By: Jolene Roehlkepartian
True statement: If you give your child the choice of playing a video game or reading a book, the video game will win almost every time. Simple solution: Don’t give your kids those kinds of choices…
So, you’re probably thinking, “That’s easier said than done.” Am I right? Well, don’t let your child resign from reading without trying these tips first:
1. Make reading a part of your child’s everyday schedule. Even if he reads for only 15 minutes a day, reading a little bit can make a big difference.
2. Make reading more interesting to kids. Visit your local library. Talk with a librarian about what kids in your child’s age group are reading. Local libraries have greatly expanded their reading selection. They now have Manga (a popular type of graphic novel) sections. Some have comic books. Most have magazines. Take your child the library and explore what’s there. Trust me; something will spark her interest!
3. Download free reading lists and share them with your kids. The International Reading Association publishes the Children’s Choices Reading List, which are reading lists created by kids, for kids.
The American Library Association also publishes booklists for teenagers through its Young Adult Library Services Association.
4. Ask (or have your kids ask) their friends about their favorite books. Find out what other kids are reading and which books they enjoy most. Both of my kids have discovered a lot of interesting reading material based on the suggestions of friends and classmates.
5. Visit used bookstores and book swaps. Our county library system has a used-book sale going on every month at one or more of its 41 local libraries. This is a great way to stock up inexpensively, especially if your library offers a bag sale at the end, where for $5, a child can load up a grocery-sized bag full of used books.
6. Create a reading club. Try not to limit the club to girls or boys only. Make it for everybody! Create a reading club for your child’s best friends or create a mixed group of kids and parents. Read a book a month and then get together and talk about it. As a bonus, host meetings in your home. Create a fun and inviting environment for kids with plenty of snacks and comfortable chairs and pillows.
7. Talk about what you’re reading. Kids are more open to reading if you’re reading. Too often, it’s hard to read when you’re a parent because your to-do list is long. In our family, we subscribe to magazines so that our kids can often see us reading. We also try to discuss what we’re reading at the dinner table.
8. Get a magazine subscription for your child. Kids love getting mail. Find a magazine that they’re excited about and subscribe to it. (Most annual magazine subscriptions are quite affordable.) Visit your local library and check out different magazines to see which ones catch your kids’ eyes, then swing by a local bookstore to scour the magazine rack. Finding magazines for young children often is easier than finding magazines for teenagers, but once you take a teenager to a bookstore, most find something that interests them. Right now one of my teenagers subscribes to Popular Photography. The other one subscribes to Dwell, a magazine about residential architecture.
9. Get excited about reading! Reading is about exploring new worlds and new ideas. Reading opens you up to new experiences. Talk about what you’re learning and discovering through reading, and remember the most important tip of all:
10. Reading is reading, is reading! It doesn’t necessarily matter what your child is reading as long as he’s enjoying it!
Tell Us: ——————> What do you and your kids enjoy reading?
1. Scholastic, “New Study on Reading in the Digital Age: Parents Say Electronic, Digital Devices Negatively Affect Kids’ Reading Time,” news release, September 29, 2010.
2. Summer Learning, Parentfurther.
3. Image via DeaPeaJay on Flick’r.