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Get Kids Reading in Five Easy Steps

Parents and teachers everywhere want to get kids reading—and with good reason. Reading isn’t just relaxing and peaceful; it also increases intelligence, improves communication skills, and even helps readers to better understand others’ feelings and emotions. And reading is fun too! But what are we to do for children who don’t like it? Will these reluctant readers ever find joy in books? Yes, it’s absolutely possible with the right approach. Here are five steps to get you started.

1. Read to Them

Critter Litter and Whose Butt?If you want to get kids reading, begin by sharing books on a regular basis. For younger children, a story before bed is always welcome. At my house, the 6-year-old loves silly (yet educational!) books like Whose Butt? and Critter Litter.

For reluctant readers who are “too old” for bedtime stories, get creative. Perhaps dig out a book of interest after dinner and share a chapter or a short story. With Halloween approaching, something spooky like Monsters of the Midwest is a great one to read aloud.

2. Go to the Library

There’s something magical about a library visit that appeals to us all. It’s like a shopping trip, a treasure hunt, and an opportunity to choose topics of interest. Get kids reading by making a special visit to the library at least once every two or three weeks. Even reluctant readers can’t resist. As often as not, they’ll come home with a book.

Sophie's Night Sky Adventure and Poachers Caught!3. Cater to Their Interests

As a child, I wasn’t much of a reader. Lucky for me, my parents got this right. Back then, reading only “counted” if it was a traditional book, but my parents thought outside the box. I liked superheroes, so I was given comic books. I loved football, so we subscribed to Sports Illustrated.

Find your child’s interests, and provide reading opportunities to match. For instance, if you have a young stargazer, try Sophie’s Night Sky Adventure. An older child with an interest in hunting and fishing might enjoy Poachers Caught!

4. Get Them into a Book Series

When we finish a good book, we want more. That’s especially true for kids, who might read the same book over and over again if they love it. Getting them hooked on a book series is a perfect way to get kids reading. They already know the characters. They already like the concept. It’s much easier for reluctant readers to jump into that next book when they don’t have to wade through “that boring introduction stuff.”

5. Let Them Catch You Reading

If we want to raise readers, we need to start being readers. We can tell kids to read and explain the importance of it, but as the old cliché goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Set a good example, and kids are more likely to follow.

Ryan Jacobson

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