There’s something truly magical about reading aloud to your child.
It’s such a special shared time and enjoying books together is an incredibly bonding tool.
But for some kids, especially as they enter a tween or teen age, they start to resist reading aloud.
Sometimes it is because having someone read aloud to them feels “babyish” or because they have other things on their plate or because they are pushing for a power struggle where they can.
Whatever their reason may be, here are some read aloud tips for dealing with a resistant child:
10 Tips for When Your Child Starts Resisting Read Alouds
- Keep it consistent. If you’ve always read aloud at bedtime or during after school snack or snuggled up in your bed, keep doing it. They’ll know what to expect and they’ll be able to depend on that routine even if they’re currently not interested. Plus, it makes it easy for them to casually join in if they start to feel left out.
- Read aloud during snack time or dessert or a meal. I asked for recommendations for handling reluctant read alouders and this was BY FAR the most common suggestion. Some families read aloud while their tweens eat breakfast in the morning or during an after school snack or their teens are much more likely to join a read aloud if it’s over dessert or a late night snack in the evenings.
- Let them pick the book. It’s hard to be excited about a book you have no interest or buy-in to, so letting them choose the book (or at least giving them several options to pick from!) is a great way to help them feel more invested. This is especially useful if your child has very different reading taste from yours and trying out their science fiction picks or non-fiction favorites is a great way to show them that you respect them as a reader with their own reading tastes.
- Let them stay up later for a read aloud. It’s hard to resist the lure of staying up a little later – for most kids, if the options are bed or a read aloud, they’ll pick the read aloud. And hey, if they choose to go to bed instead, a little extra sleep never hurt anyone!
- Sit down and start reading aloud. Sometimes the easiest strategy is to NOT spend a lot of time trying to convince kids to let you read aloud and instead just find a comfortable spot on the couch and starting to read aloud. Try it and see if they start to congregate!
- Give them something to do while you read aloud. You know I’m the biggest believer in doing something with your hands while you listen and if they’re drawing, working on a puzzle, cooking, or doing something else physical but not mentally demanding, it’s a great time to read aloud as they work on that project.
- Listen to audiobooks together in the car. Just because you’re not the one reading aloud doesn’t mean you can’t still have great shared book experiences together – I love listening to audiobooks in the car with my kids, whether it’s on a road trip or just while we run errands. (My trick is to say, “I’m going to listen to this book. You’re welcome to listen along if you’d like or just tune it out.”).
- Take a little break. Sometimes a few weeks can be enough to restart a good read aloud rhythm. Taking off a few weeks and then trying again in the summer or after a busy season might be just what they need.
- Give them some space and don’t force it. If it’s a power struggle, insisting that they join for read alouds might just make the whole thing worse and create bad feelings about reading together. If you have other kids, keep reading aloud to them and the resistant child can join if they feel like it but doesn’t have to ruin it for the whole family. (And sometimes knowing it’s going on with or without them is the nudge they need to realize they’d rather not miss out).
- Transition to solo (but together!) reading time. Maybe the time for reading aloud with your child is over (at least for now). Try having reading time where they can read their own books and you read yours. Even if you’re not reading the same book, it’s a special time to be together.
Any other tips for dealing with a child who no longer wants to participate in reading aloud? I’d love for you to share in the comments!
if you liked this post about read aloud tips for kids who are resisting, you might be interested in these other posts:
- 8 Tips for Read Alouds for Kids of Different Ages
- My 11 Favorite Read Alouds
- 6 ways to help Reluctant Readers have positive experiences with books
Leave a Reply