I’ve heard that getting kids to read things is hard. I don’t have kids so I cant vouch for that comment. In fact from my experience I would say it would be more difficult to stop kids from reading.
I mean I used to read all the time. I still do (though I have to admit I’m slower than I used to be [600 pages = 2 weeks]) . Its escapist, it gives your brain some imagination juice, its addictive. I guess not everyone gets the same joy out of reading though, its pretty sedentary and anti social (if you see my first post I’ve never joined a book group, but I’m pretty sure they don’t just get together in a room and read at the same time…do they?) and if you’re an over energetic kid; who wants to sit and read when you can back-flip off the trampoline into a sandpit, right?
The aim is to make reading cool. or Kewl as my mother says.
If THEY like reading It MUST be kool right?
I used to remember when I first went to the library and they used to have up these celebrity endorsement posters for reading. There was this silly Simpsons one.
I say silly because at the time this poster was made, books were losing out to television in the entertainment stakes. Who on Earth thought it was a smart idea to use the enemy of reading on pro reading posters? I might sound angsty but as someone who was not allowed to watch the Simpsons as a kid, this just made me want to watch the Simpsons more.
Or take this one. (I really wished I could find the Michael Jordan Reading Poster, because that was one from my childhood, but this will have to do).
Don’t know about you but nothing inspires me more to read than seeing Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott holding a book.
When she was singing “Pass that Dutch” its quite clear she was talking about one of Dick Bruna’s Miffy Books, right?
Bad jokes aside, they just don’t make enough of these posters anymore. Celebrity endorsement of anything has really lost its appeal (thanks Warnie ), it would probably be better to have a closer to home role model endorse reading. Maybe a parents who read more would encourage kids to pick up a book?
The Better Alternative: The Material I read is Kool so i want to read it
This is the real clincher. Finding something that your kids like reading. If every parent could do that, then a lot of woes would be solved. Here’s some tips.
Start with what you liked. Nostalgia can be a great starting point. I grew up with the Folk of the Faraway Tree because my Mother enjoyed them. They were great, there was lots of adventures, funny characters with names like DICK and FANNY and some moral lessons to be learnt!
Don’t fall into thinking your kid doesn’t like reading because they don’t like fiction. Try getting them a Non Fiction book. Something like Guinness World Records or Horrible Histories may interest them more than Beast Quest or Geronimo Stillton. ‘Facts fill in the blanks’ so next time they ask you WHY something is the way it is…provide them with a book! These books are generally kept separate from the Junior or Children’s books.
Books with their name in the title
This is obviously hard for some (if your child’s name is the symbol ~ for example) or easy for others (Thomas. Harry. Judy. Spot?) But it makes remembering characters easy.
If you’ve got a smart phone, then you’ve got access to hundreds of books online. Kids will read it if its on a cool device, in the same way adults will read stuff if its on a Kindle. It makes reading, which has been around for years- fresh again. Give it a go. Delete Angry Birds and download Mr Popper’s Penguins (the book, not the movie).
Ask A Librarian
Librarian’s have degrees in choosing books for kids.
Authors and publishers love creating series. It means they can market a book as part of a whole rather than the whole its’ self. You read one, there’s another. There are tried and tested characters. There is a repeated formula. They are usually safe choices too. Parents know when their kids are reading one, that they will most likely be the same as the others.
Rainbow Magic-Daisy Meadows
Felicity Wishes-Emma Thomson
The Saddle Club-Bonnie Bryan
Zac Power-H.I Larry
Beast Quest-Adam Blade
Geronimo Stillton- Edizioni Piemme
Tiara Club-Vivian French
I’ve got a few gripes about these. But they work. Kids churn through them and if the aim is just to get them reading, then this might be the trick you’ve been looking for. A word of warning, they might drive you a bit insane if you have to read them all the time though (Check out this post )…otherwise maybe find the Missy Elliott Poster, stick it in your kids room and play her Best of CD on repeat until they read.