Thursday, March 05, 2009

How to Get Your Child to Read (and Some Free Books)

B Is for BaseballMy husband and I love to read and all of our children have liked it too--more or less--at different times. Each child is different of course. Grace (15), for example, has always loved to read and has just finished ploughing through Jane Austen's six novels but Spencer (12) who liked to read when he was younger has had a harder time enjoying books.

I suspect that Spencer isn't alone and that it's pretty common for children who once loved reading to fall out of the habit once they hit those crazy pre-teen years so today I'm sharing some of the things I've been doing lately to help encourage Spencer (and David by extension) to get back into reading.

1. Start early. This probably is what you'd call a no-brainer but really--but it's best to start early. You can't just look up when your kids are getting ready to go to high school and wonder why they haven't picked up a book in seven years. If you want them to read you have to establish good habits early on. This of course means starting before they can actually put together words and symbols on their own. However, if you haven't made reading a part of your home in the past don't despair. Kids are remarkably resilient and if you decide today to give it a go you'll find they're in step with you before too long.

2. Don't give them a choice. I've come to the conclusions that free will is highly overrated in so many things. For example, if you were to lay out a buffet on your kitchen counter and present a dozen luscious cinnamon rolls, a bag of Doritos, a six-pack of root beer, a Big Mac with fries and a bowl of apples I can guarantee which one your children wouldn't reach for first. It's just human nature. Part of the job of a parent is to teach and train until those good habits are woven in and sometimes that means putting your foot down and saying "Absolutely not!"

So don't give them a choice about whether to read or not. Or more accurately, make reading the most attractive choice. For example, if you put out that same buffet but instead of leaving the apples to fight their battle against a Big Mac put out the apples with a bag of prunes and a bowl of stale Saltines and NOW see which one they choose.

So it is with reading. If given the chance kids will always choose television or video games over the work of sounding out and visualizing a story. It's just not as easy and things tend to choose the path of least resistance. Don't give them options.

"It's bedtime. You are going to bed at 7pm (or 8pm or whatever) and you can read for half an hour. An hour if you're quiet but then it's lights out."

If given the choice between reading and going to bed, my kids will take reading any day. I just don't allow television to enter into the equation when it's time to read.

3. Read out loud. Another thing they're nearly guaranteed to love is having time with you. So if you want them to read don't tell them to go off in a corner and do it alone, do it with them. Either have a family night where everyone pulls out a book to sit by the fire with a bowl of popcorn and read individually or make them lie in their beds while you read to them.

With our remodel I sit on a chair in the new section right between the two rooms where the sliding door divides the two spaces and I'll make Lillian and the boys get into their beds then I'll read to them from the middle with the sliding door open where all three can hear me. It's pleasant and relaxing and they like the mom-time so now they've begun request it.

4. Be consistent. It's too hard to do this every night but make reading part of the routine just like brushing the teeth and getting that drink of water. Get them while they're relaxed and tired and not able to put up a fuss. Shoot for three times a week then see what works for you but stick with it--don't start into a book, get a few chapters in, then abandon ship. Unless of course it's a stinky book then you have my permission to toss it. We've done that plenty of times--just get something else quick and give it another try.

5. Read above their level. It may surprise you to learn that Gone with the Wind, The Last of the Mohicans, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Horatio Hornblower series are all at a junior high reading level. As childhood extends its borders farther and farther, lasting longer and longer children are not being challenged as much as they used to be until many adults say they can't read Shakespeare, the Bible or Chaucer because they're "too hard to understand."

It surprises me how all of Grace's high school friends are still reading novels my boys read when they were eight--Harry Potter and the multitude of knock-offs that have sprung up are too basic for any high school student to be reading except as an easy treat. It's the equivalent of a literary bowl of ice cream which is fine now and then but eating it consistently will just make your brain fat and flabby.

The dumbing down of literature is something that concerns me (though not in the same way as, say, world peace--just to put things into perspective) and I want my children to be proficient in understanding the masters of their own language. Get them started reading hard stuff as young as you can and what's surprising is that while they may be reading independently at one level you can read out loud to them at a much higher grade level and still have the pleasure of the experience remain in tact. Read as far above them as you can and have them still understand what's happening. If necessary pick a story they're familiar with so that they know the plot and can discern the meaning of words from the context but challenge them.

Kids like to be challenged--it makes them feel more grown up.

6. Be aware of your audience. While you're reading aloud be aware of your children. Pause to ask them questions such as, "Do you understand what's happening?" and "Do you need me to explain anything?"

If you are about to pass over a difficult section you have my permission to skip it if necessary. You're trying to train them, not bore them to tears so if you've got three pages of description of ripples on the water and you can tell you're going to lose them--skip it. They'll never know the difference.

