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Illustration for article titled When your kid wont read

I have a son who doesn't like reading.

I was one of those kids that was a 'reader.' From the time I learned my ABC's, I had a book in my hand. My weekly allowance was spent on books and little else. If we left the house, I had to have a book in my hand. My mother still tells stories about me wandering behind her at the grocery store, nose in a book. "I'm still not sure how she didn't end up knocking into everything around her."


I always assumed my kids would be avid readers, too. Their father reads (in fact, he had a larger collection than I did when we moved in together). All of their grandparents were huge readers. But my son...

He just doesn't like reading.

At school, he's happy to do the reading. He's a fast reader, so he views it as one of the easier assignments that he gets assigned. But once he gets home, he won't touch a book unless a teacher ordered him to.


I thought I was doing everything right. We read to him. We went to the library all the time. We bought him books. If he liked a series, he got them ALL. But at some point, he just stopped reading them on his own.

We were at the bookstore, and I told the kids to get whatever they wanted. "But not a toy," I reminded them. "We're here for books." The girl nodded and picked up a Pete the Cat book. The boy just looked pissed and stalked off.


It was so alien to me. I'm 34, and I was thrilled to be in the bookstore with a bit of extra scratch. I still get excited when I get a new book on my Kindle. But he was annoyed that I was forcing him to get a book.

There's a weird shame about this, too. People talk about how their kids love to read, but no one seems to talk about the ones that don't enjoy it outside of school. If you bring it up, everyone seems to assume that you did something wrong. You gave the kid the wrong books. You didn't read to them enough. You let them watch too much TV and play too many video games.


I've tried to talk to him about why he doesn't like to read, but he insists he does. I can see in his face the same shame I feel. He doesn't want to admit that he doesn't like to read, which means that we can't talk about it.

I'm hoping that this is just a case of him being between genres. He's a bit too old for the stuff he once loved, but isn't mature enough for most YA. I'm hoping it gets better, because besides introducing him to more and more books, I'm not sure what to do.

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