Getting Kids Reading 12 sure fire ways to get kids reading

Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports!

I started my blog after my oldest had a bad year in first grade. She was a reluctant reader who hated the performance aspect of reading out loud. My second child who is academic preferred less “sitty” past times than reading. She never stops moving so it’s hard to pin her down to read. My son much prefers screens to anything else in life so it’s a challenge to get him to exchange a book for a screen.

Over the years, I have tried EVERYTHING to get my kids to love reading. And that might be the key to eventual success. There is no magic bullet but effort counts. And now, I’m happy to report that my oldest (Grasshopper and Sensei), now  in 8th grade, is a voracious reader. By 3rd grade we had turned the corner enough so that she started posting on her favorite chapter books.

My middle daughter now a 6th grader, the rapscallion PickyKidPix, still needs to be reminded to read as often as she needs to be reminded to practice her flute (which is to say very often).  She continues to enjoy carefully screened award winning chapter books and  is very proud how well  her 3rd Grade Book List does on Google searches.

My son, though a serious gamer, is the only one who insists to the point of tears of nightly reading. Still, he prefers me to read to him so he can fool around on a screen. I have followed his interests that have traversed from dinosaurs (age 3), to Pokémom (age 4), to trucks (age 5), to funny books of all stripes (age 6),  to  graphic novels (age 7), to Rick Riordan (age 8), and now to action adventure chapter books at age 9.

I thought I would share some of the ideas that worked for me that I tried with my kids over the past 12 years. I think they will work for anyone because it’s not so much the idea but the act of trying,  trying and trying some more that gets them reading.

Get Kids Reading Strategies

1. Picture Books Work for Mixed Ages (Especially at Bedtime When Only One Parent is Available to Read)

Picture books, especially advanced picture books, work beautifully for read aloud bedtime stories especially when you have to keep three kids of different ages entertained at the same time.

I used Great Books for Boys and Great Books for Girls by Kathleen Odean to find wonderful picture books. It made searching for books at the library easy.  I also used recommended reading lists from our town library and the Boston Public Library to find wonderful picture books.

Our favorite picture books  from that era of reading 50 t0 60 picture books a week — I’d go to the library every two days or so —  are on this list: Best Picture Books You’ve Never Heard Of.

Best picture books you've never heard of

 

If you need more picture book ideas (because a list does make the trip to the library more efficient), here are a few of our favorites:

Classic Children’s Books Still Beloved Now

Favorite Picture Books from a Bookstore Owner

Top 10 Wordless Picture Books

If You Like This Picture Book, Try This Newly Published One

Best Bedtime Books to Read Aloud

Favorite Picture Books of 2011

Top 10 Advanced Picture Books with Meaning

 

2. Start a Book Club for Kids

My mom friend Jen suggested that I start a book club for my oldest when she was in first grade and a reluctant reader. I documented most of our book clubs — I ended up starting one for each child — here. All subsequent book club meetings are written up as posts here.

how to start a book club for kids

3. Graphic Novels Are My Secret Weapon

Graphic novels are my secret weapon for getting reluctant readers reading! The trick it to find the right ones. I am hopeful you find a graphic novel that will work for you from our year of reading graphic novels nearly exclusively. The books are listed below.

Graphic novels give the brain more of a workout per sentence than any other type of media, including conventional books. School Library Journal

ABCs of graphic novels

10 Great Graphic Novels for 3rd Grade

Graphic Novels from A to Z

Day 1ABCs of Graphic Novels, A-E

Day 2ABCs of Graphic Novels, F-J

Day 3ABCs of Graphic Novels, K-O

Day 4ABCs of Graphic Novels: P-T

Day 5ABCs of Graphic Novels: U-Z

graphic novels get kids reading

My son is reading on the car ride back from the library because he found a Ninjago graphic novel! Score!

4. Make Reading a Daily Habit For You and Your Kids

We reserved bedtime for daily reading and that works well though my kids teachers preferred reading time to be earlier when the kids are more awake. I’ve read many, many articles on the importance of modeling reading for your kids, so feel free to read your book too!

