14 answers

My 1St Grader **HATES** Reading!

I'm looking for some motivational tools to help my daughter want to read / want to learn how to read. Whenever we try to sit down with her to read she is always beating around the bush, making excuses, not trying to sound out words - she guesses. I've tried reading a bit here, letting her play. I've tried introducing new books through the library. I signed her up for a book club where she reads a book then discusses it verbally, thru crafts and games with other kids her age - we haven't done it yet, but shes not at all thrilled about the idea... regardless of how excited I was when I presented it to her. I've got her kids magazines and tried books pertaining to topics I know she likes.... nothing I've tried is working. I want this to be fun for all of us, and its been nothing but a chore.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Let's face it, it's no fun to do something you don't know how to do and it can be very frustrating.

I have to agree with Sunny 100%. The LeapFrog dvds are simply AMAZING! My son learned all of this letters/sounds within 2 weeks of starting to watch those DVDs (he was 2 at the time). He is now VERY advanced in his reading and also a great speller. He would sing the alphabet, but not by letters but by the letter sounds. I give these DVDs to all friends/family who have babies.

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hi T.,

don't let reading be a chore. or a punishment or a requirement. i am an avid reader and came from a family that loves to read, so i was kinda stunned when both my kids reached that reading age and hated reading. what i slowly discovered with both kids (at different ages) was that both of them have some learning disability when it comes to the written word. not dyslexia, but a disability that was just slight enough to not be diagnosed. i learned this as time went on when i worked with them in other subjects in school. (light bulb!!) when they were teenagers we learned that they didn't absorb much of what they read unless they took notes and rearranged the information in whatever it was that they were reading. reading made them feel "stupid" when they were younger. only when we figured this out in their early teens did they start to feel better about themselves and books.

having said that though, i am glad i did not pressure them to embrace reading the way i love reading. we always read at night and we read whatever they chose- and we always stopped in the middle of a story to discuss the story, talk and share insight/jokes/emotional responses and so our reading times were fun-very interactive. my daughter read best if she was allowed to lay on the floor and scoot around on her back while she read. (i was like that when i was young...couldn't sit still to read, but could read if i was pacing or scooting around). i learned early on not to pick what i thought would interest them-turned out that my son loved king arthur stories and they held him so spellbound that he didn't feel "stupid" as he struggled to read them. my daughter fell in love with little house on the prairie books and amazed us all by reading the entire series (flat on her back, scooting around on the floor).

although neither of my kids developed into avid readers (sigh), now and then they'd find a book that drew them in and when i saw this i would go buy the book for both of us and then read it, too. (we'd have great discussions afterwards and during the read...) now my kids have their own library of books that really touched them and this reminds them that they actually DO enjoy reading -as long as the book interests them and as long as reading isn't forced upon them (and if one of them can scoot on the floor as she reads...!)

Let's face it, it's no fun to do something you don't know how to do and it can be very frustrating.

I have to agree with Sunny 100%. The LeapFrog dvds are simply AMAZING! My son learned all of this letters/sounds within 2 weeks of starting to watch those DVDs (he was 2 at the time). He is now VERY advanced in his reading and also a great speller. He would sing the alphabet, but not by letters but by the letter sounds. I give these DVDs to all friends/family who have babies.

Maybe she is being pushed too hard. Maybe you could try having her try reading books that are "too easy" for her for awhile, so that she feels some reading success that becomes confidence. I think I would back off right now and give her at least 2 weeks and you just keep reading to her whatever she enjoys hearing read to her. You DON'T want to burn her out at such a young age- I think it's crucial that she ENJOYS reading, rather than that she is reading "at her reading level".

