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Reluctant Readers to Book Worms: Tricky Tips to Making Any Kid a Reader


Reading is an important life-long skill. And, developing strong reading habits from an early age sets the stage for continued good reading habits throughout life. These are the simple facts. But, even if we know WHY reading skills are important to develop from a young age, often the process of getting kids to become enthusiastic readers requires more than telling them that literacy skills are important.

The Importance of Reading: A Quick Review

Good reading habits are not just about developing strong literacy skills in the quest for good grades—reading is a habit that has benefits for students and adults alike:

•    Reading increases vocabulary and vocabulary has been shown to be a key indicator of future school success (Did you know that studies show that vocabulary use in grade one predicts more than 30% of 11th grade reading comprehension?)
•    Reading is THE core skill that is used in learning every subject in school
•    Reading has been shown to activate several different areas of the brain simultaneously
•    Reading can improve social skills
•    Reading books (not EReaders or off a monitor of any sort) can cut back on the amount of time spent in front of media and technology (up to 7 hours a day)

How to Encourage Reading . The Basics:

•    Make books available to kids.
•    Go to the Library.
•    Gifts books as gifts.
•    Lead by example—kids become readers when they have a role model who reads.
•    Read a book as a family—get multiple copies for all members.
•    Read to young children every night.
•    Try a new genre.
•    Read anything—cookbooks, magazines, comics, textbooks…
•    Get a nightlight for your kids’ beds.
•    Put a book on the bedside table.
•    Read books from a series.
•    Read books from the same author.
•    Read books that are becoming movies.
•    Read scary books and up the thrill quotient!
•    Have a school friend recommend a book.
•    Ask the schoolteacher what the other kids in the class are reading.
•    Listen to audio books in the car.

Advanced Tips:

But what if you’ve tried all these tips and your child is still more slug worm that bookworm? We came across these great tricky tips that just might help:

Give kids banned books—or let them read above their level… anything that sparks their interest. Tell them the book is bad (for whatever reason) and they’ll only want to read it more. Sounds like Psychology 101!

Stop reading right a good part—leave the story right before the climax, and guaranteed your child will be curious enough to read in order to find out what happens next!

This tip from blogger Eden Kennedy of the blog Fussy might be the best tip yet: Read something funny to yourself and laugh about it.  When your child asks what’s funny, simply tell him that he won’t get it.  Watch this video of Eden explain how she gets her son, who would rather play video games, involved in reading—tricky!  And awesome!

Do you have sneaky ways to get your kids to read? We’d love to hear them!  Leave us a comment or share them on Twitter or Facebook.

More articles about reading:

POW! Comic Books Punch Up Reading Abilities

Why Phonics Builds Better Readers

Harry Potter is Magic for Kids’ Literacy