How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
I don’t think there’s really such a thing as a non-reader. Whenever I encounter someone who doesn’t like to read, it’s because they have had classics shoved down their throat during school, or because these classics aren’t accessibly written (understandable, given their age). They have to disassociate reading from that, and learn that there are good, interesting, and amazing books out there.
Requiring them to read is a terrible, terrible idea–it just reminds them of school and whatever classic made them hate reading. My mother once required me to read Silas Marner before I could dig into Good Omens. To this day, I remember nothing about Silas Marner, but Good Omens is one of my favorite books. Suggestions and books as gifts are much, much better. A suggestion can lead to a conversation to help the child find a book they’ll like, and everybody likes gifts. If a child hates reading, requiring it will only make them hate it more.
I do have to say, I don’t have much experience with non-readers. Even friends who aren’t as voracious as I am have their favorite books, and I’ve always found myself in spaces dominated by women who read. My mother and I even have books in mind for my brother’s future children. There is little to no chance that a child in my family will hate reading.