I did everything right, but my child hates reading

(14 Posts)
brynsmum Thu 04-Dec-14 01:05:39

My son is very articulate, with a vocabulary beyond his years. But he dislikes reading and writing, and his spelling is atrocious. He's 11, and we've been struggling with this for seven years now. Help!

OP’s posts: |
BlueChampagne Thu 04-Dec-14 13:33:30

I hope you haven't been struggling on your own; has this been discussed with school?

NannyNim Thu 04-Dec-14 14:05:22

My sister was similar until just before she started secondary school. She wanted to buy a book from the school bookfair like her friends although I'm not sure she'd ever read more than her home readers and that was only because she had to! She picked a historical fiction book that no one thought would interest her but she LOVED it and spent the entire summer at the library devouring book after book. It just suddenly "clicked" for her. She simply had to find a book that really appealed to her.

My brother also loves reading but his spelling and handwriting are both appalling (he's 25!)

There's no point in making a big issue out of reading as it will make it a chore rather than something to be done for fun. Encourage hin to read as wide a variety of things as you can in the hope that he'll find that one thing it takes to get him interested. Get the school on board if you can and see if they can mix up his hone readers so he can read both fiction and non-fiction.

Have you also looked into dyslexia? If he's bright and articulate but struggles with writing and spelling there could that he has a genuine undiagnosed difficulty with it.

VenusRising Thu 04-Dec-14 14:09:20

Have his eyes checked, and if everything is OK, have him assessed.

Poor spellings and poor handwriting and a lack of interest signal something is wrong to me.

How is his maths?

Speak to the school and make sure they have him assessed.

uggmum Thu 04-Dec-14 14:10:27

My ds doesn't like reading. We are all avid readers but he hasn't got a passion for it.
He struggled to read for many years. It was then established that he has an eye condition. He has double vision when reading. His actual vision is perfect. But when focusing on reading his eyeballs cross each other causing double vision.
He has got used to it now. But initially it gave him a headache as he had to concentrate so much.
His handwriting is also messy.

ArthurShappey Thu 04-Dec-14 14:10:40

My brother was similar. His spelling is still dodgy as an adult but vastly improved. He now reads constantly.

Some people just don't enjoy it.

Having said that have you let him explore different types of literature? Will he read magazines, comics or graphic novels? It's all reading so if you can get him into something he enjoys he might start there and move on.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 04-Dec-14 14:11:05

I was going to mention having eyes checked by an opthomologist/optometrist. (SP?)


MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Thu 04-Dec-14 14:19:27

Back when I was a secondary school English teacher I used to get very reluctant readers to read tabloid newspapers - morally dubious maybe but they could pick some trash that appealed to them and read one article each day and report back on it in class. This was something they would actually do. Gender stereotypes held true in that a lot of boys felt comfortable with/ engaged by the sports pages.

It depends how extreme the problem is though - if you're just sad he doesn't devour novels the way you do he may not need an "any reading is a breakthrough" approach - the tabloid article per day was good to engage disaffected KS4 bottom sets though.

differentkindofpenguin Mon 08-Dec-14 13:50:57

How about comic books? They still count as reading, and boys tend to love them! My DH has read one book in his entire adult life, but has always been into comics/ graphic novels, his spelling is impeccable.

Some people are just not into reading (as much as I dont't get it personally!)

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Dec-14 14:12:02

Dd 10 is not to fussed either and but her older brother devours books. We treated them both the same. With dd I think she struggles to concentrate for long periods of time and she definitely does better with short stories.

We have also bought her a kindle and I have notice that when she reads that she reads with very large print. We have had her eyes tested and there was nothing wrong but I think she is put off by a page crammed with tiny print. She reads more on the kindle than she ever did with paper books.

Footlight Mon 08-Dec-14 14:23:52

Does he hate reading everything?

My ds (9) hates reading anything given to him by school, but loves cartoons, and encyclopaedia type books.

I've stuck to my guns with school in that I have refused to make him read anything he didn't want to read, but have encouraged him to read the things he is more tolerant of. I couldn't think of anything more soul destroying and off putting than being forced to read so I just wouldn't do it.

He now has a reading age of 14 yr old, his spelling is pretty good and he also now enjoys trying to read the papers (observer, guardian etc). Still won't read a chapter book though.

PenelopePitstops Mon 08-Dec-14 14:25:19

Saying you did everything right and that you can have been struggling for 7 years is a bit odd. What does he enjoy reading? Give him lots of that! Magazines, online blogs, papers.

notgivenupyet Mon 08-Dec-14 14:37:03

This sounds very much like dyslexia to me. Have you had him assessed? Schools round here don't test for it anymore, so we had our son assessed by a private Educational Psychologist. My son listens to audio books and LOVES them! You can get almost anything as an audio these days. One Ed Phyc we saw described reading and writing as difficult for him as reading and writing in French was for me, it gave me empathy, no way would I chose to pick up a book and painstakingly translate the text to make it make sense if I didn't have to. That would nit be a pleasure for me and if your son has dyslexic problems reading can be like translation, long and laborious, a process of decoding that takes effort and joy from the plot of any story you might be attempting. Same for writing, my son only the other day says he condenses sentences to the shortest possible, substituting the words he has in his head for the ones he can spell to make writing as easy for himself because he finds I so hard.

Chandon Mon 08-Dec-14 14:41:24

sounds within what's normal for 11 year old boys.

My 12 yr old boy has never been that keen on reading, and hates writing. this affects all his school work obis!

Some advice on what works for us:

We get non-fiction books like "How Stuff Works", books about inventions, about cars (there is a great Richard Hammond book on cars and how they work). Basically books that fit in with his interests.

Also, I read with him every day for 30 minutes. We are reading a spy novel, he enjoys the story, he reads one page out loud, then I the next, etc. We read maybe 25 pages or so. It is fun for him like this, and I prefer this to getting a tutor/stress

good luck

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