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5 Ways to Encourage a Reluctant Reader

Is reading not your child’s favorite subject? Here are some ways you can encourage a reluctant reader!

5 Ways to Encourage a Reluctant Reader



1. Let him choose his own books.

Your child will be much more likely to be interested in a book if it’s about something he’s truly interested in.  There is no rule that says a homeschooled child must stick with his reading curriculum.  As long as he’s reading something (and it’s not too easy), you are reaching the goal!

2. Read together.

Sometimes having mom there to read along makes things a lot more fun.  Take a turn reading portions aloud to your child.  Use good voice inflection so your child can see that what he is reading is really an interesting story rather than just a bunch of words on a page!  Once he realizes the places his imagination will take him, he will look forward to traveling to those places through the written word.

3. Use technology

Encourage a Reluctant Reader with Kindle and the Free Time app!

Every child wants to have a turn using the iPhone, the Kindle, or the tablet.  There’s just something that draws a child to these devices.  Leverage your child’s interest by allowing him to do his reading on an electronic device.  Your child will be happy about getting some screen time, and you’ll be happy that he’s getting some reading time!

We were recently given the opportunity to try out a new feature for Kindles called Kindle Free Time.

You pay monthly for a subscription and set up a profile for your child(ren).  They can download age-appropriate books and read them on a Kindle device.  As they read, the Free Time app tracks how long they’ve read, how many books they’ve finished, or how many words they’ve looked up and they can earn various badges depending on what they’ve completed.  My son has spent a lot of extra time reading since we’ve had the Free Time app.

Encouraging a Reluctant Reader with the Kindle Free Time app

I love having a plain jane Kindle for him to use the app too because there is nothing else to tempt him and get him distracted.  (I already found that he had typed in “yoo toob” (YouTube) into the search bar!  Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about him having access to it!)

Some other cool stuff kids can do with a Kindle and the Free Time app:

  • Look up definitions as they read to build their vocabulary and increase the font size for easier reading.
  • Use features like Vocabulary Builder – which stores words that kids look up and allows them to quiz themselves with flash cards – or Word Wise, which provides short and simple definitions above difficult words as they’re reading along.
  • Read thousands of books for free, including classics like Treasure Island and eBooks from their local library
  • Easily take their books with them without loading up a heavy backpack, helping to increase the amount of books they read – when one book finishes, they can start the next one right away!


4. Model good reading habits

Why would a child think reading is fun if he never sees mom and dad doing it?  Show him that reading is interesting by spending time reading yourself.

5. Build reading into other activities

I love doing this in our homeschool.  I’ll use a subject that my son is really good at or that he enjoys and build reading into it.  For example, he loves History, so I’ll allow him to work extra on history class because he has to read the book to find out what happens!


Do you have a reluctant reader?  Which of these ideas do you think will encourage him/her the most?


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Saving for a Sunny Day

Why You Should Save for a Sunny Day (Not just the Rainy Ones!)

As I look out my window this rainy morning, I see something that reminds me of another “rainy day” back in the winter.



I see the brand new HVAC system that we had to purchase unexpectedly.

While my husband and I didn’t exactly enjoy forking over a big bundle of money, we were so glad we had saved for a rainy day.  We make it a priority to keep an emergency fund fully stocked so that when something unforeseen comes up we don’t have to put a bunch of debt onto a credit card or scramble around trying to come up with enough money.

Cars will break down.  Your child will lose his glasses…again.  The basement will flood.

These things are just part of life, so it’s best to just accept that fact and prepare for them financially so that you’re not caught off guard when they happen.

Saving for a rainy day is an important aspect of good financial stewardship.


But what about the sunny days?

What about that time you want to go on that family vacation and make sweet memories with your kids?

That time you want to surprise your family with a trampoline or a swimming pool?


For most of us, money for those things isn’t in the household budget.

If we’re going to do those things, we have to get busy setting aside some “sunny day money”.


I can remember the first year my husband and I were married.  There was just enough money to pay for our tiny house and buy a few groceries.  I taught a few piano students at home, but that money went toward our household needs.  But I wanted to do something fun, and there was no money to do it.

I got this crazy idea that for our first anniversary I wanted to surprise my husband and whisk him away for a weekend to the same place we went on our honeymoon.  But it was pricey.  And I had no money.

So I began to search diligently for every spare cent. I needed about $500, I think, to pay for a night at the cottage and to make up for the money my husband would lose by missing work.  (I even called his boss and secretly requested time off for him!  That’s true love for this majorly shy girl!)

To earn the money I began taking online surveys, most of which only paid a dollar or two.  But I saved them all.  I also put aside any spare change that was left over after grocery shopping.  If I found a coin on the ground, it went into my little “sunny day stash”.

As our anniversary approached, I knew I was going to make it.  I called and reserved the cottage for our anniversary night.  I was so excited about my little secret.

Somehow, my husband had a hunch that something was up.  He began to press me for information, which of course I didn’t want to tell.  I had worked so hard to plan this surprise.  Why was he trying to ruin it?  He continued to press harder and harder and I began to cry.  I was so upset that this surprise I’d planned all year long was about to be found out.  He finally said, “I need to know.  I think we’re planning the same thing.”

I confirmed that indeed, I was planning a night at our honeymoon cottage and he revealed to me that he’d been saving every spare cent for the same thing.  We each had enough saved for one night.  He knew that if he could find out whether I was planning the same thing he was, we could combine our money and go away for 2 nights instead!

So we did!  (I have no idea why we didn’t take a picture of the two of us.  I guess we weren’t skilled at selfies back then!)anniversary trip


We would never have been able to take that trip if we hadn’t saved so ruthlessly.  We could envision the memories we’d make and the great time we’d have together and it kept us motivated to keep saving.  Even when we could only put aside a dollar or two at a time and our goal seemed like an impossible dream, we kept going.


anniversary trip



Maybe you’ve saved for a rainy day because you know you need to be prepared for the inevitable.

But have you saved for a sunny day?  Even when there doesn’t seem to be much to set aside, if you can envision the goal you can stay motivated to keep working toward it.

  • The day you get the house note back with a “Paid in Full” stamp.
  • The day you drive your family around in a car that’s less than 10 years old.
  • The day you pull out of the driveway headed toward that beach vacation.


I don’t believe for a moment that our money should be used selfishly and that our focus should be on all the things we want.  But at the same time, making memories as a family is a priority and I’m willing to save towards some of the bigger memories.


At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day. Subscribe here

Want to get your sunny day started now? Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.


Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie. Kid approved!

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Little girl looking angry in the kitchen with mother in background

Guiding Children From Grouchy to Grateful

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