As for daily reading, try it in different formats: read aloud, shared reading, or books on tape. When reading was more of a chore, I would take the longer page with most of the text and give my child the page with the illustration or just a short paragraph.

How to get kid reading

Grasshopper and Sensei needed to be reminded to bring a book for her dentist appointment but it worked. She’s reading!

5. Meet Children’s Book Authors

Meeting children’s book authors makes kids want to read their books. If there are children’s book author events where you live, try attending an event! Author events are typically very entertaining and you can usually get your book signed for an added bonus.

I found that once my kids met an author and liked their presentation, they were more likely to read every book that person wrote.

To find events where I live, I subscribe to bookstore newsletters and google “author visit Boston”. I can usually find most of them this way.

meeting authors gets kids reading

PickyKidPix held her book club meeting at a Grace Lin author event but making it happen was a miracle!

6. Getting Your Child His or Her Own Library Card 

If your child can write his or her name, he or she can get a library card, and at that age, it’s particularly special! Why not? It makes the trip to the library more special!

going to the library gets kids reading

My son is getting his first library card. Here he is trying to make his name fit on the back of the card.

7. Visit the Library, Book Store or Tag Sales for a Steady Supply of New Books

Try visiting different libraries for a change of pace. When my kids were little, we used to go one town over to Watertown for their extensive DVD children’s movie library and their Scholastic easy readers that featured television shows that our local library did not carry. The Needham library which is one town over in a different direction had toys that my kids liked to play with.

8. eReaders and Book Apps Make Reading High Tech

Yes, it was my screen loving son who got me to read books to him on my iPhone while waiting in the car for his sister, or on an iPad in bed when I was too lazy to get his book in another room. But, I noticed that reading books on apps is a different experience; many apps make reading interactive with words that light up and float off the screen when touched. I think it helped my son learn to read!

PickyKidPix asked for a Kindle Paperwhite for her last birthday. Her teachers allow her to bring it to school when they had free reading time. The immediacy of downloading a desired book motivates her to start a new book. She’s a slow but careful reader so it might take her a month to read a chapter book (or more) so I found that I bought her more books than her siblings.

Free eBooks for Kids

9. Book Trailers Lure Kids Into Chapter Books

Book trailers are becoming standard marketing for book launches just like film trailers are used for movies. I’m glad because a short peek into a book really works to lure kids in.

Kids and librarians make book trailers here.

Scholastic has book trailers here.

Random House Kids has book trailers on their YouTube channel

Slime Kids has book trailers.

10. Peer Recommendations are Powerful 

The easiest way I get peer recommendations of kids is just to ask the kids I am driving around in my car what they are reading and what they think of it. My kids think this is weird but I get great recommendations this way.

When I read about a book tasting, I had a A HA moment! We just tried this as our first book club meeting and it worked beautifully.

Try holding a Book Tasting and/or Book Swap. It can be a play date, a book club for kids meeting, or something you volunteer to do at school in the classroom. Try suggesting it to your teacher!

getting kids to read

11. Magazine Subscriptions Are a Monthly Surprise

The magazines don’t necessarily even have to be new. Consider splitting a subscription with a group of families and sharing or find old children’s magazine issues at garage sales. My kids liked the National Geographic Kids magazine and it worked for a wide age range. Sports Illustrated for Kids is also very popular with boys!

12. Mix It Up with Different Genres

I am guilty of sticking to one genre but try mixing it up!

For poetry, you can’t go wrong with Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein. I found that all my kids love their poetry books so it’s a very easy sell.

Folk tales present themselves as picture books so why not spice things up? Find folk tales from a country or culture that you want to explore. What Do We Do All Day? has lots of wonderful book lists on folk tales by country.

Folktales
Celtic and Irish
India
Native (North) American
African
Latin American

Non Fiction is a great way to explore and deepen your child’s interest. To find the right book, follow their lead!

non fiction dewey decimal system

What ideas worked for you to get your kids reading? I’d love to add yours to this list! Thanks! 

Getting Kids Reading 12 sure fire ways to get kids reading

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

75 Comments

  1. Super post Mia, with great resource links!

    Hope this helps lots of kids – and parents – find just the “right” books to inspire a love of reading!

