How a Bookworm Mom Parents a Reluctant Reader

My oldest is a struggling read, it’s true. He has dyslexia. But he’s also a reluctant reader. There IS a difference!

Some struggling readers dislike books until they get the right access. Audiobooks can be a game changer, and they were for my son too! However, even with access, my little boy is also incredibly picky about books.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Loves the movies. But he won’t read the books because he saw kids reading them in the 2nd grade. He’s in 5th grade now. So, we can’t read that (even though other 5th graders still eat them up AND they are ABOUT a middle school kid with middle school issues! Girls? Hello?) My theory is that since reading is hard for him, he doesn’t want to read anything that could even possibly be mistaken as something a 2nd grader would read.

Percy Jackson? Oh, I’m a HUGE fan, but since it talks about dyslexia – nope! He lives it enough. He doesn’t want to read about it too.

Harry Potter? We’ve tried. Oh, have we tried! Again, he loves the movies but just hasn’t been able to sink into the series yet. I know ….I’m appalled also. Haha! I’m a huge Potter-head, and honestly, that’s probably why he rebels against that one. Mom tip: Don’t let on to your tween that YOU also like something. It’s a sure sign that most kids will say “nope, not cool.”

So, what do I do?

I definitely have NOT given up. I know he likes high adventure. He likes slightly scary, but not too scary. He’s into Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, reptiles of all kinds, football and martial arts.

When the Scholastic book flyer comes home, I always have him look through it and circle anything he may be interested in. Sometimes he circles the toy (haha), but at least it gets him looking at all of the options!

We do use audiobooks, and that’s a HUGE help. He knows he can read any book that he’s interested in, no matter the level.

We make frequent trips to the library AND to our local Barnes and Nobel. We try all different types of genres – nonfiction, graphic novel, poetry, chapter books.

A Ray of Hope

One of my favorite moments came on a Saturday morning. I was busy cleaning the bathroom, and he came rushing in excited!

“Mom, this book is so FUNNY!”

I had to stop to process what he was saying for a moment. “What? Did you say book? You’re reading a book?”

“YES! And Mom, it’s funny!”

My mommy heart SUNG at these words! It was a book I had purchased a year prior, Diary of a Minecraft Zombie. I do that from time to time. I purchase books I think he may like, and just leave them around the house: his room, on our tables, and in the kids’ bookshelf. He was cleaning his room that Saturday morning as well and came across the book. He said it looked interesting, so he decided to read it. Jaw.Drops.

I ended buying him the entire series.

My advice?

Be patient. Let them pick out their own books. But also help them find books based on their interests.

Also, I read aloud to my kids as a family even though my kids are 11 and 8. Oftentimes, when I begin to read aloud, he’ll stop what he’s doing to come sit beside me and absorb the story.

This will vary from family to family, but here are some books we’ve found success with (whether by audio, read aloud, or sight-reading):

Warriors by Erin Hunter
I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
Plants vs Zombies Graphic Novels
Diary of  Minecraft Zombie 
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Best of luck, fellow momma bookworms! We got this.

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