Please welcome my guest blogger today, the author F.T. Bradley who has great advice on how to get kids reading. At the end of the post, she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY with signed copies of her three spy chapter books!
“I don’t like reading.” They’re not words you want to hear from your kiddo as a parent, especially if you love to read yourself. I have a reluctant reader at home. As an author of children’s books, I was a little stumped as to what to do. Over time, I learned what worked, what didn’t—by trying different things, and by reading more about kids who don’t like to read, and why.
Reluctant readers are often just burned out on reading. Think about it: how many books are assigned, especially as your kids get to the middle-school years? Not that those are bad books (often, they’re outstanding!), but they can be hard for struggling—or just disinterested readers—to love.
Still, reading is important for learning, brain development—as parents, we now this. So how do you get your reluctant reader to pick up a book? Here are some tips:
Those assigned books can (unintentionally) make reading a chore. So start by taking your child to a bookstore or library, and let them pick whatever book strikes their fancy. If it’s non-fiction, a book on frogs, or a comic book—it doesn’t matter. The point is to get your kid to associate reading with choice. Controlling what you read for fun is important in relating books with entertainment.
- Branch Out
Now that your child has read that choice book, whatever it is, it’s time to up the challenge. For every choice book, challenge him or her to read a book you pick together. It should still be a fun read, but one that perhaps has more pages, or is a little higher in reading level. Librarians or children’s bookseller can be great allies here—have your child explain what he/she likes, and these professionals can probably recommend the perfect book.
- Hook ‘Em With a Series
Reading can be hard work, especially if it’s not your favorite activity. Try getting your kid to read a series or trilogy; the recurring characters and fictional world make reading a little less tasking for your reluctant reader. Don’t worry too much if your child is reading below their reading level for fun. Especially during those early middle-school years, kids sometimes prefer the simpler content of elementary level reading. Your goal is just to get your child to enjoy reading.
- Pair with a Graphic Novel or Audio Book
Ready to up the challenge a little? Try pairing a classic novel with its graphic novel counterpart. These days, many classics like A Wrinkle in Time and The Graveyard Book have graphic novel versions, which are often easier on reluctant readers. Ask questions about the content: which version did your child like better, and why? For younger readers, try getting the audio book version of a book as a read along. Younger kids often have trouble with phonics or intonation; hearing someone read the book aloud and following along in print does wonders for their reading and writing skills.
- Pair With The Movie
These days, most children’s movies are based on books, especially for middle or teen readers. Have your child read the book before the movie comes out, and then compare. How was the movie different? Which did they like better? This is such a fun way to experience books as entertainment—you may even want to read along and go see the movie together.
- Make it Social
Book aren’t just for curling up in a corner, as nice as that is. Show your child that reading can be a social event—check out book clubs and other events at your bookstore and library. Many libraries have themed events that are a lot of fun, and even include crafts.
If you have a competitive kid, consider Battle of the Books as a new challenge (if your school participates). If you’re too busy already to participate in community events, consider reading a book separately, but at the same pace. As you each finish a chapter, you can talk about the book, what you think is going to happen, etc.
- Set The Example
When was the last time you read a good book? As parents, we can spend so much time in the children’s department of our bookstore or library, we forget to read ourselves. No matter what you say to your kid, they’ll learn most from your example. So read a book. Encourage your spouse or partner to do the same. Your child will pick up on your example, and want to do the same.
Do you have a middle reader at home?? Enter this giveaway of all three hardcovers (signed!) of the Double Vision trilogy, a fun, adventurous spy series by F.T. Bradley. Good luck!
Follow along with the Double Vision: The Alias Men blog tour:
Oct. 6-10: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow features Double Vision: The Alias Men with a review, author interview, plus a GIVEAWAY..!
Oct. 13: Linc hangs out at the great Erik’s blog, This Kid Reviews Books. Linc talks about spy techniques he picked up on his Pandora missions. And there’s another GIVEAWAY…
Oct. 14: Double Vision: The Alias Men is released! Have a virtual party at the YA Sleuth blog…! And follow F.T. on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor for more kid spy fun.
Oct. 16: F.T. Bradley gives you Five Ways to Bring MG into The Classroom at the Unleashing Readers blog, plus a GIVEAWAY.
Oct. 17: Linc is interviewed by Lizzy, Fairday and Marcus over at The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog. A fun post!
Oct. 20: Buried in Books lets F.T. Bradley talk about the Double Vision trilogy…
Oct. 20: Also this day, the fabulous Ms. Yingling reviews Double Vision: The Alias Men on her blog for Marvelous MG Monday…
Oct. 21: Another favorite blog, YA Book Nerd, hosts F.T. Bradley and the Double Vision trilogy, plus a GIVEAWAY
Oct. 21: F.T. Bradley hangs out at Sleuths, Spies and Alibis…
Oct. 24: F.T. Bradley gives tips for parents of reluctant readers, Seven Ways to Get Your Kid to Read, at Pragmatic Mom’s blog, plus a GIVEAWAY!
Oct. 25: At the Nerdy Book Club, find F.T. Bradley’s top 10 books for reluctant readers…
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.