ideas to get kids reading

7 Fun, Easy and FREE Ideas to Get Kids Reading

Get Kids Reading with 7 Easy and Fun Ideas

If your New Year’s resolution is to get your kids reading more (mine is for myself too!), then I’ve assembled some free, easy and fun out-of-the-box ideas to get kids reading whether they are new to independent reading or reluctant readers.

I also like that these ideas are hands on and unexpected. A full body experience. It’s meant to make kids sit up and take notice. And then hopefully, this giddy feeling will become associated with reading and reading will be associated with a pleasant experience. How about you? Please share your ideas of how you get your kids reading! Thank you!


1) Hold a BOOK TASTING in the library! Book speed dating for the younger set.

I found this idea on Pinterest from the Barrow Media Center. Get a group of kids together and hold a “book tasting.” Select a books to be sampled and provide a menu sheet and pens or pencils. Each kid reads each book for 2-3 minutes and marks the menu sheet of each book with happy face, prozac face, or frowny face. It’s a fun way to have kids try out new genres of books.

Another idea to figure out what books to supply is to ask each child for 2 or 3 of their favorite books and draw from those. Then, at the end of the book tasting, kids who chose a book that was recommended by a friend can get encouragement to read their book choice. I always find that peer-to-peer recommendations are the most persuasive!

book tasting, getting kids reading

2) Watch BOOK TRAILERS for kids.

You know how movie trailers make you really, really want to watch a movie? Well, book trailers do the same thing for kids’ books! Book Trailers for Readers has lots of books trailers that you can view at their site and many are made by librarians. Some are even made by kids. Book trailers will draw kids into the plot of the book and they might even inspire you to make your own. Which brings us to #3…

Book trailer for Wonder by R. J. Palacio was professionally done. Those are great too!

3) Make a MOVIE  or a MOVIE TRAILER of a book with friends.

You can choose any book and just use a video camera ad hoc. If your group of kids want to enter a video book film festival, there is the 90-Second Newbery Video competition. The deadline is February 1, 2013 for Portland and Tacoma screenings. Here is a handy PDF of tips, tricks and strategies to make your book trailer.

90 second Newbery Film Festival, make a book traiiler

4) Go to children’s book AUTHOR EVENTS.

We find local KidLit author events by checking online at local bookstores and libraries. The good news is that they are FREE! If you don’t have local bookstores that do author visits, try Skype author visits. Here’s a list of virtual author visits. Kate Messner has another list of children’s and Young Adult authors who Skype for free here. Personally, I’d recommend setting up a free Skype author visit  as part of a Kids Book Club event or a special play date to get a small group for the author.

Newbery Award-Winners Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool at Needham Library
Thursday, January 10, 2013 – 7:00pm

PickyKidPix and I will be attending this kids’ book author event to celebrate my birthday! (I am nerdy that way.)

I have lots of ideas for book clubs for kids here. Additional book club meetings are written up an individual posts here. I highly recommend setting up a book club for kids to get them motivated to read. It really worked for my kids. Not only do they new book introductions, but hearing their friends talk about the book makes them want to read the book (or finish it if they tired of it.)

book club for kids, book club for children, setting up kids book club


I’ve been collecting reading nook spaces for kids both on my Caught in the Act of … READING! post series and on Pinterest Reading Spaces for Kids board. These cozy nooks don’t require a carpenter or a large investment! Here’s just a few…

reading nook for kidsThis under the table hammock only requires a blanket, a sturdy table, and a tight knot. From Joyful Abode.

reading nook for kids, A big Teddy provides a reading nook. A pile of stuffed animals would work too!

dog crate reading nook for kidsA dog create serves as a reading nook.

basket reading nook for kidsA basket or a large cardboard box works nicely too!

7) Borrow an eREADER. You can check out eBooks from the library.

Findings reveal the potential for ebooks to motivate boys, who are more commonly known to be reluctant readers, to read more. According to a Scholastic Study, one in four boys who has read an ebook says he is now reading more books for fun. More than half (57%) of moderately frequent readers who have not read an ebook agree they would read more if they had greater access to ebooks.

ideas to get kids reading

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Reluctant Readers on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Wow! What an amazing list! I loved each idea more than the one before it! I just finished writing an article about book trailers- I think they are so powerful. I have recently used them to get my daughter who is a voracious reader but stuck on realistic fiction to branch out in to other genres. I’ve also found that borrowing my e-reader has helped with this as well! Great post! Thank you 🙂
    Stacey recently posted…Reading as a RefugeMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Stacey! I’ve been collecting these ideas over the last few years. Glad the e-reader is helping your daughter. My middle kid is also stuck in realistic fiction. She liked Smile by Raina Telgemeir and Drama by same author … a fun graphic novel for girls!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Worst and Best College MajorsMy Profile

  2. Love this list. Your Pinterest board of Reading Spaces is so adorable – would encourage any child to cuddle and read a good book.
    Susan Case recently posted…The ABCs of Thrifty Teaching Tools: U to ZMy Profile

  3. This is an awesome list of ideas. Pinning it to my literacy board 🙂
    maryanne recently posted…Quirk Books: Home Economics, Bento Boxes, and Tiny FoodMy Profile

  4. Amazing list! I suggest you also to try Timbuktu, an iPad magazine for children. It’s very useful and fun for parents too.

