5 Ways to help Kids Who Can’t Focus to Read

You may be feeling concerned or frustrated because you or your child’s teacher feels that your child can’t focus to read during independent reading. If you’ve ruled out other issues, you can try different strategies that may help with a focusing issue. You may try a few strategies until one works for you. There are also ways to determine if your child is a reluctant reader and many suggestions to help if that is the reason.





















Some Reasons a Child Can’t Focus to Read

There’re many reasons a child can’t focus to read. It could be a true attentional issue or other learning disability (you could have your child checked by a doctor), your child is not getting enough sleep, there are too many distractions for your child to read, your child is frustrated by reading because your child struggles to read, your child has not found the right book so is bored by reading, etc. And sometimes a child is so stuck on technology that they’ll actually be able to focus better reading an ebook on a technology device.

These are some strategies that can help regardless of the reason why your child can’t focus to read

  1. A quiet place for your child to concentrate or find a FUN reading spot that they can’t resist!
  2. Use a timer to time a break or to read or have them MOVE with a brain break!
  3. Headphones to block out distracting sound (or music may work better for some kids). But keep in mind that some children are the complete opposite and do well with some quiet background music.
  4. There are also games that can help build attention and concentration such as Uno, Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, etc.
  5. Have your child squeeze a stress ball. The recipe is below:
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Recipe for a Stress Ball for your child to squeeze if he/she becomes distracted:

What you need:
Water bottle

1. Mix 1 cup of water with 2 cups of cornstarch until gooey.
2. Pour the Oobleck mixture into the water bottle.
3. Attach the opening of the balloon to the top of the water bottle. Flip over and squeeze the contents into the balloon until full.
4. Taking care not to let any air bubbles get into the balloon, take the balloon off and tie it in a knot.
5. And then, take another balloon and cut the end off. Wrap this over the filled balloon to cover up the knot.

It’s a great idea to have a system in place for a kid who can´t focus to read. Your child will feel an accomplishment as he/she finishes tasks on the check-off chart, chalkboard, etc.  There could be a spot for “reading for 20 minutes” displayed on it.  And once some of the tasks were done, your child could have a snack, play a game, etc. It’s also a great idea to have your child sit with you to make up the system so that they feel part of it.  


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Keep trying different ideas! It’s possible that they need more motivation. Check out this post on reading practice ideas, you never know what may spark motivation and interest!  Please email me for this document at mrs.dehm@gmail.com:












Your child will want to show success in focusing to get his/her daily tasks completed as they took part in creating the system! It may take some time to get a system in place but once you have one in place, both you and your child will feel the thrill of success! And adding incentives to the success of the system always helps!  There are tons of reading ideas, challenges, and book suggestions on this website that can also be added to your incentives below. These are just some of the pages on this website that can help with other reading topics:

Please contact me below with any comments or questions – jean@reading-love.com or mrs.dehm@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!!!

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