my kid hates to read

Why I’m NOT Freaking Out that My Struggling Readers Has Low Scores

(Inside: Your struggling reader is going to be just fine. Encouragement for parents and practical steps to take when your kid doesn’t want to read.)

My oldest son cried every day for 2 years about it.

Every day.

It was horrific. I started to dread it…

The 20 minutes every day his teacher said he must do it…


All through kindergarten reading time, he cried. By the middle of first grade, I started to cry too. Oh, my struggling reader and I had our good moments.

Like, when we snuggled together and started a book without crying. But somewhere in the middle of Sam I Am not wanting any green eggs and ham, my son teared up and it had nothing to do with the food. He hated to read. It was painful. So painful, I began wondering if this reading thing was just a fad. Could we wait it out? Would caveman drawings come back into style? He could do stick figures.

But during parent-teacher conferences at the end of 1st grade, his teacher gave us the kind but stern talking to that our son needed to learn to read. His reading scores were low. Like, his cousin had similar reading scores before he even entered kindergarten.

What We Did to Help our Struggling Reader Like Reading

Ugh. When the teacher told us it was urgent we get our son back on track, I knew it had gotten serious. School will always be incredibly hard for him if he couldn’t even do the basics – read.

Stress. Prayer. Encouraging. Frustration. Talking to. Practice. And more reading. My son finally caught on. By 3rd grade, he loved it and was reading chapter books on his own.

Then we got THE LETTER.

This time, it wasn’t the letter showing his below-average reading scores, but an invitation – to be in the gifted program for reading at school.

I almost fainted. What the what???

I thought maybe it was really for the smart little neighbor girl across the street, but it said my son’s name. It had to be for him.

Look. I’m not the type of parent who thinks my kid needs to be honors everything or really anything. (As a high school teacher, I know regular courses are rigorous enough.) It’s not about that. It’s about the fact that for two long years success in reading seemed hopeless. Painfully hopeless. I thought he would always be behind. I couldn’t see that maybe it would still click for him, just later than I hoped.

Fast-forward five years…

A different son (we have three) had below-average reading scores this year at the beginning of 5th grade. I had another struggling reading and guess what I didn’t do?

Freak out.

Over the parenting years, we’ve come back to this form of communication: a checklist. It sets clear expectations, reduces nagging, and gives my tween control. Read more in the description.


Why I Didn’t Freak Out My Struggling Reader Hates Reading

Because I remembered from our experience with our oldest son:

  • Sometimes learning just takes more time that we want.
  • It is never too late to catch up on reading.
  • Situations usually work themselves out.

So we are making reading a priority, just like we did with our oldest son. We are persisting, persisting, persisting…and it is frustrating…

But, we’re already seeing progress –  my 5th grader’s scores have inched back up into the low normal range.

And they’ll continue to climb and he’ll eventually learn to like reading – or at least well enough to find success in school…

And if your kiddo is behind too – don’t panic, just persist…I just you some ideas on “how to” below. But, momma, the fact that you are concerned tells me you’re doing a great job.  It will work out. So, keep moving forward. You’re a great mom and your kid is going to end up doing just fine.

How to Get My Child to Like Reading

These are the steps we’ve taken in our home to help motivate our children to read. The key step is persistence. What did I miss? What works for your family?

my kid hates to read

Book Recommendations to Spark Your Struggling Readers’ Love of Reading

It’s going to be hard for moms to get our children to read if they aren’t reading great books. Click below to see book lists for the given ages:

Elementary Age (Lower Grades)

Tweens (Upper Elementary School through Middle School)

Teens (Upper Middle School through High School)

Your struggling reader is a gift and a delight. Just because this aspect of school might be difficult right now, doesn’t mean it will always be. Read more in the Help Your Kid Thrive in School Series.

As a high school teacher for over two decades, I love, love, love watching kids learn. It’s okay if there are struggles in their educational journey. Not just okay – normal, even. We just keep stressing the importance of education and giving them the tools of success. And then we encourage our kids and love them well.

I hope you enjoy these articles.

Help Your Kid Thrive in School Series

Parents, Help Your Kids Thrive in School By Asking These 4 Questions
Why I’m Not Freaking Out that My Struggling Reader Has Low Reading Scores
A Mom’s 1st Day of School Wishes
Moms, You’ll Better Enjoy the End of the School Year Remembering THIS

Kid’s Morning Routine Checklist: Get Your Kids Out the Door Happy and On-Time

146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character
Compelling Books that High Schoolers Will Want to Read

struggling reader
struggling reader
struggling reader

Join this Community of Moms Raising Tweens and Teens

Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?” 

You are raising tweens and teens and college-age kids – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.

Join our community of raising big kids and get occasional email encouragements in your inbox including instant access to the freebie library. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.