What to Do When Your Child Wants to Read Books That are “Too Hard”

by Queenie on April 22, 2010

Image of QueenieIt pains me to see a child who so desperately wants to read but can’t. It’s like her world is so limited by her inability to read!  I can remember little Ms. Cara. She wanted to read so bad, and if you didn’t know her, you would have thought she knew how to read because she carried chapter books where ever she went.

I know you might be thinking this is exactly what my child does, and its so hard for you to tell them “baby that book is a little too hard for you.” Especially because you don’t want to crush their joy and excitement.

When your child does this I know exactly what’s happening for you, it feels like every five minutes she is asking you “what does this say.” At first its cute, but now its becoming annoying especially because you want so badly to give her what she is really asking for – and that’s the ability to read.

I spoke in a post about dazzling up your reading time with Reading Rush Week, but if your child is just learning how to read here is a quick way to get them reading.

Begin to write stories together, let your child tell you the story while you transcribe it on paper.

The story doesn’t have to be long but after you write the story down, get some printer paper, about 3 sheets, and fold them in half, find a stapler and staple the sides. Now write the story in the book and have your child illustrate the story.

I know you will be itching to change the grammar but right now the goal is to focus on reading, not conventions.

In five minutes your child has become an author and an illustrator and because it all came from her it has that much more meaning.

As she reads the story daily, more and more words become recognizable and as you she writes more and more stories her repertoire will enhance. You will instantly notice how your child’s ability to identify words in the world around them becomes more and more apparent. Try this for the next six weeks and watch your child reading level increase.

Queenie Lindsey is an academic coach and educational consultant. She is the founder of Tandem Teaching and Distinguished Learning Group, an academic coaching firm. Follow her on Twitter.


Pearl Mattenson April 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Wow- you are reminding me of when my 14yr old was little he not only did exactly what you are saying with respect to carrying difficult books around but he despearately wanted to write. I have documents on my ocmputer from when he was four years old punching consonants on teh key board for the words he wanted to write. This is from when he was 5 and he was SOOOO proud:


Melissa April 26, 2010 at 5:03 am

That is so special! I bet you’re so happy that you saved things like that! It goes really fast.