Homeschooling: My Child Doesn’t Like To Read

March 3, 2010

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Max's first cursive
Creative Commons License photo credit: whgrad

A reader had this question so I am publishing it here to get the wisdom and advice of other homeschooling moms:

“Hi. My son 8 year old son is recently homeschooled – he’s currently finishing up the 2nd grade. He was a good student in public school and his teachers loved him. We have an “eclectic” and relaxed homeschool style so I am no hardnose, but even still I have trouble getting him to do any schoolwork. He says he doesn’t like to read.

Math is “sort of” ok with him, and he likes to do hands on things like take apart gadgets, draw diagrams, work with electronics, color, draw and write stories. He is very intelligent but not especially gifted verbally. He seems to have a real knack for building and fixing things (working with wood, playing Lego). He also loves computers.

I realize that he may never be a big reader and don’t want to push him, but some reading is of course necessary. I need some suggestions on how to engage him in a way that works with his learning style. (By the way I am divorced so I can’t fully embrace unschooling, his father is critical of that and I have to be accountable to him as part of our parenting plan.)

Would you publish this on your blog so I can see how other homeschoolers have handled this?

Thanks!”

Do you have any advice for this mom? I’m curious if there is a homeschool curriculum available that caters to kids like this…?

Please leave them in the comments.

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Comments

10 Responses to “Homeschooling: My Child Doesn’t Like To Read”

  1. Kelly McCausey on March 5th, 2010 10:07 am

    I feel you! My son (who is now 19 and in college and still hates to read) was homeschooled and always complained about any reading he had to do for school.

    But I could see that he was perfectly willing to read when he needed to know something about a video game or something else he was really interested in – sooo, I didn’t buy into the complaints and just let him know he had to do what he had to do.

    We can empathize with their discomfort for sure… nobody likes doing what they don’t like, you know? LOL!

  2. Cindi on March 5th, 2010 10:58 am

    If he knows how to read but doesn’t like it, get him books about the home school activities he does like. You said he likes to take apart gadgets, draw diagrams, work with electronics, color, draw and write stories. Get him books in the kids section that have to do with these topice. If he likes to draw and write stories then get him in to notebooking. It sounds like he would love that. Just do an online search for notebooking and you will find more info than you could ever use. Notebooking is one of our favorite parts of homeschooling.

    Remember your son “reads” everyday. There is no getting around it. He just doesn’t like books that he is forced to read. When it comes to his studies like history and such, maybe you could get audio books. That might make it more interesting.

    Good luck to you.

  3. dane on March 23rd, 2010 11:17 am

    It is normal for children not to like to read. But as parents we can make reading interesting by reading together with him to get him interested in reading the book. Read with a lively tone and with an interesting voice to make the story comes alive.

  4. Jeanine Byers Hoag on March 23rd, 2010 8:34 pm

    My son just turned 9 and he didn’t like reading at first, either. I think two things helped.

    I, myself, read *all the time* and I think he has gotten the idea from me that reading is great fun. But, also, we curl up together on the couch and I read *to* him. It wasn’t long after I started doing that that he began to want to read on his own, without my pushing him at all.

    Hey, let us know how it goes. Hope things get better for you both.

    Jeanine

  5. Tracy on March 25th, 2010 5:52 am

    Hello! You wrote:

    “I realize that he may never be a big reader and don’t want to push him, but some reading is of course necessary.”

    What “must” he read and why? If he’s reading in general, then he CAN read and there is nothing to worry about. If you feel he “must” read a certain amount every day to maintain that ability, ask yourself if that is really true?

    And what if he will one day be a big reader? We sometimes limit ourselves and our offspring with our thoughts and don’t see it:-)) I have also heard that boys embrace reading much later than girls.

    Hugs,
    Tracy

  6. Tracy on March 25th, 2010 5:54 am

    Hello! You wrote:

    “I realize that he may never be a big reader and don’t want to push him, but some reading is of course necessary.”

    What “must” he read and why? If he’s reading in general, then he CAN read and there is nothing to worry about. If you feel he “must” read a certain amount every day to maintain that ability, ask yourself if that is really true?

    What if, every day, your partner or friend forced you to do something you don’t like to do? How would that make you feel? Kids are people right now, not adults in the making:-)

    And what if he will one day be a big reader? We sometimes limit ourselves and our offspring with our thoughts and don’t see it:-)) I have also heard that boys embrace reading much later than girls.

    Hugs,
    Tracy

  7. Michelle on March 25th, 2010 5:44 pm

    Hello! My son struggled greatly last year with wanting to read(he has attention and focus issues) which is one of the reasons he did, but it was also a matter of reading preference.

    If you desire that he reads certain books as well as those he is primarily interested in, you might want to take turns reading those books out loud to each other. My son and I do that with books that aren’t necessarily his cup of tea, and most of the time he ends up really enjoying those types of books as a result.

    Every couple of pages we take turns so that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Although I do agree with allowing him to develop reading fluency through the books he is interested in, there have been so many good books (and topics) he would have missed out on if I only restricted him to books that he was naturally drawn to.

    God bless

  8. Dez on March 25th, 2010 8:24 pm

    Hi, I’m a children’s yoga instructor and our curriculum (YogaKids International certified) focuses on addressing Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence. One of the things we do for kids that are more kinesthetic in their learning is to do yoga poses with the book (if it talks about turtles, we do turtle pose – this keeps them alert to what is coming up and active), or even act out certain parts of the book. Also, he may be a much more visual learner, so you may incorporate some type of drawing activity after or during the book. Like a book on Johnny Appleseed could have you drawing a map together and plotting the places he travels. There are some books out there on mind mapping that are really helpful with this idea of drawing out a “map” of what you have just read. I will paste a link here to the book I have – I think it is excellent. http://www.amazon.com/Mapping-Inner-Space-Learning-Teaching/dp/1569761388/ref=pd_sim_b_7

  9. Christine Holroyd on March 31st, 2010 9:15 pm

    I recently read an article about animals helping children to read. Wish I could remember just where I read it. It popped into my mind when I read this.

    The program admittedly is for children with learning difficulties BUT you never know. It might be more of a fun way to get your child reading.

    Apparently, children sometimes feel self concious, therefore reading quietly to an attentive animal (because they listen unconditionally) allows the child to feel more comfortable. I certainly thought it was a great idea for kids who are struggling, but wouldn’t hesitate using this method for my daughter.

    My biggest suggestion is to relax about it and know that your son is fine. There are some great suggestions here from others and role modelling is probably one of the best things.

    Good luck! :-)

  10. Steph 31, Mom of 2 on September 2nd, 2010 1:56 pm

    As this happened to me… I know.

    I used to hate reading as a kid… () At the time I didn’t know that it was because I always got headaches while trying to read. I could read, but reading for any lenght of time would get uncomfortable. Later on (when in college) I found out I have astigmatism.

    Here’s the kicker, due to the monitor’s deGauss/refresh rate I didn’t have the same problems using computers or games systems. And if it was something I really wanted to know, I’d push through the discomfort to find out what I need.

    It was not caught by my eye doctors because it’s very slight and really only affects me when I’m holding a book reading it.

    My advise, go to the eye doctor and tell him this. Also, don’t ask him if something it “fuzzy”, if he has astigmatism then his whole life straight / flat has only meant “less fuzzy.”

    I remember the moment in my 20s where I finally learned what smooth crisp letters actually looked like and it was only then that I realized what the doctor was always asking me about.

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