3rd grade chapter books

Top 5: Using Electronic Devices to Get Kids Reading

Getting Kids to Read by Using Screens

There are extensive and excellent posts on how to get reluctant readers to read with scores of great ideas including graphic novels, books on tape, shared reading, and the like. When The Reading Corner, a blog for Reading Horizons’ “At Home” division, as me to guest post for them, I had to rack my brain to come up with ideas to get reluctant readers excited without duplicating the excellent posts already on their blog.

3rd grade chapter books

As a parent whose youngest (and only 6-years-old!) is already attempting to spend every waking hour in front of a screen, I thought I’d suggest some ideas for getting reluctant readers excited about reading in the vein of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Or a corollary: “Let’s be sneaky and use electronics as a Trojan horse to present reading in a different light.” I’ve been blogging about these ideas that I’ve discovered over the past year and I’m pretty excited about them. Let me know what you think and if they work for you.

1) Book Trailers. Think movie trailers but about books. And created by adults whose day jobs are librarians or teachers. You let your child watch these book trailers on the computer as a way to select their next book. The benefit here, is that the book trailers give just enough plot to draw in your child without giving it away. You have to read the book to find out what happens. Diabolically clever, right?!

2) 90 Second Newbery Film Festival. Again, your child gets to use an electronic device. In this case, it’s a video recorder. He or she can: 1) pick a Newbery book, 2) write a script either by alone or with friends, 3) organize a film shoot including props, 4) film to their heart’s content including editing, 5) submit to this very real competition, and 6) bask in the glory of doing something that just feels fun. The contest ends September 15, 2011 so there is plenty of time.

3) ebooks on eReaders or iPad/iPhone. There is such a great selection of ebooks these days. Some of my favorite picture ebooks are by Dr. Seuss but I would suggest letting your reluctant reader buy an ebook as that is a way to make books exciting. The ALAC (The Association of Library Service to Children) has a list of their favorite free ebooks.

4) iPhone/iPod/iPad audio book apps (ie “books on tape” for iPod). This site has audio books for kids that makes more sense in today’s iPod world versus cassette tapes or even CDs. Titles include The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Jungle Book, or Newbery winner It’s Like This Cat. Here’s the link:.

5) Blogging for Kids. One way to get boys to actually want to  write 500 word essays? Set them up on their own blog. There is a great post on Mashable on How To: Help Your Child Set Up a Blog here. My two older kids (5th and 3rd grade) now have their own blogs and it’s been a fun way to learn, create and write.


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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great ideas. As a corollary to #4, I would add digital audio players, or “Playaways.” I get mine for free from the library. They are self-contained, individual audiobooks in a device smaller than a deck of cards, and you don’t need to own an iPad/iPhone/iPod. Just earbuds and a AAA battery.

  2. Love the book trailers–am going to use these to promote summer reading program!

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