7 Ways to Encourage Reading in Kids


One of my very favorite things about reading is looking forward to the next book by my favorite author. Try finding a new favorite, either an author or series, to not only read, but to look forward to reading.



Sometimes where you read makes a big difference in wanting to read. Try finding a new little nook in your home: under the dining room table, in the closet with a flashlight, in a tent in the backyard, in a huge cardboard box.



More and more books are getting turned into movies. Take advantage by planning a movie night after finishing the book. Don’t forget to also take advantage of the opportunities to compare and contrast the movie with the book.



I often try to remind parents that summer reading doesn’t just have to stop at books. Try to be more intentional about getting your child reading alternative types of text: the menu when out to dinner, the instruction manual to the new lawnmower, the lyrics to the new Taylor Swift song, the strategy guide to a video game.



Check out two copies of a book from the library and try having a book club with your child. Set up a schedule of reading, and plan to meet every couple of days to chat about the book. Accountability is built in, but more importantly, it’s a great way to spend time together. Take it one step further by writing letters back and forth to each other about your book.



One way to encourage a child to extend their reading choices into some other genres is to start with a really good piece of historical fiction. During or after reading, dig into some research of informational texts about the time period surrounding the book.



Some kids don’t need incentives to read. But if it helps, I like to suggest using incentives that involve activities and privileges, rather than always a prize. It’s important to start with a small goal that can be easily reached, especially for reluctant readers. Early success helps get the snowball rolling downhill. Then you can work towards larger goals and incentives.

Combining incentives with a creative tracking system can work really well! You might try something like: Choice of movie for family movie night, choice of homemade dinner or restaurant, library date or coffee/hot chocolate date with Mom or Dad, stay up late for an extra hour, have a sleep-over with a friend.

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