Reading and writing has always been a challenge for my son. Ever since I pulled him from public school, getting him to work at these subjects has been like pulling teeth.
I've shared some ways that we've used imagination to help motivate him. Here's one more. I created an alien character that could ONLY talk through writing....that could only speak or understand written communication. I drew him on a dry erase board so I could easily change his expression and what he wrote. My son loved it. He read with absolutely no tears, and I kept the writing at his level (or helped him.).
This year the struggle was writing. I could not get my child to free write...AT ALL. He'd do copywork or spelling words or worksheets, but did not want to write down any of his own thoughts. So, I brought back the alien, and encouraged him to ask him questions in writing, and respond to what the alien replied...and it worked. I'm actually really happy about that badly mis-spelled sentence above, because it's HIS words and HIS spelling that he did it by himself without help (...well, except for the word "why"--I did jump in on that a little. But generally, unless he asked for it I didn't interfere or correct.) This was so needed not only so he could practice sounding out unknown words and work out his own phrasing, but so that I'd have a record of how he was really doing that wasn't pre-corrected.
So, how do you motivate your child to read and write?
This post is linked up on various linky parties including the Preschool and Kindergarten Link-up (cause even though my son is past that age, we used this technique with him late in KG too).