How to Keep Kids Reading When They’d Rather Be Playing
At some point, most kids will have to go solo. Encourage a reluctant reader to knock out those required pages with these tips.
“My kids don’t always want to go to the grocery store with me, but they know it happens every week,” says Kari Riedel, founder of the website Bookopolis. “We set aside time for soccer practice. Why not to read?”
Advocate for Options.
An article in School Library Journal noted that teachers estimated a 30 percent jump in reading when children chose books themselves. “Talk to teachers. Advocate for summer reading lists that are broad, allow choice, and include modern books,” says Jen Robinson, a blogger at growingbookworms.com. For younger kids who have to complete reading logs, ask teachers to allow alternative journaling, such as illustrating a new cover, writing a letter to the author, or creating a map of a book’s setting, says Kiera Parrott, reviews director at School Library Journal.
Be a Negotiator.
Riedel used this tactic on her middle schooler: “I tell him, ‘You want me to drive you to baseball three times a week. I want you to read for 20 minutes a day.’ It’s quid pro quo—and a little bit of guilt—but it sometimes works.”
Know When to Quit.
“Sometimes it’s OK to skip hard parts. And sometimes it’s OK to abandon a book,” says Pam Allyn, founder of LitWorld and author of What to Read When. “If it’s a mandatory book, say to your kid, ‘You read a page, and then I’ll read a page.’ Be an ally. He won’t remember that hard book. What he’ll remember is you advocating for him to be a reader.”