  2. This post makes me think that I didn’t try hard enough with my last 3 kids. My first 3 were avid readers (as are myself and my husband) and when people used to ask me how I get my kids to read, I used to look at them blankly. My last 3 however, are just not interested and now I wonder if I could have done more to get them interested or is it just a personality.
    Faigie recently posted…Gesture drawing for kids: Collaging the gestures and then some.. (art lessons 11& 12)My Profile

  3. Dee

    Great post, Mia. I especially agree about reading aloud to kids long after the “standard” age. Dylan is 11 (almost 12) and still loves for me to read to him. You have lots of good ideas here to explore. It’s obvious that Dylan is a lot like your son (and probably a lot like other boys!).
    Dee recently posted…We can rebuild him. He is the Six Billion Star Man.My Profile

  4. Great tips! Love the reading aloud tip. My parents read out loud to us through high school, and I loved it. Fantastic family time!
    maryanne recently posted…Teach Your Child About the WorldMy Profile

  5. Another great option is to turn on the captioning when kids are watching TV or DVDs, so they get practice reading. For more info, check out the Captions for Literacy site.

  6. This is a great post. I am working on my own post on teaching kids to read early and will link to yours! I suppose some kids are just born bookworms, and this is mine. She does love other things including screens, but from early days she used reading to calm down and relax. It’s an effortless and enjoyable activity to her, and I feel very thankful for that.
    Natalie recently posted…Cooking With Children: Lomo SaltadoMy Profile

  7. Thank you for sharing these great tips! One day my children will learn how to read on their own. Right now I read to them everyday. We love books 🙂
    Galina / Trilingualchildren recently posted…Planting a language tree. Does passive language learning work?My Profile

  8. What an absolutely amazing post! Pinning now! My 2nd grader is becoming a reluctant reader and I’ve found that, even if he can read the text, the longer length in text is beginning to bother him. We need to invest in some graphic novels. Thank you for sharing at the After School Link Up!
    Becky recently posted…Hugs and Kisses from Dad and MomMy Profile

  9. This post is packed with great info! I’m featuring this tomorrow on my blog at the After School Linky. Stop by to check it out and share more of your great ideas, activities, and blog posts while you’re there!
    Deceptively Educational recently posted…Multiplication AREA Dice Roll GameMy Profile

  10. Fantastic list! I love the variety.

    Everybody peaks at their own time. Maybe just consistent encouragement – trying to find books that interest them. Once you find the right combo – and they are ready, it works.

    Thanks for the awesome post!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…The Importance of STEMMy Profile

  11. As a mom you loves to read and tries my best to pass that love on to my Kiddies these are some rally great tips! A few I have tried and a few are new and will definitely be on my To Do List… thanks so much for sharing them with us over at The Mommy Monday Blog Hop.

  12. Hi Mia,

    All the ways you describe to get kids reading help to motivate young readers. These are extrinsic motivators, and yes, they do work.

    I have been an inner-city elementary school teacher in the NYCDOE for 34 years who has developed original programs in reading, writing, thinking, poetry, creativity, emotional intelligence, and vocabulary expansion with extreme positive success. My approach deals with intrinsic or an inner motivation to read. The research shows that intrinsic is more effective than extrinsic motivation in the area of reading.

    When I created and developed my reading projects, such as “Reading-and-Imagining” and “Word-Bridges,” I did not go to the research studies before I implemented them in my classroom (grades 2 – 6). The students’ ability levels ranged from below-average to gifted; there were struggling and reluctant readers, as well as “good” readers who did not like to read.

    I was interested in an “internal education” and the kids’ “inner experiences” in reading, writing, thinking, and poetry (reading and writing). When children developed an “inside feel” for reading through their visual, cognitive, and affective processes, they learned “how to respond to literature” and created a self-motivation to read, to read in their leisure-time, and hopefully, to become lifelong readers and learners.

    I think that the idea behind the “12 ways” is the belief that these extrinsic activities will work on the self- or intrinsic/inner motivation to read. You’re working from the outside-in, and I worked from the inside-out, because I felt, and found, that this worked best with the population in my school.

