Five Ideas to Motivate Children to Read

Utah Idaho Supply is a resource for great ways to help your child excel, and their experts have picked five ways to help make your child a reader.

1. Connect reading with your child’s passion. Whether it’s soccer, skateboarding or space travel, get a subscription to a magazine or book on that topic. Also consider general magazines for children, such as Highlights, Nickleodeon or Time for Kids. If it has his name on the address label, a magazine becomes a personal invitation to read.

Example: My son loves history, so I purchased a subscription to a children’s magazine “Cobblestone.” When he sees it in the mail, he knows it is for him so he pulls it out and reads it cover to cover within two days.
Other Info: If you have a son who is a reluctant reader, ask your librarian which authors have a following among boys. Walter Dean Myers, for example, writes about a wide range of topics from basketball to biography. Many of this award-winning author’s books are more appropriate for teen-agers. Slam!, published by Scholastic Paperbacks, is about a Harlem high school boy who loves basketball and struggles with school. Shooter, published by Amistad, focuses on the aftermath of a high school shooting.
But Myers also writes books for younger readers. Among them: The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, published by Scholastic Paperbacks, and Smiffy Blue, Ace Crime Detective: The Case of the Missing Ruby and Other Stories, Rebound by Sagebrush.

2. Tell your child a joke or a riddle — and pull out the book where you found it. Joke books, riddle books and books of sports trivia are irresistible to some of the most reluctant readers. Keep a book like this handy in the car, in the kitchen, at the doctor’s office, on vacation or at the ballpark.

3. Read With Your Child
One of the big mistakes parents make is to stop reading to their kids once they can read chapter books. If you have an older child, she suggests reading the same book at the same time and then just chatting about it.

It helps you know if they’re comprehending what they read, and it also gives you something to talk about as kids get older,” she said. “We sometimes drive some kids to hate reading by making them do something after they finish a book — make a diorama or write a book report.

“As an adult, think about what you do when you finish a book you like. You tell someone about it. Basically, you just have a conversation.”

One parent says the only way she can get her 12-year-old daughter to finish a book is by taking turns reading with her. After she reads a chapter, they discuss it, and then they switch roles for the following chapter. Another parent suggests that by reading aloud together the parent is able to determine the child’s level of comprehension. Plus there is the added benefit of sharing quality time with your kids by reading together.

Example: One of the requirements in his fourth grade class is that every student read six Newberry books during the year. Since he loves history, my son chose Johnny Tremain. If you have read this book, you know there is some very difficult vocabulary and he got bogged down about page 75. I decided to take turns reading with him. This was just the help he needed to get through a difficult book and it was a fun and positive experience for both of us.

4. Read the newspaper aloud. Start reading parts of newspaper articles aloud and encourage your child to do the same. Some newspapers even have children’s sections. This is a great way to engage your child in conversation and promote his interest in what is going on in the world. Suggest to your child that he read aloud to a sibling or young friend, or volunteer together to read to an elderly person.

Example: My son is a football fanatic. He jumps out of bed in the morning to get the paper from the front porch. He loves to read about the football games the day before. We often have to take the paper away from him so he won’t be late for school.

5. Put books everywhere in your home.

Baskets of books in each room encourage children to pick up the books and thumb through them. Keep books next to their bed and everywhere where your children spend time. If a book is the closest thing, they’ll pick it up.

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