Encouraging Kids to Read

A number of newspapers and journals from the New York Times to Business Insider to CBS have reported on the decreasing frequency at which children and students read books. Other media options such as movies and television provide much more flash and entertainment, but books aren’t exactly about to become outdated.

Part of the challenge is just in reintroducing kids to reading and showing them how great it can be. Many of them have gotten a bad taste of it from school where they are required to read things that they hate and are penalized if they don’t pay attention. They associate reading with laborious and tedious work. Fortunately, you can help them to learn the value of books in a number of ways.


Don’t Think Easy, Think Fun
Often times, when people start trying to get kids to read, they think about how easy the book is to read. This is a mistake. A book can be very easy to read, but if it is not exciting, then it might as well be written in Greek. Instead, look for whether the book is engaging and fun. It needs to be about a topic that kids will enjoy. Don’t assume that it has to be new either. Old books like Treasure Island and other popular classic novels may be a good choice. If possible, match it to the child’s interests.


Have a Film Reward
This year, sequels to the Hunger Games and Percy Jackson will be coming out in theaters. If your kids have not read these books yet, have them read the books and make the movie a reward. Make it up into a fun event with pizza or ice cream afterward. Over the pizza or ice cream, discuss how the movie and the books differed. Your kids will probably have some surprising insights. Just make sure that you take the time to read it as well.

Talk About It and Have Fun
Kids don’t like being tested or given pop quizzes. But when they enjoy a story, they love sharing about it. They also want to know that you are proud of them. To accomplish this, you will need to make sure that you read the book. This way you can carry on an intelligent conversation. Also make sure that you allow your kids to form their own opinions about the characters and the events. You might think that they should identify with certain characters or have particular opinions, but part of the point of reading is for your kids to learn how to develop thoughts on their own.


Give Them the Freedom to Choose
Sometimes the best way to make sure that your kids read is to give them the choice in books. It’s not a dangerous choice, and it gives them the freedom that so many kids crave. You need to make sure that you explain why you are giving them the choice and what you expect from them. Make sure to incorporate fun and not “this is what you have to do.” Also don’t discourage your child if he wants to read a book that you might think is too challenging. Let him try it. He may surprise you both.

Read in Front of Your Kids
One of the best ways to demonstrate that reading is fun is to make sure that your kids see you reading. If they never see you reading, then they’re likely to think that reading is just one of those things that they can get by without. You don’t have to make a big scene of it. Just let them see that you do enjoy reading your own books. If they ask you questions about it, make sure that you engage them and discuss why you enjoy it.