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 know this. So how do you get your reluctant reader to pick up a book? Here are some tips.
7 Ways to Get Your Kid to Read
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.
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 booksellers 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 audiobook 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…
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Reading Spaces for Kids on Pinterest.
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Reading & Writing Fun on Pinterest.
p.s. Related posts:
Book Lists for Reluctant Readers
Say It Ain’t So: My Child Is a Reluctant Reader
Books for 8yold Boy Reluctant Reader
Writing for Reluctant Readers by Ty Drago
Are All Kids Reluctant Readers? Mine Are! And What to Do
Funny Books for 3rd Grade Boy: Reluctant Reader Challenge
The Middle School Reluctant Reader
From Reluctant Reader to Voracious Reader: What Worked for Me
How To: Get Reluctant Readers Who Can Decode Reading
Partnered Reading Tutorial for Getting Reluctant Readers to Read
Tips for Engaging Reluctant Readers
Favorite Books for Reluctant Readers Grades 3-8
How to Train Your Dragon ebook for reluctant readers
Tips for Hooking Reluctant Readers
NERDS: A series for Reluctant Readers
Great Books for Reluctant Boy Readers
Best Graphic Novels for Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 3-16)
Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 7-14): Part 2, Authors M-Z
Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 7-14): Part 1, Authors A-L
Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 3 (Non-Fiction)
Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 7-14)
Books for Reluctant Boy Readers
Hi-Lo Books for Middle Readers
Top 10 Books for Struggling Teen Readers
How to Get Your Kid to be a Fanatic Reader
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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.
24 thoughts on “7 Ways to Get Your Kid to Read”
frequent trips to the library and bookstore and making a cute,cozy reading area in the house are my strategies.
Those are two of my favorite strategies too. I love a specialized cozy book nook!!
Great suggestions, especially for the middle grade reluctant reader.
I’m glad you liked the post!! I always want to help a middle grade reluctant readers as it feels like the last hurrah to get them reading.
My daughter loved being read to, love bookstores, meeting authors etc. But, getting her to read on her own was tough. If I read with her, I found success. It was a struggle to sit still by herself for so long and I used many strategies. Today she loves to read.
Emma Walton Hamilton wrote a wonderful book, “Raising Bookworms.” I highly recommend it.
I think your message is so important. I think it does take a lot of different strategies to get all kids to love reading but if you keep trying, it will eventually work! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!
I have a reluctant reader and appreciate F.T Bradley’s great suggestions. I would also add that, at least for my child, reading books with humor really help as well. She and I LOVE laughing together when we read together. And before she even realizes it, she’s having fun despite her dislike of reading!
I totally agree that funny books help keeps kids reading!! I have a list I made of funny books for a boy reluctant reader that I know. I hope it helps your daughter too! http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2012/03/books-3rd-grade-boy-reluctant-reader-likes-funny-sports-books/
Thanks for commenting, everyone! And there were some good suggestions here I’ll add to my list…
Thanks so much F. T. Bradley for your wonderful post!
My boys were both reluctant readers. I talked with them about what interested them and then searched out books on those topics. Eventually we found success. My older son didn’t become an avid reader, but my younger son is. It really is just finding that first book that appeals to them and then following that up with more.
You are such a good mom to hunt down books that your boys want to read. I know that it takes time and patience to do that but I agree, it really does work eventually! What kinds of books did/do they like?
Spy books are a great choice for reluctant boy readers. Lots of other great ideas here as well! I’m especially a fan of not worrying too much about whether kids are reading something that’s too “easy.” Wants they get going, the will naturally progress.
Hi E.S. Ivy,
I know that my son enjoys a good spy book! The action and suspense is great for drawing in the reader and cool gadgets help too!
Cool gadgets are definitely a big draw for my son!
Hi E.S. Ivy,
Mine too! Glad you include them in your books!
Getting books they enjoy! Thanks for the great post!
Yes! I think that is the key!
I love it! I also still read aloud to my youngest 4 kids (9-16 years). They love to be read to, even the 16 year old. I have always read exciting books aloud and I wait until we get to a climatic part. That’s where I always stop… “Leave them hanging!” That’s my motto!!
I love your “Leave Them Hanging” advice! That works really well with my son too though he begs and begs for me not to stop! My kids also enjoy being read too and my oldest is 14. I enjoy it myself too when an author reads to me. It’s a great pleasure in life!
These are really fantastic tips! While the kids have to read what is assigned – and I remember from my school days – always not so fun. But also reading fun stuff, that they love – is very important.
Thanks so much for this great post!
So glad you liked her post!!! Finding fun stuff to read is the key for kids thought that can take a bit of searching! And it’s always a bummer when you run out because you read the whole series or all the books the author wrote! That happens to us so we try to find substitutes but they are never exactly the same.
I love the ideas here. My son from the beginning has not been into reading on his own, but lives to listen to a story. I created early learning tools that use potty humor to engage my son in learning his letters and first words. Like so many of you said, I had to find what interested him and it just so happens to be poops and farts! I look forward to reading your books!
I love that you created early learning tools for your son! I am going to read your website right now! Thanks so much!