Tony and the Pizza Champions7. Adjust your pace. While reading out loud make sure you are involved. For heavens sake, don't drone! If it's a suspenseful part read a little slower to build the effect, rising in your tone as you go. If it's a fight scene read a bit faster as if you're cutting from camera angle to camera angle. If it's romance skip it all together (at least that's my boys' feelings) but adjust your performance to fit the story.

Don't worry if it's silly, it probably is, but that will just make it all the more fun for your children and your friends aren't there to see your goofiness so have fun with it.

8. Be aware of your child's interests. Know what your child enjoys and look for books along those interests. Dinosaurs? Whales? Boats? There are great books for all those subjects. Don't be afraid of biographies. Harry Houdini, Charles Lindburgh, Queen Elizabeth, Sir Edmund Hilary, Daniel Boone, they all had interesting lives and reading stories about famous people is a great way to introduce some history into your child's diet at the same time.

9. Read something too. If you want your children to read then you'd better be reading too. Nothing like a good example to help with good habits is there? Talk about the latest book you're reading over the dinner table. Ask what everyone else is reading. Make books available in your home, play books on tape or CD instead of the radio when you're in the car. Whatever it takes to cultivate an atmosphere of learning in your home.

10. Be prepared to sacrifice. If your child were hungry wouldn't you do practically anything to make sure they were fed? Well feeding their mind requires sacrifice as well. It may mean that you don't get to kick back in front of the television because you're busy reading aloud for that half hour each night. It may mean that you go nearly crazy trying to convince them to read independently and regularly. It may mean that you spend time looking for books that are appropriate. It may mean that you force yourself to do more reading in order to encourage by example but whatever it is I can guarantee it will take more time than the alternative. Parenting is like that.

But I can also guarantee that the payoffs for both you and the children will be wonderful.

***

Duck! Rabbit!As a bonus feature for this post Chronicle Books has graciously offered a selection of some of their latest publications for children which you see pictured here and which I'll be giving away to a random reader.

Tony and the Pizza Champions by Tony Gemignani. This is based on the story of the team who has won the world pizza tossing competition eight times. How about reading this book and having some fun tossing your own dough as a supplemental activity? The link has video clips of the real guys in action.

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
A picture book that uses optical illusions to tell the story. Is it a duck or a rabbit? Depends on what you see. Looks like a fun book that children would enjoy at many ages and could inspire some fun art projects. Collages, line drawings--can you make your picture look like two things at once?

B Is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z. This one is one my ten year-old would love. He's been reading a series of short novels about a boy who time travels to meet up with famous long-gone baseball heroes like Satchel Page and I can imagine this would hit a home run.

Find topics that they like--that's the way to get them hooked on reading. Once they discover how much they can learn from a book and how fun it is to learn new things you've done your job well.

To win these three books please leave a comment before Monday morning March 9th and I'll draw a winner Monday morning. Good luck!

Next week I'll be posting a list of books that I've been reading to the boys and will be reading. I guess you'd call it a "Read Aloud Booklist for Boys." Though I'm a girl and I'm sure enjoying them too.


***

And totally unrelated but . . . if you didn't see it already in my Tweet yesterday you can get U2's new CD at Amazon for $3.99 downloaded right to itunes. Downright groovy huh? Yes I love that crazy Irish foursome and so far my assessment of No Line on the Horizon is that it's pretty darn good.

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195 comments:

MoziEsmé said...

I love these tips! I love reading and take it for granted that my daughter will too, but I do want to make sure it happens! And those books look wonderful...

Serena said...

These are such great tips. i agree: free will is way overrated in so many things. Parents are supposed to teach and train, not just let kids run wild. You said it well.

chelle said...

We are big readers here. Our kids are young so we read aloud to them a lot. A lot.

Jolanthe said...

The books look great - and we are book junkies here. :)

Jolanthe

branda50 said...

Good tips...My grandchildren and I take turns reading...Page or paragraph, depending on the age and the book...

Chris said...

Great tips!

A Southern Mom Of 3 said...

Thank you for your tip! I love to read as do my children; however, I have noticed that my 13 year old has slacked off due to his homework and athletics. I think a little push does not hurt.

Have a great day!

Jennifer said...

As a former teacher, I can't tell you how badly I wish more parents would follow this advice.

If our children see us enjoying reading, then they will catch it too. The problem is, they all too often see us enjoying TV. I could go on and on... guess I better write my own post! :)

Thanks for the idea and the giveaway.

K said...

