Kids who love to read, LOVE to read. In fact, they love to read so much that it can be pretty difficult getting them to put their books down. Sometimes you actually have to physically remove the book from their hands so they don’t run into walls. But, for parents and teachers of kids who don’t enjoy reading, it can be really tough getting them to pick up a book. Of course, they’ll willingly pick up their phones or iPads to text and tweet their friends all day long, but reading for educational purposes, or even pleasure, just isn’t happening as much as it should.
So, I’ve put together a list of some ideas to help you get your kids interested in reading. Bribing with candy isn’t one of them, although I’m not totally against it.
1. Read out loud to each other.
Take turns reading chapters to each other. It’s a fun way to assess the progress of your child’s reading skills and a really great way to spend time together. A long book won’t feel as overwhelming for a kid who has an interest in the story, but is put-off by the length of the book.
2. Create a small library in the car.
If your kids don’t get car-sick, supply some books of their choosing in the seat pockets. It’ll give them something to do on long rides, and will also give them something to look forward to in the car.
3. Reward them.
The reward possibilities are endless. But let’s say for every book (or 5 books—to make it a little harder to achieve), allow them to pick a fun activity to do together as a family.
4. Read the same book.
Family book club! It’s always more fun to read a book when you can talk about it with someone. So, let your child pick out a book for both of you to read. Then read it! Either together or on your own time, but make sure you find time to discuss it.
5. Family reading time.
Pick one night (or every night) out of the week when everyone is home. Light a fire, make some snacks, cuddle up under a blanket and read. Everyone can read their own book, but do it together and make it cozy.
6. Books as gifts.
Chances are, your kids don’t need 80 new toys for their birthday. Go to a bookstore and have them pick out books (or age-appropriate magazines) they’re interested in reading, and make a registry. Send it to family and friends. Some people will still buy toys and some people will buy books (which is good—your kids would probably be pretty mad if they ONLY got books).
7. Read books that are being turned into movies.
There are so many great books that have been made into movies. Once your child has finished the book, seeing the movie together is a fun reward. Especially if popcorn is involved.
8. Disconnect from technology.
Set a time when all technology must be turned off (for parents too). Give your kids options of things to do—they can clean their room, take the dog for a walk, take out the trash or sit down to read. Chances are they’ll read.
By Jill Layton
Writer, friend and passionate cookie eater