Raising a reader

When your reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?

Nothing pleases me more than watching my toddler Penguin busy with his books. Our discovery to Penguin’s love for books is shared earlier in many posts. It was an accidental observation. He used to wait for my Maa to read the newspaper every afternoon. In two years of “Raising a Reader,” we have read almost a hundred books. I am aiming for 1000 books before kindergarten. In my earlier posts of this series, we shared what types of books to have for early readers. You can add another book in the list Scanimation. I was introduced to it by a friend recently.  Later, we shared on “How to introduce books to babies and toddlers?”. Now that we shared our story and experience, you might be wondering what’s next. Can your little reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?

Yes, this totally insane thing can happen. My 23 months boy was suddenly pushing off and closing books whenever I opened. Soon, I realized I was surely doing something wrong. Else there was no reason for a sudden change. I asked for help, buzzed a few parents whom I knew were raising readers. Googled for days. Yes. Yet, we didn’t find a solution. Instead of asking and waiting it was time to introspect. As we were sure it wasn’t a phase that would go off in some time. We weren’t ready to abandon Penguin’s earlier enthusiasm for books without trying.

It took me over a month to discover things that went wrong and reshape it. This post is meant for all parents and caregivers who might be a similar situation. Also, on how to avoid this situation totally. Do keep in mind all kids have different personalities. What worked with us, may (hopefully please) or may not work with you.

Reluctant readers
Pin it! Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

When your reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?

First, recognize the behavior before it becomes too late. Then analyze the reason behind it. Here are the reasons that we found might be the root that Penguin was avoiding books.

  • Force

Can you believe it? That force was a prime reason. We were unknowingly forcing him to books. While we have an array of books in hand and even rotate them every fortnight. Penguin was in love with certain books and wanted them. ONLY. So, when I rotated books, he opposed that. As he couldn’t communicate that. He avoided rest in the shelf. Uff! Can you imagine that? Now, we are reading the same book for over 9,3,68,214 times till he chooses another one. Thankful, he does choose others too.

  • Expectations

I had expectations. Understood that was too much for my little one on time. I was expecting my child would like a certain book and introduced them. As they turned out not so well. We never expected him to like encyclopedias around 2 years of age. That’s when we started choosing books for a fortnight by Child’s choice plus a new one.

  • Reach

Living in rental apartments we don’t have much scope of adding furniture of our choice. Especially when it eats up the last remaining free space. Upon that our idea of keeping minimal items based on a dire need too keep us thinking. So, putting books in every corner was a little tough for us. And putting it only in one space that’s next to the bed wasn’t pretty approved by our toddler. He wanted it everywhere (read scattered). Even on floor and kitchen corners. Our solution was making a mobile bookshelf. Just out of a carton. Allowing the toddler to carry it everywhere in the house.

  • Warm up time

During the initial days, our children’s book collection was small. It consisted of a few board books and a couple of paperbacks. With time our bookshelf grew bigger. So, every time I introduced a new book, I was expecting Penguin to eagerly join me. Just like old times. Duh! I realized my child needs a warm up time. And it’s okay to leave a book in 2 seconds. So, books are introduced now gradually giving enough warm-up time.

  • Change in environment

We travel often. Vacation hangovers are real. Even this toddler of mine refuses to revert back to schedule. Can’t expect anything less, when we adults too take time. But at times kids are sensitive to frequent change in atmosphere. Penguin would prefer dancing or outdoors over books at that time. Again, we have adapted well to this now. We already spend at least 2hours under the sun plus the social play time. Now, in a day or two, our schedule gets back.

  • Co-reader is boring

Co-reader, that’s majorly me. I was boring my child. Well, this Maa is learning too. Little animated voice and props for storytelling never hurt right.

Has your little reader ever, ever become a reluctant reader? How did you overcome that situation?


53 thoughts on “When your reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?”

    • So, we haven’t come across to this stage of being reluctant in reading yet but I never force my son for anything be it choosing to read or jump, deciding which book to pick for reading and also I stay away from expectations. When we introduced books to Nemit we were not sure whether he would like that or not, even now when we see him spending most of his time surrounded by books, I am open to accepting a phase where he might just say he doesn’t like reading. We can only provide our kids with the right tools, environment & guidance. This post will be really helpful for parents in identifying the prob areas.

      • Rightly said,Neha. Kids attention changes. A book or toy might love its charm over time. I realized that there was a problem when Penguin’s like changed after a shift in environment and few other factors.

  1. You are right dear! Force and expectation are the two major causes which we put knowingly and unknowingly and after a time kids don’t appreciate at all. I loved the post.

  2. If ever I feel my kid is losing interest in reading, I co-read and explain her in simple and interesting language.

  3. You are right forcing kids to learn makes them feel disinterested in the book and topic itself. I have also noticed this behaviour in my lil cousin.

  4. I have had the same experience with daughter when was pushing her for reading a couple of years ago. Reading this post made me nostalgic, and yes pushing and expecting things out of them is wrong on our part. Very valuable piece of advice for all.

  5. You are doing a wonderful job. We used to read a lot before my second child was born. Now, when I try reading to both girls. The elder one is always interested but the younger munchkin always interrupts. How to make both of them interested at the same time? Any expert tips here? 🙂

    • Such a useful post. My girl enjoys reading but my son doesn’t read more than one book in a go. Mainly he gets bored and wants to jump to the next thing. I try various tricks but donot force him much. Guess all kids have such phases.

  6. While I did know that kids get bored of reading, I had just let it be and then gifted a new set of his interest but your research and points are vital dear. I will bear in mind.

  7. Very true we must not put too much pressure on our children and trying to understand the reason for their reluctance will help find solution

  8. I remember going through this stage with my kids some time back. What worked in our case was the fact we took a break from that night-time routine and switched to something else. After a week or so I saw my kids showing interest again in the books that they had left aside earlier on.

  9. This is such a great and helpful article…..my nephew is going through this phase…going to follow your article now…

  10. Kids are unpredictable. It’s always good to introduce them to new books and then stick to the ones they like .


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