15 Radical Ways to Get Your Children to Read
What to do when your children hate to read? Think outside the book! With dramatically high illiteracy rates at 73% among 4th and 8th graders in some cities, it is especially important to encourage your children to read. To help foster a love of reading in your children, try these tips to promote reading in your home:
1. Join the eBook Revolution
With eReaders like the Kindle and Nook, access to quality books has become even easier. If your child is a reluctant reader but loves to use touchscreen devices, try using an eReader to help encourage him or her to read. Allow your child to select a book that interests him or her and read the book alone or even read it aloud. You can also use your eReader to take notes or hypothesize what your child thinks will happen next in the story.
2. ‘Read to Play’ Program
Children love to play, whether it’s video games, board games or playing outside. Next time your child wants to play, require him or her to read a book for a pre-determined amount of time (20-30 minutes for younger kids and an hour for older ones) before or after he or she is allowed to play a game.
3. Read Aloud
Encourage your kids to read books aloud to you, their younger brothers or sisters, teddy bears or even pets. Make it fun by having your child act as the teacher while his or her audience of stuffed animals are the students.
4. “Closed Captions” on TV and Movies
When your child is watching his or her favorite movies, mute the sound and turn on closed captions so you can actively read the story as you watch along. As an extra step, read the captions aloud and use different voices for each character.
5. Road Trip Games
Next time you are in the car, call out a letter or number and ask your child to identify words with that letter or number on signs, billboards, vanity plates, etc.
6. Books on Tape
Another way to encourage your child to read is by having him or her listen to an audio version of a book as he or she reads along. Not only will it help teach your child how specific words are pronounced, but will also help him or her identify words when reading alone. As a bonus step, record yourself as you read a book and play it to your child on car trips, or when you are away from home.
7. Create a Reading Nook
Try creating a special space for your child to read at home, either by setting up a special area in his or her room or in the house. Use this area as a place where he or she can go exclusively to read. For inspiration on creating your own Reading Nook, check out Babble’s 10 Charming Hideaways + Nooks.
8. Bedtime Reading
Start a bedtime tradition by reading your child a story each night or by having him or her read one to you.
9. Explore Reading Programs
If your child needs some motivation to read, try exploring reading programs such as Scholastic’s Read Every Day or Six Flags’ Read to Success which provides free admission to Six Flags for kids who read books for at least six hours.
10. Host or join a Read-a-thon
Try hosting a read-a-thon for your child, where he or she can raise money for charities based on the number of books read or the total number of hours read.
11. Book Clubs or Book Party
Encourage your child to read by starting a book club or hosting a book party with family and friends. Have each child bring one of their favorite books to read and have him or her read it aloud or share a favorite part in that particular story.
12. Read books about their interests
If your child hates to read, but loves playing soccer, try reading him or her books about soccer or soccer players. If he or she enjoys that book, try to introduce similar books.
13. Go Book-Shopping
Take your child to your local book store and have him or her select a book while you do the same. Then be sure to set some time after book shopping to read your selections together.
14. Join a library or set-up a book exchange
Sign up for a membership at your local library or ask your child to share his or her favorite books with friends. Not only will you encourage your child to read, but you’ll also save money by borrowing books.
15. Get Cooking
Ask for child to help you in the kitchen by creating kid-friendly recipes. Have your child read you the ingredients, measure the amounts and read you the cooking or baking instructions. Your child will not only practice his or her reading abilities, but also create something delicious to eat!