    I spent many years making things up, experimenting with original, progressive, and innovative ideas because the “stuff” in teachers’ manuals and teaching guides were traditional to the point where I was losing my kids. After reading through the various teaching guides, I believed that I could do the same thing on my own, and possibly come up with something better.

    Many of the learning processes, including the skills for learning how to learn, depend on internal skills I taught in the classroom, for example, visualization, reflection, thinking, feeling, creative and critical thinking, creativity, concentration, and contemplation.

    And yes, I’m leaving the motivation up to the kids in that sense, because I wanted them to get an “inside feel” for reading which comes from their energy, effort, and enthusiasm. In the end, you can lead a horse to water, but you…

    I am a regular blogger on the BAM Radio Network (www.bamradionetwork.com, the BAM Street Journal), where you can find several blog-post-articles on reading, for instance, in connection with what I have been describing, there is: “Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation: Which is the real deal?” Also, if you want to get kids “into” and motivated by words, you can try the post, “Imaginary Word Problems.”

    With warm regards,

    Jeffrey Pflaum

  13. This is an excellent list of suggestions–you’ve got great variety here.

    Something that we’ve enjoyed in our family was reading aloud together, even as the kids got older. My 16-year-old doesn’t read much for pleasure, but last year we read A Tale of Two Cities together aloud–it was a great experience! And we don’t do just classics–we also did Joseph Bruchac’s Wolf Mark (YA fantasy–the protagonist, who happens to be of Abenaki heritage, has special powers) together.
    Asakiyume recently posted…The art museums’ wagerMy Profile

  14. This is a really well written and informative post! Thanks for all of the resources. I will bookmark this and go to some recommended sites when I have more time.

    One of the best tips I can give for helping a reading child to read more often, and aloud, is to have them read to you while you are cooking dinner or while you are driving. Honestly, it’s a great way to connect with your child. If you make it a habit, then they really start to look forward to it.
    Mindi recently posted…Talk to me, kid!My Profile

  15. Fantastic post! I love how up-front you are about the struggles you had when your kids were younger. I have seen many of the techniques you mention in action and they DO WORK!
    Katie recently posted…GUEST POST: 4 Books to Guide Teens Into Adult FictionMy Profile

    • Hi Katie,
      I don’t think most of the teachers who taught my kids would have realized that my kids all struggled with reading because by the time they did the standardized tests, they did fine. I do think that it’s even more challenging these days to get kids reading because there are so many electronic devices that compete for their attention.

      Reading is something that I find I still have to push at home even though my kids are in 8th, 6th and 3rd grade. They forget to read; they might not have a book they love at the moment; they are distracted by other things; they have touble slowing down to read, etc. etc. etc. I think it’s the age we live in!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Multicultural Winners from ALA and Kid Lit Blog HopMy Profile

  16. Great list of resources. It’s so important to get kids reading and show them how fun it can be. My daughter and I read every day together! Love the book swap idea.
    Art Mom recently posted…New “Valentine” Art Contest For Kids: I (Heart) My Pet Art ContestMy Profile

  17. Hi Mia & Katie,

    I think that after the kids get deluged with drill-and-kill test practice it really turns them off to reading–and who could blame them? The fact that they did fine on the standardized tests becomes meaningless, in my eyes, and I think yours, because it is still a struggle for them to pick up a book and read.

    Another point you bring up is finding “a book they love,” or else they’re not going to read. Choice, choosing books to read, is also problematic, because many of our kids in all kinds of schools, don’t know what they like to read or are motivated to read.

    I think I said this in my other comment, but reading is about an “inside feel” or what is going on inside kids while reading. When they have or find that inside feel, it leads to self-motivation, and even self-education, where a hunger is built up to find out things, including learning about themselves (self-knowledge).

    A passion for reading comes from the “inside-out” (intrinsic motivation), and has been proven to be more effective than extrinsic (external) motivation. This is supported by the research.