My oldest daughter hated to read, too. Instead of trying to get her to read what she was 'supposed' to read, I talked with her teacher and we agreed that at that point anything was better than nothing. Her teacher was very helpful in accepting anything read for her reading assignments. Often I would put messages in my daughter's lunchbox for her to read...sometimes puzzles, riddles, jokes... she always read these things. I would send her letters (kids love to get mail) and would always buy letters sent from Santa and the Easter Bunny. These sort of things she always read without hesitation. She would somtimes get frustrated because she wanted to know what they said so badly she was willing to have some help. She's always been allowed to pick out a book or more that she would like to read from the Scholastic Book Orders at school. She really got into animals, so I got her a membership to the Sierra Club and she always reads the stuff they send her. Having a child, in my experience, who doesn't like to read just requires more work and ideas to figure out how to get them reading without them almost even realizing it.

One of the things that seemed to help my three children with reading was to realize that it was just recognition. We taught them to "read" while driving - recognize the McDonalds, the grocery store, the red light versus green light. They felt success at this ability. Eventually they started reading outloud all the signs along the road and the billboards. Since we seemed to spend a bunch of time in the car when they were little this kind of helped. good luck!

Although we always have story time before bed, my son, who will be in first grade, doesn't always want to read. It got worse as the Summer went on. I have been worried about how much he will forget as time goes by before school starts, so my husband and I implemented a new rule. If he wants to play a video game(mindless one or a learning one)he has to read a book to his dad or me. This has worked for him. If he asks to play a game, all I have to say is, "what's the rule", and he goes to pick out a book. This may or may not work for you, but putting too much pressure or emphasis on sitting to read can feel like a chore to kids. Figure out what extra thing your daughter loves, and make it a reward activity if she reads a book to you. This has made life much easier for me, now I don't feel like I'm nagging, and my son is reading great! My 4 year old daughter has taken to this as well. She grabs a book when her big brother does and reads the pictures to me. I love it! Whatever you choose to do, stick with it so she doesn't think she can manipulate you into not reading. Good luck!

I just wanted to share what my moyher did in order to get me to read. When i was in first grade my parents found out that i had a learing disability which involved my eyes. It seems that i worked day and night but i still struggled and didn't really care. I was really in to beanie babies, so my mom started this system each time i read a book she gave me a beanie baby.It really worked for both me and my two younger sisters And eversince we all love to read. Hope this helps.

My daughter was like that at that age. Alot of it was because she really couldn't read that well. I thought she was just trying to get out of reading too. Finally her 3rd grade teacher suggested putting her in a group they have called Title one. They have some one that comes in and works with them. I really believe this has helped alot, although I still have trouble getting her to stop and take the time to do it. But that is just because she is a kid and would rather of playing or something other than reading. I found though if I have her do it after dinner before bed it helps. Also with both my girls I found a series of books called Junie B. Jones they both abosutely adored these books. My 13yr old still reads them when ever her sister gets a new one. I for the life of me can't remember who the author is but feel free to contact me through here and I will be glad to hunt one down and find out. Anyway I would maybe try and see if her school offers any kinda of program to help her read, sometimes they'll do better with some one else. Good luck!
L. G.

Been there, done that! My dd, who is my 3rd child, followed 2 brothers who were reading at the 3-5th grade level by the time they were done with 1st grade. She had no desire at all to read, NONE! I pushed, pleaded, bought, borrowed, you name it, I did it to get her to read. I finally just backed off and decided to let her see what it was like to not read like the rest of her class. She just finished 3rd grade and is now reading at a 6th grade level!! What happened? She found a book, on her own, that she wanted to read. I took away some of her chores when I saw her reading, and then she started asking if she could stay up to read, the result, she now LOVES to read. But she did it by herself. The book, if you wanna know, is from the "Fablehaven" series, GREAT SERIES!! She's just finished the second book and is now on to the third one. Hang in there, it will come. Sounds like your 1st grader is like mine was, needs to do it on their own! Good luck.

You may be surprised as the reading club may help her a lot.
I find my kids sometimes appreciate, listen and sit still better for someone other then myself on things.
If she doesn't respond well the the club, even consider something like Sylvan where she can get a tutor and get one on one training in reading. I think kids get frustrated easily and of course us being closest to them we get the brunt of that. Once she figures out how it will open her world, how fun it can be and get encouragement to do so she may change her mind. Does she struggle with reading or just simply doesn't want to do it?
If she feels it is forced she will resist. Maybe do your own chart at home for every book she reads with you, every hour she puts into reading that she gets a star, then at the end of the month have a reward system for what you deem fit for the number of stars she has earned.
My daughter loves the reading part, it is the math part we struggle with, of course the teachers send great tools home for us to use in math so I can help her but at home she resists more then I think she normally would if it was outside. I am going to again this year help her and work with her but not opposed to seeing if there is a math tutor at school that would be willing to work with her.
Good luck!

I used hooked on phonics with my son and it got him moving fast with his reading - so instead of it being a chore it was something fun. I also let both of my kids choose what they want to read. Weather it was a magazine ,comic book or whatever. Going to the library and spending time at the story time is a good idea too. I know that some Barnes and Nobles have a childrens story time as well. Sounds like she needs to get excited about reading and that could just lie within the story. My daughter got hooked on American Girl story books at about that age. She wasn't able to read them at first herself because the content was a bit much - so we read them to her at first. She loved the stories and one day she couldn't wait to find out what happened next so she picked up the book and just read on herself. I think letting her be apart of the choice of what she gets to read would make a big difference. Little House on the prairie is another great series.

Hope that helps!

This is what I would do, and I hope it works for you.

- Everyday at a certain time have silent reading time with your daughter. I would start with 5 minutes, and then go up to 15. Be firm and have her pick a book before you start- no switching books during the time. You read too as an example. Do not look over her shoulder, make her tell you about her reading, or make her actually read, she may just look at pictures to start with. By reading each day in front of her you show her that reading is fun and that you don't have to do a report or something. Reading magazines and comic books count, as well as the newspaper.

-check out an exciting book (a picture book that looks interesting) and put it somewhere obvious in the house. Tell her about it but don't read it to her, and don't let her have it. You don't have to be corny about it, just maybe mention, oh that's Froggy Learns to Swim, it's a funny book. Then after 5 days read it to her as a reward for something good she's done. It could just be making her bed.

-read to her every night before she goes to bed. Reading to her will do more to improve her reading than trying to get her to read because she will learn fluency and expression and new words from you.

By doing these things I think you will help her attitude change towards books. Eventually if she has the right attitude she will want to read and she will learn. There's no reason to hustle her along. She will learn to read and she shouldn't have to stress about school at such a young age!

I also recommend the Read Aloud Handbook, it's a good book. The author recommends these tips as well as getting a book lamp for your child's bed, and putting books around the house, in the bathroom, at the kitchen table, in the living room... Good luck!

Some kids don't like reading, but she does need the skill. I highly recommend the Letter Factory dvds, if she has a younger sibling this could be especially helpful as you don't have to single her out or even let her know it's for her. My 3 year old loves these and can say all the sounds for the letters. they are by Leapfrog, and they also have a word factory, storybook factory and math circus dvd. the letter factory is cute as they show all the letters how to make their sounds - a monster scares the a's and they all scream "aaaa!"

Another thing you can do is read to her. Don't push her reading, just take those magazines and spend time together. At the most, leave off at an interesting part, but don't ask her to read.

I would try these and cut off some of the things she is less thrilled about, simply because of the psychology of the situation; she seems inclined to fight everything you have tried so far.

you have your hands full!! i think that all first graders all hate to read because it is such a hard learning process!! all my kids did. anyway here is a little advice. have the school test her for a disability like dislexia and the school could also give her an eye exam and make sure ther is no problems. the earlier these are detected the easier these problems are to deal with. i do agree with putting up a reward chart and you could have her help make it with as a craft project and she could pick out her very own poster board and stickers and every night when she reads she could put a sticker on the chart and for every time she fights with you a sticker can be taken off. then after a full week of reading then she could have a reward. ccraft time--new toy-- go to a fav park--make her fav dinner--
i have a 14 year old who still hates to read and her insentive is for every book she reads i will buy her a new magazine of her choice. it includes reading too!! good luck and god bless!!

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