Have you ever heard of Dr. Ben Carson? Recently, there was a TNT movie featuring Cuba Gooding, Jr. called "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story". Anyway, Dr. Carson's mother (who couldn't read when her boys were young) required her boys to get books from the library and write reports every week! Dr. Carson's story is truly amazing, you should look into it. I've got a 14 month old baby and I can't wait to start reading his book reports! :)
-Karen

Katherine said...

I've had really good success with starting reading a book aloud to my kids and then they get impatient to find out what happens and they pick it up and read it. Also with having books available in the car - a book that they might not pick up on their own at home gets much more interesting if the only alternative is looking out the window.

I've had a lot of trouble finding interesting books for above grade level boy readers - for a while we went heavily to non-fiction (not a genre I liked as a kid). Now my almost 13 yo boy is heavily into manga, but he does read some other stuff too.

Edi said...

I am always a bit shocked when an adult will tell me "I don't really like to read" or "I don't read for enjoyment". I don't get it...how could someone NOT enjoy it.

Your tips are great! I especially agree with reading above their level. That one has probably saved MY sanity on all our read alouds :)

breckster said...

Oh Doctor game some advice that really helped me put reading in perspective...I should read with my three year old the same amount that he watches TV. This will show you their attention span, and make sure that the boob tube doesn't turn your babe into a boob.

Amelia said...

Great list of tips! My kids love to read and they LOVE the library. Our children's librarian is amazing. My husband is reading through the Chronicles of Narnia series to our 4yo. We thought it would be above her but have been amazed at her comprehension and retention of the stories.

Robin said...

My 8 year old has FINALLY started to become a read (in the "interested in reading" sense, technically he's been reading for years) - he's currently devouring "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" in Hebrew, and has several English books in his to be read pile. I nearly tripped over myself running to the register when he actually asked me if he could buy a few English books in the store the other day! (Our library has a lousy selection of English children's books because it's a foreign language here, i.e. kids his age and even older are barely starting to encounter Run Spot Run type books.) We can't wait until Grandma shows up next month with more English books :). To encourage him to develop his English reading skills (he's the only English speaker in his entire SCHOOL) we have him read for ten minutes every (okay, most) days. He fought it for a long time, but he's finally reached a critical mass in terms of ability and is now able to start reading more for enjoyment. As a voracious reader myself I'm thrilled.

Randy, Ally, and Wes said...

I totally agree with those tips . . . I grew up loving to read, and my husband grew up hating it, and the difference really was how literature was handled in the home. Thanks for the great post!

Mom24 said...

Great tips. I would add a couple. My youngest two are 6 and 8. We read every night for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, they go to bed and read for anther 20-40 minutes, depending on how much time before they really need to get to bed. That time feel stolen to them, they feel almost like they're getting away with something--getting to stay up later than they used to so they can read.

To go along with your start early, I mean EARLY. We read 2 or 3 picture books every night, then I read from a chapter book to them. Even at 3 years old we were doing this, they've enjoyed the Ramona books, Fudge, Little House Series, Swiss Family Robinson, Mr. Poppers Penguins and many, many others. There are so many books we've shared together that they may not have been exposed to otherwise. They love them and it really helps them down the road in their schooling as they make connections to other literature they're being exposed to.

We love reading (like you couldn't tell), and I'm always sad when I see my kid's friends who don't. Most of the time, they didn't grow up being read to. It really does build a wonderful foundation.

Kara said...

Such great tips. Two of my favorite sights are seeing kids outside in the neighborhoods riding bikes and playing and families sitting together reading and chatting. Call me old-fashioned.

I think I will bookmark this for when we have kids.

Leigh said...

What a great article! We are already reading to our 5-month-old and would love any suggestions about books young boys enjoy.

Thanks for a great blog and a though-provoking post.

Janelle said...

I think we've got #5 down already. My daughter is 10 months old, and my husband has been reading The Hobbit to her for months already. Mostly because he just loves it so much.

I'd love to win these books.

Mandy said...

These are great and work too. I do this and my oldest is an avid reader now and my middle is trying so hard and is excited to begin read as well. It is a fun activity to do together.

Marla Taviano said...

Love this post! Thanks!

Rachel C. said...

Awesome tips! I agree with your feelings on the dumbing down of literature! It is sad, and it does concern me because I got the majority of my vocabulary from reading. If kids now only read the ice cream stuff, what are their vocabularies going to be?!

fortyb4forty said...

Great tips. Our boys love to read and I am always looking for something new for them to read. I need to look at some older classics for them.

The Wacky Pepperds said...

Great advice! Great books! Thank you for the awesome blog....I look forward to reading every morning with my coffee. Thanks

Janet said...

