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What are some suggestions on making reading fun for a 10 year old girl, that dislikes reading?

When I tell her to read a book, she thinks it's a punishment that I'm making her read. I try to explain to her that reading is fundamental and also builds your vocabulary.

Added Info From My Comments Below

She sees me reading everyday, not a day goes by without a book in my hand. Her peers enjoys reading. I also read aloud to her. The books she has available here at home are, 'Monster High' (Dolls and cartoon character) books. But are these types of books good to read?! She is currently in the fifth grade, but she is on a third grade reading level. I'm assuming this is what strays her away from reading. She definitely is struggling, but this is why I'm searching for answers because I don't know what else to do to get her to read so it can build her reading level up.

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    Does she have any struggles with reading? Is her reading level on par with her peers? How often does she see you or other role models reading? What types of books does she have available? – user11394 Sep 9 '15 at 3:05
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    That's good information, especially if her reading level is a little lower than her grade level. Encouraging a reader that may be struggling is different than encouraging a reader that's not challenged. Hopefully that information helps guide some answers. – user11394 Sep 9 '15 at 3:18
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    Do you read TO her? I picked up a lot of reading by just laying on the bed with my father while he's read aloud to me, and I'd just quietly read along. Works great if you find comic books, because she will of course want to see the pictures. I have no idea if she will still welcome this at age 10, but perhaps it will help a it :). – Layna Sep 9 '15 at 5:51
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    Could you please clarify - what does she do instead? Does she watch TV, play on a PC, play with toys, meet friends, spend too much time over homework so that she's simply tired... And: do you have a specific time slot in your day for reading (like reading in bed before lights out) or do you suggest she reads at random times or when she says "I'm bored"? – Stephie Sep 9 '15 at 8:06
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    Someone mentioned this in the comments but I wanted to second the idea of - Try comic books. There age appropriate, you may be able to find some of her favorite characters / tv shows to draw interest, and there plenty of them to read for varying age groups. – user7678 Sep 9 '15 at 18:00
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I try to explain to her that reading is fundamental and also builds your vocabulary.

That is about the last argument to get a ten year old to read. You know, that green juce that tastes like grass clippings? But it's soooo good for you! So please don't ever say this again to her...

A book should be a gateway to another world, something that holds you captive and is something enjoyable. What exactly fascinates your child is secondary - if she's currently into Monster High, for heaven's sake let her.

Of course there are a few feet of "approved" or "good" children's literature in every store or library, but your primary goal ist to get her reading, right? Some children are into fiction or fantasy, others prefer scientific books about subjects they are interested in. So offer a wide range of choices - access to a library is a good start without breaking the budget and so are second-hand bookstores - but let her choose. For ideas and suggestions, either ask your local (childrens) book store, your librarian or visit one of the websites offering information.

If your budget allows, there are a few scientific magazines geared towards children. With short articles and a wide variety of topics including fun trivia they are often less daunting than an entire "big" book. (A subscription also makes a great birthday gift, btw., especially from relatives that are further away, the monthly edition saying "I love you" regularly.) And they come as digital editions, too, should an iPad or similar be more tempting than paper.

Does she have friends she could swap books with? If your BFF just read a book you simply have to read it too, so that you can talk about it. And if you are the one that read it first... Who says that it's only you that needs to do the encouraging? Peer pressure in a positive sense... ^_^

Almost equally important is to establish reading as a habit, something that becomes an automatism under certain circumstances. For our family, everyone loves to read in bed, typically at bedtime to wind down, but I have also found my children continue the book from the evening before when they woke early. The prospect of being allowed to stay awake a bit longer instead of going to sleep right away would entice my children even if they weren't voracious readers already. Books can help bridge boring (adult) events - but you need to leave the handheld electronic devices at home. (Hint: They can run out of battery if you conveniently "forget" to charge them...)

But remember that reading skills aren't about books alone - ask her to get information for you from various sources, be it school letters about upcomming events, newspaper headlines or instructions on the back of a pack of Hamburger Helper. Reading is not only about building vocabulary, but also about acquiring information - make reading something that is done "en passant", not necessary a skill that stands alone and is done only at school or at bedtime.

And my final suggestion: Use the approaching fall and winter to curl up on the sofa with a good book and a cup of tea yourself, perhaps she will choose to join you. If not, you will at least be relaxed for another round of "parenting"!


If I interpret your other questions correctly, your daughter has an older brother - if he doesn't read he might be the "role model" she's currently adhering to. You might have to get him on (the book-)board, too.

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    Agreed. Long term goals don't even work but for a few adults, let alone kids. It's all about being clever about short term gains to build the way further. – lkraav Sep 9 '15 at 11:14
  • Yes, you're right about my oldest son. I will definitely get him on board. Thank you for picking that up, it never dawned on me to have him get on board too. – LOSTinNEWYORK Sep 9 '15 at 13:01
  • You know, green kool-aid tastes like grass to me (in a good way). – Joe Sep 9 '15 at 14:40
  • @Joe Not sure what that means. – LOSTinNEWYORK Sep 9 '15 at 17:31
  • Referring to Stephie's first paragraph. – Joe Sep 9 '15 at 17:31
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Have you tried reading to her? 15 minutes before she goes to bed, stop in the middle of a chapter, and tell her she can read on her own for a bit if she wants to.

Let her pick the book. Nothing will turn her off reading faster than having books pushed at her because you think they are worthy. You may think her choice is drivel, but go with it. If it gets her reading the rest will follow.

Edit: also she may well start by getting stuck on one particular series with 20 books in it, every one of which has exactly the same plot. Again, don't fight it, go with it.

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My girls (3 and 5) love having stories read to them but I think a lot of that had to do with starting with books that were related to their favorite shows, which are always playing ambiently in the background. Like Mickey Mouse, Disney movies, etc. Later they advanced into all kids books even if they were not related to their favorite shows. When my oldest was 4 we started reading The Hobbit, as much as she could get through in a night, and I kept her interested by playing out roles and things that happen in the book with her. I got her an invisibility ring like Bilbo had in the book and a glowing sword, made her a little cape, played quiz games with her, drew maps, and reminded her that when we finished the book she could watch the movies even though I was certain she wasn't ready for them. She got through the whole thing and recalled quite a lot of it. She even sat through all of the recent Hobbit movies, and was not scared at any of the evil. She said it was awesome and asked what other books we could read. Tried to start Lord of the Rings but we both agreed it was too ridiculous for either of us to try to read at this point.

She got through Treasure Island. She still loves all her Barenstein Bears books, so even though we read books people don't tend to read until they are much older, she maintains an interest in the standard picture books for kids her age.

So basically I think interaction was key there. Showing that we were both into it and doing it together made her want more and even ask for it as a routine before bed. Her choice for the most part but that may be because I didn't exactly tell her there were other options. She's doing well with reading for a 5 year old, but obviously I don't expect her to be reading books on her own yet. While I understand your question is for a kid twice my daughter's age, I still think the interaction part could be tuned to her age without it being too childish or whatever one might call adults and 10 year olds playing out parts of story books. I found the fun of reading doesn't have to be limited to the pages and the movie your mind draws out.

  • Haven't found a solution. I just added in info from my comments below to my original post. – LOSTinNEWYORK Sep 9 '15 at 17:35
  • Oh man my mistake! I misread that as "she seems to be reading ... everyday" and not she sees you reading. Sorry about that. – Kai Qing Sep 9 '15 at 17:56

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