I do not know what to do anymore with my 6 year old daughter's lack of appetite for learning.

She does not like to read anything. She would learn all the sight words and forget most of them, or can't recognize them in a sentence. She cannot read a full sentence at her grade level.

I feel like she is not ready for first grade.

I need to know what are some activities that I can do, or anything that would motivate her.

  • 1
    Two questions for you: How often do you read to her and how often does she see you reading?
    – michelle
    Jul 16, 2014 at 17:42

3 Answers 3


First of all, keep in mind that many if not most children are not really developmentally ready for formal academics until age 7 or so. I don't know where you're located, but here in the U.S., recent academic standards are set mostly by politicians, and don't always line up very well with early childhood research.

It used to be that schools didn't even start teaching reading until first grade, and many countries with more successful school systems still delay formal academics until age 7. In other words, chances are in a year or so it will suddenly start clicking for your daughter, without you really having to do anything.

That being said, my son was in a similar situation. He hated to read at school, and was falling behind, which is one reason out of many we decided to pull him out to homeschool. What made the most difference with him is so simple it's almost stupid. We let him read about things that interest him. We take him to the library every week and let him pick what he wants, with the caveat that it has to be at or just slightly above his level. Some books he really wanted that were above his level, so we let him pick those for a parent to read to him, and now he can read them on his own.

So what if he mostly reads about ninjas and Star Wars? We got the mechanics down first, and now he not only enjoys reading stuff he likes, he doesn't break out in tears anymore when we ask him to read the boring stuff.

My four year-old daughter really enjoys this princess reading adventures boxed set. We are not actively teaching her to read yet, but with the repetition and simplicity of these books, she has learned several sight words just from having them read to her. I highly recommend those as a starting point.

  • 1
    +1 for reading about interesting things. Too many people try to teach reading with boring books. You have to get the children interested in what they are doing! My nephew loves "reading" books about trucks :)
    – Bobo
    Jul 8, 2014 at 17:45
  • +1 Yea for trips to the library. Your child can learn about almost anything he wants to from books, so follow his curiosity and he will learn on his own.
    – MJ6
    Jul 9, 2014 at 1:17
  • +1 For developmental appropriateness of pushing reading at this age and for letting children choose their books.
    – michelle
    Jul 16, 2014 at 17:42
  • +1 for schooling beginning at age 7 – it's what psychologists and pediatricians recommend in my country as well.
    – user35140
    Feb 4, 2019 at 3:09

Your question is about learning but your post is about reading.

For reading you probably want to concentrate on synthetic phonics. Find a bunch of different books and set aside some time each day for fun reading. Fun reading can be anything - snuggled up cozy in a pillow-fort den, or active and with lots of motions and acting and voices.

You can get cheap books from charity shops (at least, you can in England. I recently got books retail priced at £50 for just £5) a wide variety of styles of books give the child plenty of choice of book style (short rhyming text or more complex stories).

Make sure to include some questions - "can you see the cat?" "What's this letter?" "Look at that silly boy!" "Let's sound out this word".

Make sure you emphasize the reading you do in daily life. Every time you read something say "I better read the cooking instructions"; "i wonder what the ingredients are? i'll read the label".

Feel free to stumble over the words, and just go back and re-read them. This is demonstrating practice and effort and that it's fine to make mistakes.

Reading doesn't have to be about books - find a complicated toy they want and have them help you read the box and the instructions.

Relentlessly praise effort and achievement. Model correct pronunciation without saying "no that's wrong".

But be prepared for the fact that some people have a reading difficulty or are just not interested in reading.

Dyslexia is one reading disability an getting a diagnosis can make significant help available, but concentrate on getting help even if the particular difficulty is not dyslexia.


Have you got her checked for Scotopic syndrome(Light Sensitivity)? I am reading this book Teaching Outside the box and according to this, this is a fairly common problem which hinders people from reading. This book has 2 entire chapters on reading related problems which the author experienced in her teaching career. Here is more info.

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