Thursday, February 11, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Encouragement

This weeks Booking Through Thursday question was suggested by Barbara H and she asks:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”

Some ideas I have for getting kids to read:
  • Read to them... even if they are teenagers.

  • Read with them... have a book club of sorts with your own kids, read a couple of chapters each on your own, then have discussions about what you've just read.

  • If they like to write, start a book journal with them. It's like writing letters back and forth to each other but write about what you are reading, all in a notebook that you pass between the two of you.

  • If they don't like a book, don't make them read it... keep trying with different books until you hit upon one that works.

  • If you do find one that works, let them read it over and over.... and/or read the whole series over and over.... even if YOU think that sounds boring and pointless.

  • have a set time of day that is reading time... this works for younger kids

  • make sure they see you reading.

  • involve them in the next readathon!

  • have them read books where they are familiar with it because of the movie. Or read the book then watch the movie. Or watch the movie then read the book.

How's that for a start? What do you think? Has anyone tried these things and they worked?


  1. LOL! You have some great suggestions, but your last line just made me laugh. Are you suggesting they might not work? ;-)

    I did read aloud to my oldest all the time. When he was in kindergarten, we would take turns reading chapter books. We slogged through the first three HP books that way. I recently started it again now that he's nine, and he loves it. I really need to start that with my youngest. I'm not certain HP would be a good fit for her though.

  2. We did that with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We read the book and then rented the movie. My post is here.

  3. I love your suggestions! I forgot all about the read-a-thon! A few of the kids participated with me during the last one. It ended up being really fun and relaxing. Great post.

  4. I pay close attention to what they're interested in then I look for books about that subject. I also keep a lot of graphic novels and comic books lying around.

  5. I love all those suggestions! I don't have kids of my own yet but when I do, if they aren't readers, this topic had me really thinking!



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