (and cobbled together ‘diary of a wimpy kid’ costumes) so now is a perfect time to try and help the reluctant reader in your family to get reading with a few of these suggestions…

1. Mix things up!

Woman reading to little girl sitting on her knee

If you are always asking your child to read in the same place at the same time of day (bed at bedtime I’m guessing is a popular one?!) then try reading at a different time of day in a different location. Maybe bedtime is a bit too sleepy for your child so try in the mornings or straight after tea.

How about making a little cosy reading corner with a couple of cushions and a pile of books to encourage somewhere special to read? Or a play tent with a few books and a blanket in can make  a really inviting hide away to read in!

If your child always reads to you, maybe they would enjoy reading to someone different for a change? Perhaps a younger sibling or a grandparent/ aunty via zoom? My son loved reading to his little sister as it always made him feel super clever (and who doesn’t want to feel more grown up than their little sibling?!).

2. Go Graphic!

Man reading to little boy sitting on his knee


Maybe your reluctant reader child is just a bit daunted by line after line of text? In that case, pictures might really help get them opening up a book and finding a way into the fun of stories.

Michelle from Sale’s independent book shop ‘B for Butterfly Books’ has some great ideas of how graphic novels might help you get your kid reading…

“Graphic novels are a great option for reluctant readers and there are so many to choose from!  The Bunny vs Monkey series from Jamie Smart is presented in a smaller, easier-to-read format than traditional comic books and is one of the top-selling comic book series’ for kids. Filled with humour and destruction and made up of lots of accessible short comic strips that make up a larger story, Bunny vs Monkey will be read and re-read by kids of all ages! Ideal for fans of Dog Man and Captain Underpants!”

Pop into Michelle’s small but perfectly formed book shop in Sale’s Emporium M33 for some more brilliant personalised recommendations or check out their website: bforbutterflybooks.comFacebook page or Instagram page

3. Set a timer

Child's hand holding old fashioned timer

This is a really good idea for kids who are learning how to read but who put up a lot of resistance to  sitting down to work through little reading books from school or the library.

Agree on a short amount of time that you will read for (say 3 minutes) and that when the timer goes off you can finish reading or carry on. This always worked for my son to get him started reading and almost always carried on for longer when the timer went off.

4. Follow their Passions


If you let your child find books about things they ARE interested in, they are way more likely to sit and down and read them than being forced to trudge through more of Biff and Chip’s escapades (unless they do love Biff and Chip, in which case..great!).

A visit to the library where your kid is given free reign to choose what they want to read always comes up with some interesting options (one chosen by my daughter about making sandwiches sticks in the memory!) but they are so pleased to have been in charge of the choice and are much more likely to read it.

The ‘Ultimate Football Heroes’ books were fantastic for getting my football loving son into the reading habit and are well worth a look for any football loving reluctant readers in your family.

5. Make them Laugh!

Little girl reading and laughing with a woman

Who doesn’t love a good laugh?! For children who feel reading is boring and unappealing, encourage them with some fun books that can give them a good giggle.

Michelle from ‘B for Butterfly Books’ has some great ideas on using comic books to get kids reading…

“Humour is a great hook for reluctant readers. Villain Academy by Ryan Hammond is the first in a highly-illustrated series which follows young werewolf Bram determined to find his inner badness! Full of fun, friendship and farting and including a spooky cast of characters, Villain Academy is perfect for kids who enjoy a little spookiness with a dash of heart-warming humour!”

I hope this has given you a few ideas about how to finally get the reluctant reader in your family hooked on reading!

If you would like me to come along and capture your little gang before you blink and everything has changed again, pop to my main site to download a family brochure to find out more about how it all works:

We hate having our photos taken and you were really lovely and put everyone at ease and made the experience feel relaxing and fun and not in any way awkward. You captured our children’s personalities, making some beautiful photographs that we will cherish.

- Caroline T