How do I get my 6 year old to start reading?

Amila - posted on 07/12/2012 ( 21 moms have responded )




Hello Ladies I have a son who just turned 6 he will be in first grade this year and he is still not reading at his grade level so I am trying to help him read but he is not interrested at all, do you guys have an idea how to get him to like reading?


Melissa - posted on 07/30/2012




The trick that worked for my son last summer (then going into the third grade) was Chuck E Cheese tokens! I went to Chuck E's and bought 100 tokens. Every time he read a book I would give him 5 tokens. Once he received all of the tokens we went to Chuck E's so he could play games with all of his hard earned tokens! He raised his reading level an entire grade level in one summer!

Juanita - posted on 08/19/2012




Most of us don't want to do something that we are not good at!!

Our 6 yr old was the same way, did not want to read. Our 8 yr old would end up crying out of frustration saying, "I know what it says." but I doubted she did. She hated to read! We found a program that explained these are called 'stress spirials'. They also explain the 7 main reasons some children have difficulty learning to read.
The program is "Easyread by Oxford Learning Systems".This is an online program that uses imaginative synthetic phonics to help struggling children learn how to read. It is specially optimized for dyslexic children and highly visual learners.

This program has helped our two children by using lessons that are less than 15 minutes per day 4 to 5 days per week. We have been using it since Mid March and now there is no more crying! Instead, our children are now want to read on their own. They still need help but are I see a huge difference! I wholeheartedly recommend this program!

For more information you can email me at or visit their website. (If you decide to use the program you can get 10% off if you have a referral--Just use JuanitaMueller as a referral)


View replies by

Elena - posted on 08/31/2012




Making labels for thing at home is a great idea (sink, tub, tooth brush, stove, for example) I find that when kids see the object and the word it helps them remember how to spell it and it can be a fun game at home helping even reading signs as you are driving is a fun game and it makes his sound them out my son used to love doing that. We also visit the library once a week or every other week and get new books for his level of reading this way they can pick what they like to read and they feel great about themselves when they can read to you!! Hope these ideas can help good luck!

Julie - posted on 08/25/2012




Start reading to him every night.

Then take turns reading the same story by alternating pages, I read a page, then he reads a page and so on I say, "your turn"

I also "ad lib" the stories to add interest, humor and make it special between the two of us

You can also with reading signs while driving in the car, my boys have fun doing that.

Last, my boys have to "earn minutes for screen time." If they read for 30 minutes, they get a show, or 30 minutes of video game. BIG incentive to read :)

Jennifer - posted on 08/24/2012




I found with my son it's really a matter of not wanting to do things he can't do well. He is really enthusiastic about math because that comes easily to him but reading didn't. So I work hard to celebrate the little successes.

Bobbie - posted on 08/23/2012




Every child picks one thing that doesn't come as easy to him as others. This isn't of any great concern. It isn't a sign of things being more difficult for him. Example - my baby sister couldn't tell her right from her left and couldn't tell time for years past the age that is considered "normal" She is graduated with full honors from both college and medical school.

What you can do is be creative. I placed little cards on objects that my grandson saw every day in his room. Easy words such as chair, bed, light, door. He is so excited when he sees these words else where and points them out to me. I also show him the PULL and PUSH as well as the TRASH printed on doors and containers when at McDonald's. He now knows the difference between push and pull and I wait for him to tell me which to do. Start telling him made up stories and be silly. As him to help you finish it. This is fun to do while traveling in the car because he will have lots of things in his line of sight that will give him ideas.

Like I would start out, "there once was a crazy blue bird that only flew upside down. His name was" then as him, what do think his name was? This should start him finding joy in stories. Comprehension is just as important as reading the words.

Rachel - posted on 08/20/2012




My 6 year old loves to read, but I've been reading to him and with him every day since he was a baby. He sees me reading all the time and we make reading time a priority in our house. Do you like to read? Let him see you read also. Let him read to you all the signs you see when you are out somewhere, let him read magazines to you, let him be in charge of reading cereal boxes at the stores. Be proactive in letting him do the reading and he'll catch up. Don't depend on the school to catch him up, chances are he'll have 30 kids in his class and the teacher will not have time to work one on one.