We read to the kids every night, and pretty often during the day. Sometimes the Queen will get a book and "read" to her brother. She can have some of the simpler books read to her once and repeat it almost verbatim. So far DeBoy is still into Dr. Seuss (I have Fox in Socks memorized now, among others), but the Mountain Man has been reading things like Paddington and Stuart Little to the Queen. I firmly believe in reading above their age level. When he gets through with those I may start her on the Little House books. She likes Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle too.

Karen B said...

We always knew when our boys were asleep by the thunk of the book hitting the floor! Books are my favorite gift for my grand/greatgrandkids.

Erin said...

What a great post! Thank you for all of the tips.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

As usual you've written a great post! The tips are wonderful. #8 is biggy. My parents were so worried about my brother who wouldn't read anything. One day my dad brought home a comic book and the rest is history. They were so relieved to have found something he liked. They did have to settle for him just reading comic books for a year or two but after that he was ready to move on. He's now one of the most well read people I know.

cndymkr / jean said...

I got my love of books from my mother and I've passed it down to my son. He'll actually ask to go to Barnes and Noble! Every year he gets a gift certificate from my mother and it's been a greatly anticipated gift. Now if I could only remember not to misplace the library books I might be able to go back there!!

Melissa said...

My older loves to read and used to fall asleep surrounded by books he was "reading" to himself (at the age of 2). He is now learning to read on his own and I love it! I can't wait for him to be able to read anything by himself!
My younger is becoming more interested, but he is particular about the books read to him. These books look like they would be great for both of them.
Thanks for the post!

fruitfulwords said...

Timely post. Reading is a love of mine and I read to my kiddos during their childhood. One year we read all the books in the children's section of a small local library. My dd loves to read, but not my son.

My dd (24 y.o) recently moved home for a few months and we read out loud to each other most nights.

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for these tips! I love reading with my son- now 15 months old- we have been reading together since he was just a few weeks old, and he already loves books! :)

Karen B said...

Me again! My tip - use the library! I took my 3 boys to the library every week or two and they all had library cards at an early age. I guess I was the only mother in the neighborhood to do this because soon other children asked if they could come along. When we got home everyone who had checked out books - including neighbor's kids - would come into the kitchen where we marked their names and # of books checked out on the calendar on the date due.

My boys are long grown and gone but I still see some of their friends in the neighborhood. Many have mentioned how they remember our trips and thanked me for letting them join us. They have now passed on their love of books to their kids.

Stacy said...

We love reading and all kinds of books around here. Every night we have reading time and everyone just sits down and reads for awhile. Reading is definitely a big thing at house, so the kids would love to get some new books.

Kathleen Basi said...

This is a great post. I love the junk food buffet analogy! heheheh. So far, I've been really lucky and my kids adore books. We're especially tickled that my two-year-old, who has Down syndrome, is so engrossed in books. We've also put very strict limits on television watching, and I think that makes a difference. The movie is the first thing to go when behavior isn't what it should be.

But I like what you said about reading above the age level...that makes me feel better. I have a not-quite-four-year-old and we've just started our first chapter book: Little House in the Big Woods. I was worrying that I was trying it too soon--even though he seems to be enjoying it. Your post was just what I needed to read today!

Anjali said...

We read all day here, particularly when the weather is bad. It helps that screen time is not an option except for the weekend. If they didn't read, they'd be bored out of their minds.

Your point about reading levels is a good one. I had no idea that so many books are written at an easier level than what I thought. My first grader just finished Black Beauty, a book I didn't read until junior high. She needed a dictionary by her side, but otherwise did just fine.

The Dunns said...

Great posts! All 3 of my boys enjoy reading. They especially love reading with me but I have found all three of them (ages 5, 3, & 1) lined up on the floor, each "reading" their own book. (where's my camera?!?) It's a skill I am dedicated to encouraging. We read books each night before bed and I can't wait till we can begin chapter books like Little House on the Prairie (yes, I WILL read the series to my boys!).

If any of your readers have younger kids, Imagination Library is a great place to get free books in the mail for preschoolers. (Kids love getting their own mail!)

Carinne said...

I've always loved that my kids' school requires 30 minutes of reading every night as part of their homework. They also have reading time every day at school.

Count me into the prize drawing
Carinne

jenny said...

Thanks for the advice!
Jenny

Jen R. (aaron-n-jen.com) said...

Great ideas! I love reading to my kids, and I love reading. I can only hope they'll be the same way. :D

annie said...

I love to read and so far all my kids do too!

Adamzes said...

Reading is so essential for building baby's brains! We love reading and it is definitely part of our routine, in fact, my two year old will choose to "read" books even on his own over most things. I have always enjoyed reading. Thanks for the chance to enter and maybe maybe possibly win some great books.

