Kids Talk
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April 18, 2013

What Should I Do If My Child Doesn’t Like To Read?

The first question I ask is what is your child being asked to read?  All too often the emphasis in reading in the elementary grades is on fictional reading, focusing on fantasy or imagined characters to prove a point about real life.  This is supposed to be more appealing than reporting real life as it occurs.  For many children, particularly those with special needs, fiction is hard for them to swallow.  They prefer to read non-fiction.   Focus on collecting real facts rather than information about a character they will never encounter again (unless the fictional character is part of a dreaded series they MUST read) is the real appeal. 

Very often these children prefer magazine articles as adults to books and are quite open to reading graphic novels as children.  They are often interested in creating their own graphic novels.  This is an interest which should be encouraged and can be an excellent way to expose the child to reading. 

Recent research has shown that many high achieving American teens are unable to process college level text books because they have not had enough experience reading non-fiction.  If that is the key to higher learning, why discourage a child from reading that text early?

So my answer to this question is, let your child read whatever appeals to them, as long as they read!  They will gradually have exposure to other genres of literature in their school experiences.  The only other question you should ask yourself is, “Are they avoiding reading fiction because the process is difficult for them?”  If you suspect this to be the case, your child might need some intervention in this area.                                                                                                                                               Janet Krebs