Reading is a huge part of our family’s day-to-day life. We’ve been reading with the kids since they were babies. Now that two of the kids can read, it is an even bigger part of our routine. The kids all love stories!
I believe that some kids’ personalities are more drawn to reading than others. It takes a little more work to get the reluctant reader on board. So, I thought I’d share a few things we’ve done to encourage reading at all ages.
How to Encourage Kids to Read
Read Bedtime Stories
This is something we were encouraged to do with the kids as soon as they were born. Even our 10-year-old still asks us to read to her and I don’t see it ended anytime soon! This isn’t always easy when we have 3 kids who want three different types of stories. So most nights we divide and conquer between parents. This is probably the single biggest contribution to our kids’ love of reading. Beyond just the benefit of the story, each child gets some one-on-one time with a parent.
Sometimes having the energy as a parent to read after a long day can be challenging. But we really try not to skimp on this routine. I saw this pillow recently and I need to get it for the kids. Inevitably someone asks this every night…
Our youngest still requests picture books. While the older two have us reading chapter books. We’ve read many different series including Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie and Magic Treehouse. So, we’ve covered a lot of books between what we read with them and what they read on their own. Here are a couple of our recent favorites that are great for 8-12 year old boys and girls. I’ll do a BIG post of our favorite books by age very soon!
Have Books Around the House
I’m a sucker for good books. So when the kids come home with their Scholastic Book orders I can’t resist letting them order a couple each. As a child, I loved getting Scholastic books as well! Since we have so many books, they tend to be everywhere in the house. I try to corral them neatly in baskets but I don’t mind having them in most rooms. We have them in our playroom, family room and each of their bedrooms. I mentioned in this post last week that I try to gather books for the season (Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc) and put them in a basket in our family room so we don’t forget to read them.
We also always have books in the car. I make sure they have a book for a long drive…or any drive over five minutes! This has almost been a sneaky way of upping their reading time. They are stuck in a car with little else to do!
Create Cozy Reading Spots
Everyone loves to find a comfortable spot to read in the house. I have serious Pinterest envy when I see some of the adorable book nooks that have been posted. You can take a look at the cute reading nooks I’ve pinned on my Pinterest page.
I’ve tried to create a cozy space with what is feasible in our 1950’s cape cod house. We have some unused space in an alcove on the second floor that became a book nook. I didn’t buy anything to make this space. A bunch of pillows, some twinkly lights and a framed (free) book related printable fill the space! It’s a space the kids see every time they walk upstairs to their bedrooms, so it’s always inviting them in!
My daughter, our biggest reader, has a cozy chair in her room that she spends a lot of time in. The boys have a fun teepee next to their bookcase. All of these cozy spots and sometimes they just end up on the couch. But I like options!
We also just got this HUGE bean bag couch and it is sure to be a favorite. What can be better than a cozy spot to relax and read! The kids (and dog) are already fighting for a turn on this.
Rotate in New Books
I am always on the lookout for inexpensive, age appropriate books. I check the resale stores, neighborhood garage sales and Facebook garage sale sites. I love getting used books because we can read them and then pass them on to friends or donate. There are so many ways to get new (to you) books that don’t have to cost a lot of money!
Also, I love when the kids get gift cards to book stores. It is so fun for them to go to the bookstore and pick out their own books.
Another creative idea to acquire new books is a book swap. A few years ago my daughter had a book exchange with the girls in her class at the end of the school year. It was perfect timing as everyone can benefit from good summer reading books! We had the girls over our house and everyone brought a few books to swap. Each girl came home with as many new books as books they brought to exchange.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to host a party, you could still encourage your child to swap books with one or two friends. It doesn’t have to be a big event to exchange books with some buddies.
As I mentioned, some children seem more naturally attracted to reading so it can be a challenge for those kids who don’t see it as enjoyable. In those cases, it can be worth a try to offer some enticing incentives to make it fun.
Some ideas include:
- Rewarding the child with a special movie night of the book he/she has read.
- Providing fun gadgets to aid in reading. My son has this book timer/bookmark. He is a details and numbers guy so tracking how much time he reads really motivates him. Also, the all of my kids have little reading lights that they use in bed. Even a fun $1 bookmark can be a reward!
- Offer a fun drink and a snack before bed when the child is reading. Or even better, tie the snack into the theme of the story (goldfish for stories about the ocean, butterbeer for Harry Potter books…)
- Have the child sign up for a membership card at the local library. Kids love independence and this is a perfect opportunity to allow them to feel grown up!
- Match up a cute toy or stuffed animal with the book.
Reading his favorite book series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” with all of the book characters
It is all about meeting kids at their level and finding something that works for each one of them! I’d love to hear from you. How do you encourage reading at your house? Do you have any challenges with getting your kids to read or listen to stories?