But I Don’t Want to Read!

How to Erase the Excuses and Excite Your Young Learner about Reading


“I’m tired of reading.”

Have you ever heard this?

How about either of these:

“I don’t want to read that.”

“I’d rather play my video games.”


Well, fear not! As a teacher, I’ve heard these statements – and so much more! – more times than I can count. But today we’re going to dive into some ways to say no to reading-excuses and yes to reading-excitement!

Here are some innovative ways you can integrate reading into your child’s life, while still keeping them engaged and entertained. (And maybe even prove to them once and for all, that reading is pretty awesome!)

The key word in all of these is: collaborate. Collaboration implies both parties will work together, finding a solution that serves them both. Collaborate and work with your child to ensure reading time isn’t something to dread – for either of you – but something to enjoy! 😊

Below I’ve listed three of my most-heard excuses, followed by quick, easy suggestions you can integrate to nip those excuses in the bud! These are meant to be easily worked in and accessible – hopefully providing you with quick-solve options and your child with more enjoyable reading experiences.


Excuse —>I don’t want to read. You read it to me.” (A child refuses to read stories himself. He only wants to be read to.)

Suggestion —> Next time your munchkin tries to guilt you into doing all the heavy lifting, make a deal with them. If they read their own story, you’ll read them a story. If you want to butter up this offer further, you can tell them they even get to choose the book you’ll be reading to them. Or that however many books of their own they read, you’ll read the same amount to them.

If you’re child is venturing into chapter books (either on their own or with your guidance), you can mind your time with this strategy by agreeing to chapters instead of full books. (Ex. “You read one book to yourself, and I’ll read you one chapter of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’”)

Not only will this ensure your child is getting his own independent reading time and practice in, it’ll still give you both bonding time over the story you’re reading together. And, more minutes engaged with books all around. It’s a win-win! 😊

Excuse —> “I don’t want to read that.” (A child consistently refuses – or is uninterested – in reading their assigned or required reading book(s).)

Suggestion —> To help combat this, I’d recommend telling your child she can choose two books. One can be any book she wants, but the other either needs to be the correct reading level (her choice) or the correct reading level (your choice). (If there is an actual assigned text or book, that can be used as the second reading instead of a “correct reading level” book.) That way your kiddo will be able to engage with books she’s interested in, while still building literacy skills at a level that’s appropriate for her.


One great way to integrate this is to think about fiction and nonfiction options. In general, many boys prefer nonfiction books, and many girls prefer fiction books. (Remember – I’m generalizing here. This is definitely not true across the board, so be flexible with your learner’s needs and preferences!) But regardless what genre the child wants to read, there are going to be specific stories and genres that need to be studied as part of school, or as part of building literacy skills. If what your child is required to study doesn’t exactly match her preferences, support her learning by giving her the option to read an additional related book, as well.

So, for example, let’s say your child is studying fairytales in school. But he hates fairytales and loves nonfiction. Have him pick some aspect of the fairytale that he does like and look for new angles to target that. If he says he really likes unicorns because they remind him of horses, consider going the library and checking out a nonfiction book on horses. This way, your child can still partake in the studying and reading necessary for school but can also enjoy a book of his own choosing, and even build up awareness and knowledge as to how the two styles are similar and/or different.

We all like having choices! Don’t be afraid to give your child some, and then support them with their choices. Having options and flexibility will allow you both to enjoy reading time!

Excuse —> “I just want to keep playing my video game.” (A child remains impossible to pull away from video games or computers for reading time.)

Suggestion —> Oh, screens. Screens, screens, everywhere, but not a drop to… Well that doesn’t really work, but you know what I mean. Screens are everywhere in today’s uber-digital world. And we definitely don’t want to hinder our kids from learning safe, beneficial, and productive ways to engage with technology.

But we also want to ensure they’re getting plenty of time away from screens, too. Making sure there is a healthy balance between screen time and non-screen time will help them create and build healthy lifestyle choices and foster those choices as they grow. So – the screens. How do we deal with them? Basically, we use them. We make them our friends.

If your child loves her screen time, go ahead – allow her to “watch” one of her stories. The flip side? For every story she watches, she also has to read one with her own eyes. (If you want, you can have her read one first; and then celebrate her reader diligence by letting her watch her choice of story afterwards.) This way, she gets to watch a story, but she’s also encouraged to read a story. That’s the deal! And you both gain from it. (It also amounts to double the literacy time, which is a nice bonus. 😊)


Here are a few great websites where children can watch and listen to stories:




I hope these suggestions and strategies help make reading time a little less struggle and a lot more fun! But if you have any nagging excuses or hiccups that are constantly plaguing your child’s reading or writing time, please feel free to hit me up at jennifernicely@jennifernicely.com. I’m always happy to dig in and see what resources and ideas I can come up with! 😊

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