AlaneM said...

Oh I'm all about getting new books for the kids!! We read every night before bed & the kids love it. As they each learn to read we will be incorperating that into the routine too. I was the preverbial kid reading by flashlight under the covers when I was young. Bookworm to the core & I'm praying I pass that along to my kids.

Marcy said...

Thanks for the tips. My daughter loves to read -- she's a little bookworm much like I was. I hope she keeps it up. We're trying to get our son interested but he might take a little time.

Oh-- and the U2 album is great. It's gets better with each listen.

Annie said...

Great tips! I like to use "you can stay up 20 minutes past your bedtime if you read". It usually takes them that long to settle down to sleep anyway.

Caroline said...

We love to read!

melinda said...

yes! yes! yes!

thank you for encouraging reading to children. we read a lot. nothing can replace its value.
great post!

Chrissy Johnson said...

Ah, a post after my own heart!

Sarah said...

As a librarian and a mother I know the value of promoting ready at an early age! Excellent post..thank you!

Allie said...

I grew up reading and we would hide books in all rooms of the house. We never left the house without a book and when it was dark outside we would even hold up a book and read between streetlights or in the light of the headlights behind us when it was dark. Now that I have kids I am glad to say that they like to read too.

Jill said...

Great tips!! My family didn't read much growing up, but it's very important for me to instill it in my son now. He's 3 and we're reading Charlotte's Web, along with a little stuffed spider finger puppet.

Lori said...

I'd like to think that my daughter will never change; that she'll always want to read at least an hour a day. Also that my son will grow into reading and love it always. We're just looking for the perfect book.

lkziegler[at]gmail[dot]com

calicobebop said...

Awesome post! I love reading to my little girl and I hope she learns to love books as much as the rest of our family!

Linda B in NY said...

great post!

Chaotic Joy said...

Great post! I am a book junkie and would love to pass that on to my children but have also had varying degrees of success.

Doreen said...

Fantastic blog entry and awesome tips!! I'd love to win the books...

Eden said...

My favorite read-alouds for my kids are anything by Mo Willems. I find the Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie books are the most fun b/c they're the most silly. Also the prose doesn't talk down to kids.

amybee said...

Thanks! Love Rosenthal's others.

ursula said...

the books look great! and good to hear that U2 is meeting with positive reviews.......love those guys!
ursula at uswood1@optonline.net

Amanda @ www.kiddio.org said...

Excellent tips--it's just how my four year old taught herself to read :) It's easy, too!

Fun giveaway!

oona. said...

Hooray for supporting reading, I am always surprised how many kids would rather watch tv than read.

We'd love to win these fun books!
Thanks! foxsquirrelrabbit at gmail dot com

Pmom@ChocolateandGarlic.com said...

My children love reading, but I found your post helpful because it reminded me of the importance of being thoughtful about how our children spend their time. My daughter is not choosing books that are a challenge for her. I need to help her with that.

Thanks.

P.S. I would like to win those books.

Mina Jade said...

I'll never agree that Harry Potter would make anyone "flabby". Considering the series as shallow works is a big mistake.

I hope that you at least read all of the HP books to criticise them so boldly.

I know a teenage boy who suffers from dyslexia - HP is THE only one book he ever read on his own. And my cousin, who is not fond of reading at all (on the contrary), does love HP. This way, I have to say Jo Rowling just knows A BIT about writing.

HP gives human values, it holds several messages, it teaches things which most books simply cannot do. Not even classics (and I do know quite a few, both modern and classic books).
Rowling's character drawing is unique. I could not EVER meet such alive and authentical characters, only in Sholokhov's Quiet Flows the Don (and Mikhail Sholokhov was given a Nobel Prize for a reason).

deedleweedle said...

I'd love to win. I love reading, but so far my daughter doesn't and I want to encourage it.

Miche said...

OH My little boy would love the baseball book! We have been reading all about baseball and garbage trucks for the past few weeks. What a fun giveaway, and I am excited to see your list of books to read to boys! Fun!!

Sheri said...

Wonderful tips. Thankfully my kids all love to read - in fact, there are times I have to tell them to quit reading because I need them to be doing other things :-) My 12 yo daughter is about half way done with Les Miserables and she loves it. I agree that you need to start early and set a good example.

Diane said...

Thanks for all the tips.
My 7 year old daughter will read books for hours on end. Her twin brother who, like your son, used to love to read now prefers Calvin & Hobbes and any comics....when I can get him to sit still.

Alice Wills Gold said...

Love this post...we are avid readers at our house, but my almost 10 year old has been struggling with interest.

