Top Ten Ways to Get Your Kids to Read

Currently in America many children don't like to read. Illiteracy is at very high levels among many young kids and even teens. This is a tragedy because reading can be fun, educational, and even good for reducing stress. Encouraging a child to read from a young age can have positive consequences for the rest of their life. A child who reads is more likely to do well academically, get into a better college, and have a more rewarding career than a child who doesn't read.

The Top Ten

1 Let Them Pick Their Own Books

After a child has learned to read and digested a few books on their own they will be hungry for new and different types of books. Let them explore different genres and even nonfiction if they want. Children who choose their own books are more likely to feel engaged and to continue reading as they get older. Even if you think a book or genre is too advanced for your child, let them decide that on their own. Kids, just like adults, feel a sense of accomplishment when they finish a challenge. Furthermore, children can feel empowered when they choose their books. They understand that you trust them to make decisions on their own, which can have far reaching implications in many areas of their life.

For children, I would certainly let them do this, but would recommend the children's classic "Screwing Farm Animals", which does exist. Look it up. - PositronWildhawk

My mom let me pick out my books, you should let your kids pick out books too. - funnyuser

How about 'The Hunger Games' for a start. Eek! Just joking, let 'em get that only if 16 or so. - HezarioSeth

2 Read to Them

If you have very young kids who don’t know how to read yet then it is up to you to read to them. Although you may be exhausted after a long day of work and chores you should read them a bedtime story. In fact, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the early childhood years are essential for the development of lifelong literacy. Reading with your child gets them to associate stories and fun with books rather than only with television, videos, and games. Furthermore it is an active bonding experience between your child and yourself in a way that sitting in front of a T.V. screen can’t be. Early childhood books also tend to have very clear moral messages and lessons that even the youngest of children can comprehend. Even if your kids are old enough to read, take the time to still read to them on a regular basis. Your relationship with your children will be stronger because of it.

3 Encourage Reading at an Early Age

Have them start reading on their own as early as they can. The more they read the better readers they will become and the more likely they are to pick up a book on their own without Mommy or Daddy’s encouragement. In the beginning you will probably have to pick out books for them. Pick stories that you think they will like and pay attention to the books they enjoy the most and buy or rent more of those types of books. Oprah.com has a Kids Reading List that you can browse from if you are totally unsure of what books your kids may like. It is even conveniently broken up by age to make the process of picking books even easier for you.

4 Take Them to the Library

This goes hand in hand with picking their own books, because it gives your child thousands of books right at his or her fingertips. Libraries let you borrow books for free with a library card. Public libraries often have activities and days of the week specifically geared towards children, check your local library and see what they have to offer. As an added bonus, the library has tons of books that you will enjoy, thus becoming an activity that both you and your kids can genuinely enjoy together. Unlike many activities we enjoy with our children, you won’t be left feeling physically exhausted by the time you return home.

5 Encourage all Forms of Reading

The medium a child reads on doesn’t matter, If they prefer to read on an ereader or tablet then you should let them. However, encourage them to read actual books and stories not exclusively internet pages or websites. Many new ereaders and tablets even allow parental controls that can limit the amount of time a child can spend playing games on a tablet or ereader. Using these controls can ensure your child is actually reading even when unsupervised. You can download thousands of free ebooks on ProjectGutenburg.com, it’s like having constant access to a digital library right at your fingertips.

6 Buy a Reading Pillow

Buy a reading pillow at http://www.Readingpillowsplus.com. Reading pillows are great because they allow a child to create a comfortable space to read anywhere in the house. This is especially important if the living room couch is often taken up by someone watching television. Your child may not have a comfortable place to read so they ignore the activity altogether. With a reading pillow they can create a comfortable spot anywhere and can even take it with them on trips in the car. In addition, using a reading pillow makes it very easy for anyone to read in bed. Many people believe reading helps them fall asleep so you may even help lull restless kids to sleep by encouraging them to develop the habit of reading in bed.

7 Create a Special Reading Space

Create a special space for your kids to read. Buy reading pillows and colorful throw pillows to make the space as comfortable and inviting as possible. Use lamps and natural light to ensure the space is well lit and appropriate for reading. An end table or small desk can complete the space and will allow your child to put his or her book down when not in use and can serve as a surface for drinks or snacks. A special reading space can also act as a sanctuary for your child where they can go to relax and unwind, especially if they have siblings who tend to monopolize the shared family spaces such as the living or dining room.

8 Create Reading Rules

That will make them want to read less

Create rules around reading and stick to them. You can have a set daily time designated as “reading time” where you child can’t play video games or watch television. Just make sure this isn’t seen as a punishment so that they don’t associate reading with negativity. You can also create rules such as: every hour of video games must be met with an hour of reading. If that is too radical you can even set it to a smaller time frame. Often, once someone gets absorbed in a book they will want to continue reading anyway. You can even offer rules and incentives such as letting them stay up an extra half an hour later than usual as long as that thirty minutes is spent reading.

9 Let Kids Read in the Car

Let your kids read in the car. Even if they are reading comic books or magazines it can allow them to pass the time without using an electronic gaming device. If your child suffers from motion sickness you can let them listen to audio books in the car. This has the added benefit of creating a more calming and stress free ride for the driver. A child won’t bicker with his or her siblings if they are engrossed in a book, and the ride will even seem shorter. This is especially important for longer car rides or for families that make frequent trips. The less noise and commotion there is the safer and smoother the ride will be.

10 Be a Good Example

YOU should start reading! Kids look up to their parents as the most important role models in their lives. If they see you reading they are more likely to want to try it themselves. Encourage them to read by doing it yourself. Also, get your entire family involved. If your kids spend a lot of time with their grandparents or aunts and uncles, encourage everyone to read more. The more role models in their lives that read; the more powerful positive associations they will make with reading. In addition, all your family members will see the positive results that reading brings them. The family that reads together, succeeds together.

The Contenders

11 Pay Them

I'm good with that

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