    To get back to Mia’s issues of “pushing” her kids to read, her struggles, reminds me of a play I wrote for my class titled, “The Magic Theater of the Mind: A Children’s Fantasy,” which describes four kids with different problems, some academic, and others real-life situations. One boy, “Lonnie,” had issues with reading: When the teacher said to the class, “Okay children, please take out your books, we’re going to do reading now,” Lonnie got up from his chair and said, “Reading, reading, I hate reading,” and the entire audience erupted into applause and screams, because they all sympathized with the student.

    Today, with the electro-techno world of computer and video games, especially for boys (which is a whole problem area currently), you have serious distractions from academics, making reading, in my opinion, something that is just not “cool,” or a top choice to do in their leisure time.

    In the NYCDOE they “make” kids read, I believe, approximately 30 books a year on their own, and, again, the push is coming from the outside and is doing the opposite of what it intended–turning them off to reading.

    Mia, Katie, I know what I have done for many years in a tough inner-city school. My approach to reading and writing was very successful. I remember when the Scholastic book catalogues came in, the kids ordered lots of books and read them independently because they “wanted” to read them.

    I will be finishing off a blog post soon with many references to what I have been talking about that hopefully will appeal to you and your readers.

    With kind regards,

    Jeffrey Pflaum

    • Hi Jeffrey,
      I completely agree with you that an internal desire to read is the goal but I am also finding that my kids love to self learn — but they are using the internet to find information rather than books. Taking them to find books they are interested in does work — bookshops, libraries and used books at garage sales is motivating. My kids are also lazy about finding books they want; they like me to screen then and present them so they can pick and choose (especially my 6th grader).

      I also find that just reminding them to read, same as reminding them to practice their instrument, is something they need. And, as they do it, they {sometimes} remember that they like this activity (or it’s not so bad) and will do more on their own or extend the time on their own if they are having fun.

      I also think there is a thing of Reading Endurance and that you have to train to read longer and longer just like you’d train for a sport. You start out for a short interval at first, but the key is consistency in order to increase your reading endurance.

      I guess what I’ve noticed the most is that reading is something that parents should pay attention to for most kids because chances are, unless you notice and monitor, reading tends to lose out to everything else like electronics, playdates or just busy schedules.

      Our favorite reading motivator has been book clubs for kids. It’s more work but it has really worked for us and my kids have all said that it is/was their favorite thing they did. Thanks for your insight Jeffrey. We are looking forward to your post!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Nunchaku: My Son Teaches Himself NunchucksMy Profile

      • Hi Mia,

        Thanks for your response.

        Yes, taking them to bookshops, libraries and garage sales is motivating. I love walking around in bookstores, and some years ago, found JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL in the old Marbaro Discount Bookstores, and bought 40 hardback copies for $1 @, then created a workbook for the class. At the end of our journey into Jon, I showed the movie to them and the entire school.

        It helps to screen and inform your kids about various books before they read them. I did this in the classroom constantly, saying, “Here’s a book some of might like,” and gave them a little brief about it. This was one way I “sold” loads of books to the children through the Scholastic Book Clubs.

        For me, I want the “reminders” you speak of, to be internalized, so students can remind themselves to read without me mentioning it. And those “self-reminders” come from self-motivation.

        I like what you said about “reading endurance,” and that works. I do this in my approach to teaching the skill of visualization, where I start from visualizing single words, to 2-word sentences, longer sentences, complex sentences, paragraphs, and finally entire pages.

        The issues that come up with endurance are the distractions, and not just from external things like video/computer games, for example, but internal digressions and side-trips, interrupting thoughts and feelings that create conflict about the desire to continue reading.

        Also, there is a strong connection, as you brought out, between sports training and academics. There is a lot classroom and homeschooling parent-teachers can learn from sports coaches. I know, because I’ve coached basketball to middle school boys and girls and taught tennis to elementary school children (with 60 kids at a time). In sports as in reading, success has a lot to do with endurance and perseverance, which, if kids can hang in there, will lead to a passion and a motivation for reading.