I recently read a book called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease...it was totally eye opening about how important it is to read WITH your kids.

i am totally on the same page with you...it is just so hard to find one on one reading time with three kids and a hectic schedule.

Annie said...

Honestly, I didn't read enough to my children when they were young; but I've learned and read voraciously to my grandchildren!

What a wonderful bunch of books you are giving away!

Thanks

nancyrobster@gmail.com

lauren said...

thank you for this post. i just stumbled upon your blog today for the first time and was so glad i did! i especially appreciate the tip about reading to kids above their grade level. 2-3 grade levels ahead is VERY realistic. when i taught kindergarten, it was those 2nd grade books that made kids realize that pictures aren't everything.

ballwinbarbie said...

such awesome tips! thanks for the chance to win your great set of books! My son loves to read!

Jamie said...

Great tips!

chromiumman said...

what a great set of tips

Kris said...

Seriously it's books books books here in our house but my second youngest prefers eating them to reading them anyday! LOL.

stacief said...

I love to read and hope to pass it on to my 2 boys.

We can always use new books!

mverno said...

thanks reading is a big part of may world

idahomom said...

I am so thankful that my kids love to read.

jeanie said...

I am a bookworm, and had assumed that my daughter would inherit that gene, but alas it has not been easy for her to get into it.

We read every night and finally, at 9, she is starting to independently chose to read for pleasure - hallelujah!!

I quite agree that kids like a little challenge - and they love having mum beside them with the challenge (or at least, mine does).

tricialynn said...

I love to read books to my kids and these look like great ones. Your tips are great as well!

Gabriel J. said...

Great post!

Sloopy said...

When I was a child, my family moved to a new home in Wasilla. One of the "perks" of the home was this wonderful unused space over the closet in the entry way. To make it more appealing, my Dad built a loft over the closet. Then, the folks dubbed it "The Reading Loft". It was a surefire way to get us to read. The loft had a few rules - if you were up there, you had to be reading. If you were reading, you were exempt from chores. I spent a LOT of time in the loft. Reading is such good food for the brain!!!

agordon10 said...

cool books

Annette Lyon said...

Great suggestions--and all very true.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

This post is filled with some awesome tips. I come from a family of big readers and I'm really looking forward to passing it on to my kids =)

mumple said...

Books are a passion of mine! The Howler, right now, though, is stubbornly in the "I can read it myself" thing--she doesn't tolerate my reading anything novel length to her (I keep trying!)

She is only almost-7, To Kill A Mockingbird may be a little much for her (and I HATE to edit something that good) so that will have to wait. I did read it to the Toad when he was 9 or so--and I was certain that some of the language in the court scenes wouldn't disturb him too greatly.

I've got nothing against reading "under" your level of understanding, as long as that's not all you're reading. Also, I had the experience of being a high level reader, and had no teachers offering me books that would engage and challenge me, only criticism that I "could do better."

Sadly, it meant that I didn't read great books like Anne of Green Gables and Captains Couregous until I was in my mid-twenties. I strongly suggest getting a list together and actually handing your children books to read in that instance.

april said...

Great tips, thank you!

37 Questions said...

We love to read! Well, I do, and my kids do. Hubby not so much. But he is good about reading aloud to them. They can't get enough books. I can't wait till they stop wanting to chew on everything and we can get books with real pages!

yyeres said...

great tips! I still remember when I was little reading to my youngest sister regularly. she would call it "read-a-book". yyeres(at)gmail(dot)com

Donna R. said...

You have a great site and I love your tips. These would be wonderful for my grand-daughters. Thanks very much!

Kellie said...

I agree with you! My oldest daughter is 4 and my son is 2 1/2. We just finished reading James and the Giant Peach together. We have now moved on to The Secret Garden--the full unabridged version. While my son is too young for it, my daughter is doing quite well. If she doesn't catch something she asks and I'll explain it to her. When she was a baby, lullabies did nothing for her, but Dr. Suess's ABC book would calm her right down. Since she was 3 I've been reading chapter books to her and she loves them.

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

we read alot- we shut off everything phones included and unplug the doorbell- yep our doorbell can be shut off yeh! and read together

Relyn said...

Pick me! Pick me! Pleeeease!!!!!

Lisa P in California said...

We read constantly in our house. We LOVE books!!!

Fawn said...

Great tips, Michelle! My sister and I were bookworms from the get-go, so I've never given much thought to making real STRATEGIES for developing readers. For now, Jade loves books, even when there's no one reading them to her. When she reads to herself she says, "Ga? Ga? Hmm!" for each page - it's hilarious!

Kristen M. said...

