Reading motivation is the key to unlock your child's desire to learn to read especially if s/he has been diagnosed with a learning disability.  Motivation is the fuel to get your child reading.

Here is a list of some people who may motivate your child. All of these people have a learning disability but chose to succeed in spite of their differences. Remember to tell them that even though they learn differently than their peers they are unique...not a freak.  We all have a special purpose.


Is it because some have earned a reward for a free pizza or even money?  Or is it because some kids just like to read? There could be several reasons why one child likes to read and another child will avoid it like the plague.

Kids learn differently.  Everyone has a learning preference or a learning style. This means we all have a way we take in information, process it, store it and then retrieve it.  If a child's learning style is not visual, than she may lack reading motivation.


If a child is learning disabled, then reading may be a chore for him. The longer he has struggled learning to read, the more frustrated he has become year after year. Even if there is a reward, his reading motivation will be nonexistent because of his past frustrations.

A non-reading parent or parents can keep a child from being motivated to read.  Even if the teacher is dangling pizza coupons in front of her, Sally may have low reading motivation because she doesn't think it is necessary or important.

If Sally doesn't see her parents reading but they told her she needed to, then their words aren't going to make much of an impact.  More than likely her parents don't read much because either

1)one or both of Sally's parents had a reading problem OR

2) Sally's parents don't make time for reading to her or time to read themselves.


A student whose first language is not English, ESL/ELL learner, may not be motivated to read because the process is still to time consuming and difficult for her.  If her parents do not speak any English, there would be no help at home.  Therefore the only time she would get any reading help would be at school.

If a student lacks background knowledge, it would be difficult for her to read anything that would have much substance. Background knowledge is a huge key to the comprehension process.  If a child doesn't understand what they read, it won't be long before they don't want to read. In fact, he will probably lose any motivation he had to want to learn to read.

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Have you heard your child say "But I Hate to Read?" When parents ask me about reading motivation, I tell them that we need to TEACH kids to want to read.

How do you teach someone to do something they don't want to do? EASY.  You tell them what benefits they will derive from reading or give them an example of a successful person they might relate to.

Without being able to read, they won't get a very well paying job.  If they can't read and they don't have a very good job, they won't be able to buy things they want like stereos, a nice car or even designer jeans.

Read Sam's Story

Finding a book or a magazine about a topic of interest will be the first step to curing the "reading boredom blues."

A magazine like Sports Illustrated for Kids is a good start.

You can get 12 Issues (1 Year) of Sports Illustrated Kids for less than $3/issue if you watch for specials.  This is such a good investment.  At first he may only look at the pictures, but soon his curiosity will get the better of him and he WILL want to read the articles.


One of the best ways to motivate a child to read is to lock into her interests.  For instance does she like to dance?  Then read a book about a famous dancer.  This can be a picture book or a biography. Just make sure it is on her comprehension level.  A child can comprehend about 3 grades above their grade level.

Another way to help motivate kids to read is to tell them a little about the author.  When a child knows about some struggles that an author has had, then she can relate to the author as a live person not just someone who wrote some words on a page. To find out about some of the most loved children's authors visit Publisher's Weekly.

If your son like planes, then tap into his interests with Aviation for Kids.   This site has lots of projects that have to do with flight, aerodynamics and robots.  Aviation for Kids is the perfect fit for the struggling learner, or a child with a reading or learning disability.  George says this about his site:

"The content of AVIATION FOR KIDS can be used in different ways. Parents and teachers can get some ideas for easy and fun science projects based on aviation technology. You will find here short descriptions of different notions and theories as well as links to other resources for those interested to learn more about different topics. Also, I included many suggestions about how different fields of knowledge can be integrated in one project."

Who knows--your child may be so interested in learning about flight that s/he will choose a career in aviation.  

Read stories about students who have succeeded in learning to read.  Read books by authors who struggled with reading or had a learning disability.

Here are a couple of authors:

  • Patricia Polacco is a successful author of children's books. She didn't learn to read until she was in the 5th grade because of a learning problem.

  • Henry Winkler is another successful author who has dyslexia. He is also a successful TV actor who was known as "The Fonz" on the TV show Happy Days which aired in the 1980's.

The above individuals are just a few of hundreds of successful people who had a learning or reading disability that went on to be successful at something they liked doing.

James Durbin, was the 4th runner up from the 2011 season of American Idol.  If your child is musically inclined, have them watch James performing "I'll Be There For You".  James is an inspiration to all young people who struggle with a learning disability. 

Are you an adult that has always had problems reading?  Did you drop out of school before receiving a high school diploma?  You are NEVER to old to achieve your goal--even if it is a diploma.

Tom Goudie was 57 years old when he found out he had a learning disability.  Once he knew what had caused his learning problems he was determined to obtain his high school diploma.  Read his story and let it encourage you.

Cliff Young, an Australian, stunned the world of running in 1983.  He ran 875 kilometers (about 545 miles) in less than 6 days, breaking the record by 2 days.  Having never run an ultra-marathon in his life, Cliff beat 10 other top athletes.  Cliff was 61 years old and ran the race without sleeping.

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