        Warmly,

        Jeffrey Pflaum

  18. Hi Mia
    this is a fantastic post. My little guy is 2 years old and there is so much to look forward to with his education. My husband and I are avid readers and I want to encourage him to be also. Thanks for sharing these tips with us at Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party.
    Angel

  19. The library is probably every parents best and cheapest method of educating a child. I’m so glad you included it in your list. Visiting from Wednesday Wake Up Linky Party
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  20. I love the meet the author idea and getting them their own library card one too. So many great ideas, thanks for sharing them at the After School Link Up.
    Kelly recently posted…10 Ideas to Encourage Your Elementary Battle of the Books TeamMy Profile

  21. I have book baskets for each child. Each night we bring out the book baskets and the kids get to pick which books they want to read that night. They love getting to choose their own books. We mix up the books so there are always new books to read, as well as old favorites.
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  22. Thank you for the ideas. I have a hard time getting my son to read. I will try some of these tips, I need all the help I can get for his stubborness. visiting from the Wake up Wednesday Linky
    becka recently posted…The Making of My Media Kit: A Guide to The Creation of My Own Media KitMy Profile

  23. Megan Treacy

    I wrote about this wonderful list and your Pinterest board on my site Light Bulb Parenting. They are such great resources for parents!
    Megan Treacy recently posted…Harry Potter magic scares away nighttime monstersMy Profile

  24. Literate For Life

    Hi Mia, This is a great post. I agree with all your suggestions. They are clearly defined and informative. I’m so glad I found your through the #Kid Lit Blog Hop. 🙂
    Literate For Life recently posted…5 Amazing Versions Of A Christmas ClassicMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Literate for Life! It’s so nice to meet you too! I’m glad you agree with the reading strategies I used with my kids. It’s not easy getting kids reading these days, more than ever! There are so many distractions from reading that I never had as a child. I still have to check to make sure my kids read every day even though they are 14, 12 and 10! It’s sometimes hard to carve out the time and to find books that rivet them.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Do Good, Share Traditions and Win PrizesMy Profile

  25. I love the tip about modelling the reading habit for your kids. It’s so essential. You can’t be encouraging kids to read without reading. They’ll soon find you out. From experience, I’d say this works greatly. But, I cannot call my kids voracious readers yet. They’re in the making.
    Jane Allen recently posted…What is the Best Recliner for Newborn?My Profile

    • Hi Jane–I can appreciate your dilemma. I was an inner-city elementary school teacher for many years (NYCDOE) and the students were not exactly thrilled with reading. One thing I learned about teaching reading to children: it’s all about an “inside feel,” an inner- or self-motivation to read. While parents modeling reading in front of their kids is helpful, I’m not sure it’s a long-run solution to getting children to read. Many articles I have read about the issue of getting or “making” kids read are about “external motivations.” I recall a parent telling me on open school night that he buys lots of books for his son, to surround him with the idea of reading and books, but, he related sadly, he never picks one up to read. And today with so many “electro techno” distractions and the resulting interrupted attention spans, an internal approach and motivation to read will help kids to read because they want to read. You can lead a horse to water…

    • Hi Jane,
      I can not call my kids voracious readers either. I find that it’s an ongoing effort to keep them motivated. And mine are 16, 14 and 11. I think it’s all the screens out there and also finding the time to slow down to read. Helping them carve out time seems to help.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Can You Spot Him? A real life Halibut JacksonMy Profile

      • The electro-techno world speeds things up, for sure, like everything needs to be rapid or else boredom sets in for adolescents. It’s not only about finding time to slow down, but the idea that reading is a s-l-o-w process, at least in comparison to how technology works. So who wants to “slow down” to read, think, feel, comprehend, and experience things internally throughout silent reading. Lots of things happening both inside and outside during the reading process. And when you throw in the external distractions, along with an internally distracted reader, you really have a problem with motivating readers.

        • Hi Jeffrey,
          It’s hard to compete with screens! I have to just tell my kids: NO MORE SCREENS! Read a book. And then they remember that they like books too!
          Pragmatic Mom recently posted…STEM Science Project: DIY iPhone MicroscopeMy Profile

          • Yes, it’s difficult, but at least you’re limiting the time with “NO MORE SCREENS.” There’s a lot of competition for kids’ and adults’ attention. And when the SCREENS are engaging (?), reading morphs into an “outcast.”