Brandy - posted on 08/19/2012




I used to read short stories of whatever my daughter was into at the time to her then after me reading it once through I would tell her she is to read a sentence then I read one this went on for a bit til I had her reading paragraphs when she hit second grade never wanted to read which was a big problem cause her school expected the kids to read, she would pick out books but after the first few words lose interest, it wasn't til this past school yr now 5 grade that her teacher took the time to really find out what she really liked, not sure how she did it but I'm grateful that she did cause now she's always wanting to go shopping for books, and the best is that they're not lil bitty books either, they're ones that have series, a good teacher and librarian might do the trick, they see things that us parents don't but not all teachers will do this, since it took me and 2 other teachers tried with no luck, you can also try putting name tags on things in your home like table, chair etc.... he will eventually read when he's ready too don't worry to much

Venessa - posted on 08/17/2012




My 9 year old son had the same problem. And it wasn't because he couldn't read, it was because he didn't want to. I found that giving him books that were interesting to him and not that long, helped. You also may want to talk to the school and see if they have a program for children that are not reading at grade level. My son went into a program like that and by the end of the year, he was fine.

Like I said, I found the best way to get him to read was to find books that were things that he actually liked and not subjects that were only interesting to me.

Ana - posted on 08/01/2012




Turn the TV and the internet off and dedicate 1 hr of reading each night. And at least 2 to 4 trips a month to the library for him to choose a book that he can read during his 1 hr a night at home..

He'll need a dictionary too.

After a while he will catch up...Bout a month..

My brother was the same way, but my mom just tailored his lifestyle to help him..

She made it fun, but mandatory..He could choose any book he wanted to, any subject, but he had to choose....

Kristin - posted on 07/30/2012




My 6 year old does not like to read either he would much rather ride his bike or play with his friends lol. I set aside an hour or so each night and we will either read a book togther or we will play some board games. While playing the board games I play dumb and ask him to spell out or read off a word. I try to make it fun for him and I realize some kids are better in school than others. My oldest is very intelligent and book smart but not hands on or mechanically adept, whereas my 6 yr old may not be able to read well but he is very mechanically inclined and hands on. I figure my 6 yr old wil read when he is ready to and I try not to worry about it to much.

Helen - posted on 07/29/2012




This is a very important issue. If he feels that he's not a great student when he just first started school, he will lose a lot of self confidence and build up his dislike of school.
First, you need time and patience. You must dedicate a few hours per day of your schedule for him.
Go to the library, find 5 picture books or easy-to-read chapter books, and start reading.
Make sure to fulfill your daily quota of books.
The hardest thing is making him sit down. Reading is like eating veggies. At first, you'll hate it, but it's an acquired taste for many.
For me, although I hated the taste of coffee, when I was told that all adults drank it, I didn't hesitate to down my cup when I became older. Tell him, that all adults do it if he cares.
You know your child best, so do what you can.
If you don't have the time, because I know, between work and housework, there's only so few quality time! I do tutor kids in NYC. Believe me, it is possible for children even 4 years old. However, it's never too late to start. He's still very young and full of promise :)
Good luck and stay motivated!

Lita - posted on 07/24/2012




I am just going to share my experience. My then 3 yrs old son came to me one day, saying 'Mommy, I want to learn to read'. So I taught him to use phonics to read. Mind you, English is not my native language, so it was rather difficult to me to teach him. Just short before his 4th birthday, he reads and writes by himself. I admitted, since he entered preschool, on the days he wasn't going, we played 'school' at home. That's when I noticed, he is different.
Although I was thinking of home schooling him, I realized, he'd need social life as well.
I registered him in public school system. BIG MISTAKE.