I'm looking forward to your "books for boys" post. My son loves books and is already one of the top readers in his kindergarten class. But just yesterday he was complaining that the teacher reads too many "girlish" books. I can't wait to see your suggestions. Even if they are books for older kids, I can get my brain running with ideas.

Cynthia said...

Great ideas! We enjoy reading around here, and I hope my kids keep enjoying it as they get older. You definitely gave us good things to remember.

mj said...

I look forward to your list of books to read aloud to boys. It's always easier for me to pick out books for my daughter than for my son--she loves the same books I did as a girl--but I want my son to have good literature that he'll enjoy, too!

Organizing Mommy said...

You could be a speaker at a homeschool conference! I can tell you practice what you preach! It's a good reminder for all of us. Since my kids are independent now, I don't read to them as often. Need to do that again.

zobars said...

My 5 year old loves books and she has just started reading some simple to read books and she loves when I read to her. My son loves it too. thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win. Great tips. Thanks

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Fantastic give-away and tips, Michelle. Thanks for posting both. I am always on the look-out for new books for my boy and would love to check-out what you are recommending/giving away.

Your site is a wealth of information. Truly amazing that you are continually able to dream all of this up!

-Francesca

Meredith said...

My future child's library already has 100 books and they aren't even born yet! This would be a great addition.
:)
meredycat*lycos*com

Jack said...

Meredith,that's very nice,but whit some children aren't work.This is very difficult and you will be very angry,but that is the life :) It's hard to be a parent.

Carol Lawrence said...

I like #9. Read something too. I know adults who have never read a book,so don't be surprised when the kids follow in your footsteps.

Neese Family said...

I love your tips. I have taught school for five years, and think that parents give up tooo soon on reading to their children. My kindergartener loves to be read to and some of his favorite books are chapter books where we can't finish it all in one night! I can't wait to hear some of the books you are reading to your boys. I am a mom of two boys (having my third boy in 6 weeks) and love exposing them to all kinds of books. I would love to be in your drawing!

rgk said...

One of your tips was very interesting to me, in that I used the same technique while teaching 9-12 year olds in Sunday School. Though most could read the words without much difficulty, understanding the meaning was often contrary to the actual meaning.

vboackle said...

fabulous tips and i tell you they have inspired me to really read to my grandson.i keep him during the week and i have been reading some already but i will even read more now.

sweetsue said...

Thanks for the great tips. I am forwarding them to my daughter!
smchester at gmail dot com

Melissa M. said...

Some Great tips, thanks! Our 6 year old is still struggling to learn how to read, but starting to make strides. I'd love to win these books for him! ;)

~ melissa
mmooreplans@hotmail.com

All Rileyed Up said...

This is a great list of suggestions. I definitely need to read more challenging books for the kids, and also remember to pause and ask them what happened.

Linda said...

My grandson is just beginning to read, these books would be perfect for him, he loves baseball so i'm sure he would be eager to read B is for Baseball.
lgrieser(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

LeahL said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling everyone about the importance of reading and sharing tips! As a school librarian and a reading teacher, my husband and I are fighting the battle to instill the love of reading in our students often too late. It definitely starts at home, and at the moment of birth (yes you can read a book to an infant). We wish your kids were in our schools!

danosor said...

I'd love to win these great and helpful books.I am a subscriber.

Sara said...

Would love to win these books! You're on my bloglines, and I read your site every day. You make me miss home (Anchorage).

doodlegirl said...

cute books - I know my daughter would enjoy new books

Monkey's Momma said...

I agree! My son would rather play with Legos than read, but since the rest of the family are readers, we really encourage him to look through his books, and he really, really loves it when my grandma reads to him!

Dreamer said...

I have to say, as a home school mom, reading is our favorite subject. I love beng all curled up on the couth with my kids on a chilly morning snuggling and reading for hours at a time. It is equally as rewarding to watch my kids slowly pick up books on thier own and start reading without me.

jennem said...

We all love to read together. Please enter me!
Jennifer, jennem22 at yahoo dot com

Tanya Wilson said...

These would be a great surprise for my nephews, one who is just getting at the age he wants to look at books quietly like a "big boy".

twincere[at]hotmail.com

Carrie K. said...

What a great post - and I agree with so much of what you wrote. I also don't give my kids a choice when it comes to reading - and use the exact same tactic as you do with bedtime.

I just wrote a post about reading aloud, with a list of our favorites, if you're interested:

http://booksandmovies.today.com/2009/03/05/our-favorite-read-alouds/

gkstratos said...

Wonderful tips. Great giveaway, too.
gkstratos@yahoo.com

Mae B said...

I love to read to my grandkids and great grandkids. I know it inspires a life long love of reading. I would be so tickled to have some new stories to share with them

iggysaysno said...