  5. Train to Read

    Great ideas! I just subscribed because I don’t want to miss your tips. Here are a few other ways to engage children in reading
    Train to Read recently posted…Conquer the Homework Blues & Stay on Track with Early Childhood DevelopmentMy Profile

  6. I love the idea of a book tasting! Thanks for linking up 🙂
    Lora/Kids Creative Chaos recently posted…Ground Hog Day Print Out Coloring PageMy Profile

  7. These are all such great ideas!
    I’m so glad that you’re co-hosting the Blog Hop with us this week!
    Katie recently posted…Kid Lit Blog Hop #9My Profile

  8. Renee C.

    These are wonderful ideas! Book trailers are something we don’t often look at. I think we will try to dig up a few from some of our favorite books. They are kind of fun, aren’t they? My daughter also has her own reader – she just loves it and it’s so easy to get books from the library. Thanks so much for co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop Mia! So fun to have you this week. Cheers! 🙂
    Renee C. recently posted…Love Middle Grade Actually: Kindle Fire, Gift Card, and E-Book GiveawayMy Profile

    • Hi Renee,
      What eReader does your daughter have? We have a Color Nook but now I am thinking of getting the Kindle Fire… or an iPad mini.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Picture Book of the Day: Look! Another Book!My Profile

      • Renee C.

        She has a HipStreet multimedia player – it does music, video as well as being an ereader. It does all kinds of ebook formats as well. It’s pretty good and very affordable. We also have an Android tablet (an Asus) and we use that to do most of our reading – the picture books are amazing on it! I have a Kobo ereader (which you get in Canada). However, I just admit that I lust over the Kindle Fire – it’s rather ironic how many giveaways for Kindle Fires I’ve hosted on our website! lol
        Renee C. recently posted…Featured Guest Reviewer: Mia @ Pragmatic MomMy Profile

        • Hi Renee,
          I haven’t heard of the HipStreet player … sounds perfect for kids with the versatility. We had an iPad and we lost it so I haven’t replaced it yet. I think I am going to get the Kindle Fire, but the iPad mini would be good for apps too. Big price difference though! Yes, it seems like you should get a Kindle Fire for doing the giveaways! You deserve one!
          Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Chinese New Year Crafts for KidsMy Profile

  9. Great list! Sharing it all over the place! Thanks for sharing at The Children’s Bookshelf.

  10. Mia, thanks for sharing this on the Sunday Showcase. What a great resource. I am off to pin it 🙂

  11. These ideas are amazing! I love the idea of a book tasting 🙂 Thanks so much for hostessing!
    Jaymie Shook recently posted…Celebrate your friends for Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  12. Great post! My daughter and I are going to be having an upcoming Book Club playdate – I like the idea of making a short “book trailer” video with the kids!
    Leanne recently posted…The Monster at the End of This Book/ Muppets in My NeighborhoodMy Profile

  13. Nikki Schwartz

    So fun! I love the idea of watching book trailers! I think that reading is something that is obviously helpful to start as early as possible. I’ve noticed that creative ideas are so very helpful if a child starts having trouble with reading. Keeping it fun, helps keep their interest!

    Thanks for linking up to the February Play to Learn blog hop! We are hosting again in March starting the first Saturday. Make sure to stop by.
    Nikki Schwartz recently posted…ADHD Tips for Parents: Medication may be safer than caffeineMy Profile

    • Hi Nikki,
      I agree! There are so many ways to get kids interested in reading that it is all about “number of times at bat.” Mix it up, try new things, and most of all, keep at it. Eventually, you can get kids reading joyfully! I really believe that! Yes, looking forward to your next Play to Learn Blog Hop. Will be on the look out for it! Thanks Nikki!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Top 10 Winter Books for KidsMy Profile

  14. Bridget

    Love the summer book club for kids! I started one last summer for my daughter and a small group of girls. At the end of summer the girls loved it so much, they didn’t want it to end! Us parents decided to take a break. Now that summer is quickly approaching, we have agreed to start it up again. Im looking for book suggestions for kids entering 3rd grade , reading on a 3-5th grade level. Any links would be great!

  15. KatrinaML

    Tons of useful suggestions, love it. My daughter just started reading, and I’m hoping that she will love to read in the future. Oh btw, the girl in the basket is soo cute.

    • Hi KatrinaML,
      I had such fun putting these ideas together so it makes me SO happy that you liked them! Thank you so much for taking time to leave your comment. It totally made my day! That girl in the basket image is precious to me too! I love that something so simple as a basket can be a special reading nook!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…20 Books About Poland For KidsMy Profile

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