They just closed the gifted program the year before. I told the K teacher that he was able to read already. Her response was 'Oh yeah, just like every other children here'.
2 weeks passed, I got the call from the principal, requested a meeting.
I came, sat with the K teacher who appeared dumbfounded, a social worker, reading tutor and the principal herself. She (the principal) told me, the first assessment done the previous week showed that my boy's DRA level was last year 1st grade level, so does his math and science knowledge. I glared at that K teacher, whom looked embarrassed enough that she brushed me off at the beginning of the school year. I just asked the principal, what was the best bet for him. She told me, the school would accommodate him the privilege to be in the first grade in the afternoon after he finished with his K class for the reading class at the 1st grade.
We agreed.
2 weeks after, I got another call. The principal told me, she was thinking of moving him to the other smaller school (still under the same principal), because the class was smaller therefore he'd get more attention.

Sounds great??
Not really. Because he was advanced, he was bullied...3 years in a row. From K thru 2nd grade. Ended up in a kick by his previous 1st grade bully in the playground on the forehead, he got concussion. I emailed the principal, nothing got done. I was angry and furious. I was thinking of pulling him out, but where? I don't want my son as a punching bag. So bad that was, he mentioned suicide twice, at the age of 7.

Accidentally, my youngest got the lottery into Montessori program, the same year my son was in that 2nd grade. So through special sibling privilege (and also because the school was pressured by their board of ed. to open older children's class), my son got placement into the Montessori system. He entered Montessori as the 3rd year Lower Elementary Student (3rd grade). He's going to be in Montessori for 3 yrs this incoming fall, never been better. His DRA level is the highest in his mixed-aged class (the Upper Elementary contains of 4-5-6th grade students), which is 50+

On the other hand, my youngest, never showed interest to read like my oldest. But she is always more of the artist. She draws, being overly creative *roll eyes sometimes*, but no reading at all. Oh well, I just let her be. She was 3, no interest...4..still no interests.
I just believe her own pace...altho frankly, I was tad a bit worry. She was born in April 2006.
She was 4 1/2 when she showed her interests in sight words and suddenly she started to write her own name in cursive (for you who familiar with Montessori, you know how and what I mean). This past February parents-teacher conference for her K class, the teacher told me, she started to read fluently. At that point, her DRA was 2, which was normal for half year K, but it would be expected to at least reach the 10 or 12 by April, which is the requirement to enter 1st grade in Connecticut, if she was proven of not having learning disability.

To my surprise, after the April assessment and during the parents-teacher conference in mid-May, the teacher told me her DRA is actually past 18 (mid to the end of 1st grade level), but she had to stop her testing, because when she past the DRA 22, that's the requirement to enter 2nd grade and she just turned 6. The teacher was surprised herself that my girl suddenly picked up the reading pace and reading like there is no tomorrow. Throw in she loves to write stories and apply drawings to the stories she make, seems so priceless. Her writing is not necessarily perfect, but she really puts efforts in them.

Basically, the moral of the story, just believe in your child. They are different one another, even if they are siblings. I agree...DON'T PUSH. You'd want to make going to school a pleasant experience, not something your child should be afraid of. Reading to them helps. If they see you loving books and enjoy books, they will be interested in books as well.
Based on my experiences with my children, I took the Montessori teacher training to find out what's different about the method to teach children how to read. Finished with the training, I found out the method was right on the point. It's your child's own pace. When he/ she is ready, then ....expect the surprise.

Samantha - posted on 07/22/2012




Its quite common for kids under the age of 7 to not want to read, some kids even take longer. The scandinavian countries with the highest international academic outcomes actually don't start schoolin until then for this reason.
I would do some sight words with him, put up pictures of him and your family members with their names under neath and of other things he likes. Read to him as much as you can. If he doesn't want to read a book himself, you can teach him the odd word or two and ask him to go through the book with you and point out any words he knows. Reading games are just as useful at this stage, as reading actual books. Its a whole process that actually comes together when your child is ready. Let them see you reading for pleasure also. If you only ever turn on the tv or your computer for pleasureable entertainment, then they don't understand why they should read. I recently started making more time to read for myself again, i had forgotten how much i loved it, and it peaked my kids interest, because they wanted to know why I wanted to spend time with all those pages in front of me. You can also use flash cards and matching games etc to build up his vocabulary base, and all this will help him to read when he is ready.

