If you are anything like us, you have burning questions that you want answered. That’s what the Ask the Expert series is all about – it’s a chance to get questions answered by local experts.

Today, we’re turning to our friends at Rivermont Collegiate to answer one of our questions about how to overcome obstacles to get our kids reading. This answer comes directly from Shalar Knupp, teacher/librarian at Rivermont.

And if you have a question you want answered, feel free to leave it in the comments or email it to us at [email protected] Your question may be answered in an upcoming post.


As parents we know that reading to our children is important to their readiness to learn, their success in school, and their likelihood of achieving a higher education. But in our busy lives, it might be more helpful to think about ways to tackle the obstacles to reading that our children may face.

The “I don’t see the point, he’s just a baby” obstacle.

For babies, the interaction and bonding time and the exposure to vocabulary are invaluable. In fact, up to a year old, just reading your own content appropriate books/magazines/etc. works just great. As they grow older, the routine of reading becomes just as important. If you are a “new parent-zombie who struggles to get enough sleep, try reading to your baby during feedings or other times when you have to be awake anyway.

The “My toddler would rather chew on books” obstacle.

As a librarian I felt like a failure when my toddler seemed so uninterested in all the awesome books I was trying to share with him. But I kept trying and my consistent effort finally paid off. He eventually stopped throwing the books and instead plopped down in my lap to read. So don’t give up! Even if your 2-year-old is distracted while you’re reading, keep on trying. His attention span will be brief, and that’s okay.

The “My third-grader says she hates reading” obstacle.

When your child says she doesn’t like to read the first thing to do is figure out why. It could be that she doesn’t like the required reading at school. If that’s the case, then find materials on topics that interest her. Reading may be a difficult process for your child. She may find it frustrating or anxiety-producing. If so, talk to her teacher or a librarian and get suggestions for “high interest-low reading level” books. Do what you can to take the pressure off.

The “My teenager has no time to read for fun” obstacle.

As an adult, I’m sure you can relate to this one. Teenagers have tons of reading to do for school. This is a time when we as parents can use the influence we thought was long gone, but actually isn’t, to model good reading habits. When your child sees you reading the paper, a stack of books at your bedside, or an e-reader while waiting at the DMV, it demonstrates the value you place on reading, despite your hectic schedule.

Encouraging our children to read, not just for necessity, but for fun as well, is important to their success. The obstacles we encounter along the way are opportunities to learn about what created those obstacles in the first place and what motivates our children to read. By overcoming obstacles to reading, we are helping our children become lifelong readers.


Disclosure: Thanks to the Rivermont Collegiate for sponsoring today’s post. We at QCMB love working with local schools to share positive information and make our community a better place to live, work and play.

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