            To become a lifelong reader children need to develop what I call a “reading self” that contains and nourishes an inner spark to read. Studies show that intrinsic motivation is a more powerful driving force to reading/learning than extrinsic motivation.

            In my book, and also the classroom, to motivate reluctant readers, I ask direct and not-so-direct questions about the reading process and their reading lives. I would like them to think about, reflect, and probe their reading experiences from the earliest to the most current–the good, the bad, and the ugly.

            Let children see, encounter, and confront themselves in the mirror about their reading. In this way they initiate the motivation to read from the inside out, and not a teacher, parent-teacher, or parent “demanding” or exhorting them to read.

            I think I was interviewed on an Internet radio show, “Raising Great Men,” that was about “boys and reading.” If I can dig it up, I’ll send the link. Also, as a blogger on The BAM Radio Network’s blog, Edwards, and a contributing writer on EDUCATION NEWS, I have a bunch of posts on reading. If it’s okay, I would like to send the links for the various posts.

          • Thanks for the link Jeffrey,

            I’m putting it here in the comments for anyone who wants to view it:

            Hi Mia,

            Here’s the podcast I described in my comment. The interview is titled, “Motivating Reading from the Inside Out,” and comes from the show “Raising Great Men” with Marie Roker-Jones as the host.

            The link is: http://www.podcastchart.com/…/raising-great-men…/motivating-reading-from-the-inside-out.

            With kind regards,

            Jeffrey Pflaum
            Pragmatic Mom recently posted…STEM Science Project: DIY iPhone MicroscopeMy Profile

          • Thanks, Mia. Much appreciated. I did a lot of research about “boys and reading” for the interview and was surprised by all the recent studies and data about this issue. From my own teaching life, under difficult circumstances, I did not notice any significant difference in regard to motivation for boys and girls. But I did work on inner motivation with the kids, totally separate from their reading experiences. I wanted everything–the inspiration–to come from them, not me.

          • Hi Jeffrey,
            I’m finding, from my three kids and their friends at least, that boys like gaming more than girls which keeps them on screens much more.
            Pragmatic Mom recently posted…STEM Science Project: DIY iPhone MicroscopeMy Profile

          • That’s true, boys prefer the screens; it’s the excitement and “adventure” that gets their attention, and that experience falls out on slower processes like reading–so reading because of its pace, becomes boring. I try to show kids that their ability to visualize what they’re reading can create a 3-D virtual reality, similar to a hologram. And they become the “avatars” navigating this internal landscape of mind and imagination. If boys–and girls–can get into the processes I describe here, the motivation to read will come from the inside out, and not the reverse. Johnny will read because “he” wants to read.

          • Hi Jeffrey,
            My son would love to create a 3D virtual reality avatar!
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          • I’m trying to get kids to create their own 3-D virtual reality avatar who navigates through the stories, novels, and poems they read, where they feel like they’re part of the “action.”

            “Reading avatars” are similar in a way to “gaming avatars” you see in computer games kids play. In my approach, the child-as-avatar in his reading world is in the present moment. However, in the case of reading, it is the words and resulting triggered mind-pictures, thoughts, feelings, and connected real-life experiences that create an inspiring internal reality show.

            The inside world becomes this 3-D, holographic, virtual reality, where a child can say, or imagine, he’s part of, or living in, the story. When a child, or an adult, for that matter, reads, they create an alternate universe or “another world” in their minds and imaginations, which turns into a virtual reality depending upon the power and impact of their “inner seeing.”

            Can children put themselves in the story, while at the same time, remain the “objective observer” and “comprehender” of all they read? In my opinion, when you “get lost in a book,” you’re creating this other reality–virtual, 3-D, and/or holographic–however you might want to label it. The depth the reading processes take them initiates inner- or self-motivation on a continual, regular basis.

          • Hi Jeffrey,
            A reading avatar sounds amazing. I can’t wait for this to come to the market!
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    • Hi Jane,

      I almost forgot a post/article I wrote for Mia on PRAGMATIC MOM: “Reading and Imagining Writing Exercise for Kids” (June 20, 2014). The piece includes my approach and technique for motivating reading internally, and also, my book, Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way.”

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