3 Simple Hacks to Get Your Kids to Read More Books

Getting kids to read can be a real chore. We’ve all fought with reluctant readers about what to read and how long to read it. Here are three simple strategies backed by real research for getting your kids to read more books with less hassle.

Let Them Choose Their Own Books (Even If They Choose Comics)

Do you like to be told what to read? Of course not. Neither do kids. Between assigned books for school and books adults think a kid should read, children often don’t get a lot of say in the matter. That’s a problem. 

Research shows that when kids get to choose what they read, scores shoot up as much as 18%. 

But what if they only want to read comics and graphic novels? Let em. Study after study has demonstrated that reading improves just as much with comics as it does with traditional books. Nice work, Spidey.

Use a Reading Itinerary

Recommended by reading expert and book whisperer Donalyn Miller: have your kids track their reading with a Reading Itinerary. An RI keeps track of what the kid read, where they read it, and for how long. It’s the where part that matters. 

This sounds like your basic reading log, but the point here isn’t for your kid to prove they did their reading. Instead, it’s to help a child make connections between where/when they read and the quality of that reading.

Many kids don’t immediately recognize that certain spaces and times are more conducive than others. By tracking their reading, they can identify the places and times that work best for them. Just be sure to make clear up front that this isn’t a dreaded reading log, and keep the tracking to two weeks at most.

Take a Book Wherever You Go

We’re all busy. Which means finding even a 20-minute block of time to read is rough. Instead of trying to always set aside designated time to read, encourage your kids to bring books with them and read during the small breaks between events. 

“I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in.”

Stephen King

This is actually how most avid readers get through so many books. They don’t set aside three hours a day to read. Instead, they read while waiting in line, while sitting in the doctor’s office, while stuck in the Starbucks drive-thru. Or, as in Stephen King’s case, at a Red Sox game.

A few pages here and there add up.

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