I love to buy books for my nephew but to win them would be even better! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. I'd like to win these books for my children.
-Terra H.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

flip flop mama said...

I want free books! My dd loves to read.

Stephanie said...

Looking forward to your boy's list. Kellen is an avid reader, and I could use some more suggestions!

We have a reading time before bed. We put them in bed about half an hour before bed time and that is their time to read. And they all do, from age 3 to 10. Of course the 3 & 4 year old only look at the books, but they still enjoy it. Their alternative? Lights out.

Of course add me to the drawing too!

Elisabet said...

I hope I win the books for my grandchildren. How can anyone prosper without books. Everyone has to read. Hopefully my grandchildren too.
Elisabet

Teri said...

I agree that reading is so important. Lily is only 10 mos., and is already fascinated with books. Reading with your child is an incredible bonding experience.

taterbug said...

My favorite thing is reading with my grandchildren. Thanks so much for the great giveaway opportunity!

sherri419 said...

My kids love to read! I love reading and I have made sure to try to instill that in them! Thanks!

sherri419 at gmail dot com

kathy55439 said...

Great tips..... I think you have to start reading very young so the learn to love books early in life

bison61 said...

I read out loud to my children and now I read to my grandchildren. You had wonderful tips

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Tracysweetangl said...

Love the tips! We love to read to the kids! thanks for the giveaway!

noreen said...

great ideas

Karen said...

Count me in :)

ktgonyea at gmail.com

Damselfly said...

I like your tips -- all excellent.

Yarnmomma said...

I loved your tips as I am a mom of four. My oldest is just now starting to enjoy reading, previously it has been troublesome and my oldest son loves to read all the time. Thank you and I hope to be the lucky recipient.

mommysweeps said...

great suggestions, am starting all over again with a young child, so much appreciated,

the books here look great!

Belinda said...

These would be really enjoyed.
Thanks!
1bmore @ gmail . com

suburban prep said...

My nieces and nephews (all under the age of 10) are always bringing books to me or my parents (their grandparents) to read a book to them.

Pat said...

Thanks for these excellent tips!
pkildow at gmail dot com

dolls123 said...

Thanks for the chance

luckydolls123[at]verizon[dot]net

idahodad7 said...

Start reading to your kids when they are very young before they go to bed. It will just become part of their routine.

Mindyleigh said...

I just loved this post. I thank you for it, and also emailed it to my eldest son's dad, with whom he lives most of the time. Also, our blog address has changed...just wanted to let you know. :)

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

I began reading to Little Man in the womb...and he's been hooked ever since. He started reading on his own 18 months ago (he's just 5), now he's almost ready for paragraphs.

I've heard nothing but rave reviews about Duck Rabbit.

Kelley said...

These are great tips. I have two boys and have found it challenging to find books for them to read that aren't too gross. Why do people think that just b/c their boys they want to be grossed out all the time??!!

Justina said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, it's always great to have a little inspiration when it comes to reading to my Lexi!

Sarah H said...

Great Tips,
I like that Baseball book!

caseykelp said...

What neat ideas to add to the readings. My niece and nephew love books, but can lose interest half way into the story. Thank you for the giveaway.

CoconutKate said...

My husband's mother is legally blind and so could not read to her children. No one in my husband's family reads for pleasure but they have almost all married people who love books. My daughter LOVES to read and will choose to listen to me read over just about any other activity. I hope she keeps this love as she gets older and more involved in life.

oh amanda said...

This is a great post! I love the idea of reading above their grade level. My daughter is only 3...I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to both my kids when they were babies. (We're reading Magician's Nephew to Asa, aged 5months...) But since Lydia has gotten older and a little more...uhm, hyper, I've been doing more picture books. I think we're going to pick up another chapter book tomorrow.

Thanks! I'm linking to this post this week!

wwjdfkb said...

I lov e these books and this post!

Minda said...

This is a wonderful post. We love the Skippyjohn Jones series 'round these parts (my child is 4). Thanks again for the great blog!

Madeline said...

Great tips! I love reading and pray that my son will enjoy it as well. So far he seems pretty smitten with books, but then again he's only 15 months old. :)

Colleen said...

Thanks for posting these tips! Great giveaway!

MAW said...

you hit it right on the head with your tips. it's not easy, but certainly rewarding....

thanks for the entry

Marketing Mama said...

Thanks Michelle. I read often with my kiddos and love that they enjoy reading at such a young age. These are great tips! I love that book cover with the bunny/duck on it. I showed it to my 3 year old and we had fun talking about how it looked like both a bunny and a duck. :)

Annette said...

We love reading. