Getting our kids to read consistently can be a challenge. But given how the end of the school year just went down, you may be especially worried that you need to help them step up their reading game, at least so they don’t slip backward in the months leading up to whatever fall will bring. We’ve written quite a bit about reading over the years, so I’ve curated for you some of our best tips for little kids and big kids, as well as some overall trickier tactics we endorse.
For little kids
Little kids often love to read. They love the one-on-one time with their parent or caregiver, they love to flip the pages and to read the same books over and over so they know what is coming up next. And yet, you may still find yourself in a rut, reading the same books at the same time every day.
Here are a few tactics you can take to freshen up the reading experience for both of you (if you’re reading together) or for them (if they’re going it solo):
G/O Media may get a commission
For older kids
Older kids can be a tougher sell when it comes to regular reading time. Around age nine, many kids stop reading for fun. Their schedules become packed (or, at least, this was true pre-pandemic). Adults have stopped reading to them. They begin to see it as something that is less for personal enjoyment and more as something that is expected of them. But there are still some things you can do with your older kids to keep them reading, even if they’re a bit unconventional:
At any age, trick ‘em a little
I’m not saying you should all-out deceive your children into reading, but I am saying that reading doesn’t only “count” when the words are part of a written book or magazine.
My son went through a massive Pokémon phase during which he would pore over the cards, reading what were honestly pretty advanced words and names. When his teacher assigned his class extra nighttime and weekend reading, we decided that studying his Pokémon cards would count for at least a portion that time, particularly since he read the facts out loud to us.
You can also:
Figure out what they’re into right now and feed that passion with words. Get books on their favorite sport or topic. Get zombie books or magic books or joke books. Get them into comic books—comic books are books, you know. Get them Mad Libs!
Reading shouldn’t feel like a chore, so there’s no reason to make it one; it’s good to be a little flexible here.
Meet the smartest parents on Earth! Join our parenting Facebook group.