75+ Quick Ways to Get and Keep Kids Reading

Adapted from The Reluctant Reader: How to Get and Keep Kids Reading by Wendy M. Williams, Ph.D.

  1. Be seen reading and enjoying it -- quoting, laughing, learning, sharing, etc.
  2. Have fun with reading: Link reading with pleasure in kids� minds.
  3. Read aloud to children starting when they're young.
  4. Have reading materials around where kids will see them.
  5. Take kids to the library often and show them how to use its resources.
  6. Show that you value reading -- buy books, and give and receive them as gifts.
  7. Make reading exciting -- show that books are full of good ideas that kids can use.
  8. Let kids choose their reading material (at the library, bookstore, etc.)
  9. Read ghost stories to kids.
  10. Read detective stories and have kids guess whodunit.
  11. Get subscriptions in kids� names to magazines focusing on topics they like.
  12. Have kids read to a family member or friend who can�t read anymore.
  13. Give rewards for reading -- a new book or gift certificate from a bookstore, art supplies, tickets to a play or event, a trip to a zoo or museum, an opportunity to stay up late to read.
  14. Keep a publicly visible list at home showing reading progress (how many books in how much time.)
  15. Have a book scavenger hunt -- kids circle objects as they find them in a story.
  16. Hang up a world map or a U.S. map and have a contest to see who can read more books about or taking place in more different places (cities, countries, etc.)
  17. Make a time line and have kids read historical novels that fit, marking it as appropriate.
  18. Obtain a historical map, and then get books that describe different points.
  19. Make a family card catalog to keep track of what family members have read.
  20. Have your kids help with recipes and actually read them aloud to you as you cook.
  21. Have kids find and choose recipes of their own and make them together.
  22. Ask kids to read nutrition labels to you. Make it fun: Say, "Who can tell me which one has more calories?" etc.
  23. Have kids make their own fortune cookies� with fortunes they typed or printed on small pieces of paper.
  24. Have a contest to see who can write the most disgusting recipe.
  25. Make a family cookbook.
  26. Let kids read catalogs to pick out gifts for themselves and others.
  27. Let kids clip coupons and keep the money that�s saved as long as they help with the shopping.
  28. Have kids make shopping lists.
  29. Have kids make a family telephone and address book.
  30. Wherever you and the kids travel, before and after, have kids read about the place.
  31. Let kids listen to books on tape in the car. (Good books!)
  32. Let kids read the map and help navigate.
  33. On the road: have kids find words containing letters of the alphabet -- one letter per word.
  34. Have kids help with a family journal or scrapbook of the family�s trips.
  35. Cut up a newspaper and ask kids to make the funniest mismatch of a story and a headline.
  36. Play board games that involve reading.
  37. Create a place in the home that�s set up for reading (make a special nook with shelves, etc.)
  38. Make a special children�s library section in your home.
  39. Ask kids their interpretations of current events -- leave newspapers around for them to read.
  40. Ask kids to collect and read movie reviews before the family decides which movie to go see.
  41. Collect books on a theme that will get kids psyched up to read more -- about dinosaurs or space travel.
  42. Suggest that your kids read the book before (or after) seeing the movie about it.
  43. If kids see something interesting on TV, get a book about it.
  44. Suggest party and Halloween costumes based on book characters.
  45. Make a family scrapbook and have kids write entries, captions, etc.
  46. Take a library tour with your kids.
  47. Sign kids up for library reading hours.
  48. Go to the zoo or museum, and then get books on topics kids liked.
  49. Get kids excited about history reading by suggesting they search through old newspapers for details about your town in the olden days.
  50. Have kids make a map of their favorite area around the home, town, a vacation spot, etc.
  51. Have kids attend bookstore events, like signings, readings, etc.
  52. Take kids to college or university campuses for events, picnics, sports, etc. � to get them used to the atmosphere of higher learning and the books involved.
  53. Take turns as a family reading funny books and essays aloud. Entertain one another instead of watching TV.
  54. Encourage friendships with other kids who like to read.
  55. Have kids make a book of their favorite limericks or nursery rhymes or jokes.
  56. Have kids use how-to books to build things, make gifts, do projects, learn a sport, etc.
  57. Give gifts of a book or the things the book talks about -- like a cookbook and the ingredients for a recipe, an astronomy book and a star chart, a nature book and a magnifying glass, a book about camping and a compass.
  58. Do crossword puzzles with kids -- or give them as gifts.
  59. Make a family Trivial Pursuit game based on your family trivia; have kids draw up cards.
  60. Make a Trivial Pursuit game based on kids favorite books.
  61. Have a bring-your-own-book slumber party.
  62. Have kids write their won sequels to favorite books or stories.
  63. Get a "why?" book and quiz each other: "why is the sky blue?
  64. Have kids write a family holiday letter or newsletter.
  65. Have kids write their won letter explaining their absences from school and other things for which letters from home are needed.
  66. Have kids design their own stationery, get it photocopied, and encourage them to write letters and thank you notes.
  67. Encourage kids to develop pen pals.
  68. Write a letter that everyone adds to and pass it on among family members and friends.
  69. Always have kids write thank you notes for gifts immediately -- before they are allowed to use the gifts.
  70. Have magazines, young adult novels and newspapers around the house.
  71. Ask kids to recommend books for others to read or to buy as gifts for others.
  72. Have kids role-play characters from stories, by reading aloud, dressing up and using props, performing the books dialogue, etc.
  73. Have kids read to their younger siblings, friends and relatives.
  74. Encourage kids to read aloud to you whenever possible to develop their skills and confidence.
  75. Tell kids about a book you just read that they might like-whet their appetites, read a small section, and then leave the book around where they can read it.
  76. Ask kids often of their opinions of books their reading.
  77. Use positive peer pressure: get your kids into playgroups or social settings with avid readers.
  78. Encourage kids to read anything in the newspaper at all -- even horoscopes, letters to the editor, comics, movie reviews, anything!
  79. Lets kids read short stories instead of longer books -- they�ll get a greater sense of completion and gratification.
  80. Encourage kids to write their own plays or other works.
  81. Encourage kids to read in bed before sleeping every night.