My oldest son really enjoys reading. And he’s a twelve-year-old boy. That’s pretty rare. I think there are reasons why he enjoys reading and scores high on reading tests. It’s because his parents have instilled a love of reading in him since birth.
How I Got My Kids to Read
When my boys were babies, I’d hold alphabet flashcards in front of them and tell them the letter names and the names of the pictures on them. I would take them to a class called babygarten at the library where the librarian would sing songs, say riddles, and read with the babies. Every three weeks since my boys were born, we’d go to the library to check out new books. I’d read these books, sometimes multiple times, each week just for fun and especially at bedtime. We’d come home with a huge stack of books to read and we’d read every one by the time we would have to return them. Now, when I visit the library with my older boys, they still bring home stacks of books to read each time we visit. My oldest loves fantasy. My youngest loves book series for elementary kids. I also treat my kids to new books. Whenever they get a Scholastic order form, I let them order a book. When the book fair is happening at school, we visit and I buy each boy a book. Now, we read chapter books after dinner each night. The kids also watch me read magazines and books. We talk about what we are reading and talk about what to believe and what not to believe. And all of this works! My boys like to sit quietly, snuggle up, and read a good book.
More Ideas for Getting Your Kids to Read
If you’re having trouble getting your older children to read, I have a few suggestions:
- Let your child stay up 30 minutes longer if they read
- Make a book nook in their bedroom with a comfy chair and a book shelf of possibilities
- Make sure they are interested in what they are reading. If they get 30 pages in and it hasn’t hooked them, pick another book
- Have a dedicated family reading time each day
- Read aloud to your kids even if they’re older
- Read a variety of literature: books, magazines, newspapers, websites, museum displays, etc.
- Visit the library once a month at least
- Try audio books
- Go to author visits or book signings
- Read the book first, then watch the movie together with popcorn
- Participate in the library’s summer reading program
- When kids have a question, look up articles to find the answers
In a previous blog post on screen time, I also suggested giving kids extra screen time if they read for an hour (#13!). That works really well.
Reading is important for kids. It helps them build their brains. It teaches them facts, empathy, vocabulary, and grammar. It relaxes them and helps alleviate stress. It’s important. And I guess I could be biased because I’m an English teacher, but I think most people would agree with me.
Have any more ideas for how to get your kids to read? Comment below! I’d love to hear them and try them out!