Mom-to-Mom Support/My daughter doesn’t enjoy reading all that much

My daughter doesn’t enjoy reading all that much


My daughter is entering 5th grade and reads at grade level. She doesn’t enjoy reading all that much. It may be because she is a slow reader. I insist that she read 30 minutes per day, but lately have changed it to a specific number of pages—to compensate for daydreaming and distractions. What is your recommendation on reading in general?

Dear Mom,

Reading, to my mind, is the most important skill that a child can develop. Reading is a life-long skill and ensures that a student will be a seeker of information.

When children become reluctant readers, there are ways to ignite their desire to read. Spend time at the library researching the type of books that the child prefers. For example, one of my daughters has dyslexia. She struggles with reading. However, she loves to read cookbooks. I suspect that she enjoys the pictures and the descriptions as much as anything else about the books. She will read cookbooks to herself without me asking her to do so. Sustained silent reading is a goal that we want our children to achieve, because it is fundamental to self-motivated learning.

Your reading out loud to her is also another way to improve her desire to read to herself. Go to the library and check out the book The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. In this book, Mr. Trelease makes a great argument as to the worth of reading aloud to all levels of students. He explains this theory in the first half of the book and in the second half of the book he lists an anthology of books that make great read-alouds. This book has been a major influence upon my teaching and has been a positive force in improving the way I approach the challenge of the reluctant reader.

I like to set a certain time of the day for reading to oneself. We like to take the time right after lunch and spend it reading. I read as well during this time. I think that it helps children understand the enjoyment of reading when they see their parents reading.

Make the time that your daughter reads aloud to you limited. A short amount of time is all that is necessary to ensure that her comprehension and understanding are developing. However, when she reads silently, ask questions about the material she has read. Be interested in the information that she is gathering. This will give her more reason to read. By the way, when she does read aloud to you, make certain that you are attentive and interested. Letting a person know that we have enjoyed hearing them read and that their reading aloud has been pleasant helps to encourage and reinforce the joy of reading. I do not think that we ever outgrow our need to hear a story read or an article read to us.

Of course, in order to have the time to read, we must be convinced we have a need to read. We will make time for the tasks that we need to do. We do not have television. I think that it interferes with our family’s ability to focus on reading. I am the worst culprit. I know that if we had television, I would probably be the one watching all the lovely decorating shows, etc.

I admire your wanting to address this issue early on. This is prudent and shows that you understand the importance of reading. It is indeed a sorrow when a person is unable to read effectively. Making the skill of reading a priority is the first step in ensuring that reading will be a life-long joy.

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

About Rita Munn

Rita Munn is a veteran homeschool mother of ten. For many years she was a popular speaker at Catholic homeschooling conferences. Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember, and she loves to use her writing skills to share her homeschooling experience with other parents. Her “family journal” reflections are featured in CHC’s Educating for Eternity e-newsletter.