Pamela - posted on 07/19/2012




Have you tried any of the reading programs that are on CDs and play on the TV? There are also a number of computer programs which have redaing games and classes.

I am old fashioned and always read stories to my children at night from when they were toddlers. I always read sitting between them so they could see the pictures in the books and I always read with great expression and often gave each character a different voice for more fun. But I will admit that I have been in the performing arts so it was easy for me to read with different voices for the different characters in the stories. I found, however, that kids love own and the children that used to come to the book store where I did "story hours".

There are many ways to get your child interested in reading. What kind of toys does he prefer? Trucks? Action figures? Find books at the library about those things that interest him. Take him to the library and introduce him to the children's section and see if he finds something he likes. Make a game of it. '(Son's name) ....let's see if you can find a book you'd like to read in 5 minutes"....etc. there are a lot of ways to introduce reading as "FUN".

Hope fully you haven't already nagged him about it. If so, back off. Most Kindergarten children cannot read. Most are just learning words that are not used at home in their daily vocabulary.

ABOVE ALL ELSE.....DON'T PUSH!!! If you turn him totally off with your anxiety and concern it make take him much longer to come around!

Minna - posted on 07/17/2012




Okay, I have hundreds of books, have taken my kids to the library every week for years, read nap time and bed time stories every day throughout their childhoods, read everyday myself, made our own books, volunteered at the school library, and guess what? I was only 50% successful in teaching my kids the love of reading. They both can read, and do for school but one chooses not to for fun.

Oh well, my brother never read much for pleasure, and he's published a book[of course it's pretty technical and not exactly a best seller.]

I'm sure your child can learn to read, but he may never enjoy it much. It's much too early to tell. Don't give up-just try not to stress.

I know it's blasphemy, but some very bright people don't like to read for fun-as long as he can do school work, and I'm sure he'll catch up on that. He's only 6! I can't even believe that there'a a READING LEVEL at that age!

Hookedonwdw - posted on 07/16/2012





If you are not worried about any other issues, like dyslexia or adhd, then I would continue to read to him. Take trips to the library, listen to audio books in the car. Find his interests, which may or may not be fiction. My son really enjoyed nonfiction easy readers that taught him about animals, dinosaurs, etc. at that age. Best of luck.

Learning Ally
Parent Network

Christina - posted on 07/16/2012




Let him choose the books to read.
My son stopped reading on his own in 1st grade, so it may be partially the age, but now he reads,as long as I let him choose what to read. I give him a choice of a few books I approve him reading.
With both kids, I Make time to read to every day. Ten mins daily is all it takes. Once in awhiIe, have him read a page, then every other page. I found it difficult to not help too much when reading with both my own kids with the harder words. My daughter pointed that out to me (lol! ) She made me be more patient and wait until she asked for help,and then. I just say how each letter sounds. She is going into 1st grade and reads above her peers so I know being patient made the difference between her and my son.

User - posted on 07/15/2012




omg i have the same problem and where i have got really stressed and in the past some what given up, well thats the worst thing to do, my son is now 7 and has just started reading to me. i found that them righting their own books or comics helped. he then enjoys reading them back to me and explaining the story. hope this helps. :)

Jamey - posted on 07/13/2012




I wouldn't worry too much right now. They usually have programs at school to get kids up to speed. My daughter was behind all the other kids in 1st grade when it came to reading, now she is at the highest level and I can't get her to stop reading. Is he able to watch movies all the way through, or atleast tv shows? If not, it could be an attention thing. Not ADD necessarily, but some kids need more help learning to focus. The best advice I think I could give you is to have reading time EVERY night where you read to him. My daughter gets one chapter a night, two on really stressful days. Pick out books that he would like. White Fang and Where the Red Fern Grows were big ones in our house. The Indian in the Cupboard series most boys like,too. He just needs to see where books can take him. Reading at night is great, because it gets their brains ready to dream, it's quality time, and they don't just have to jump in bed and go to sleep. My daughter used to get up some mornings and couldn't wait to tell daddy about the dream she had about the place or characters in a book they were reading.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms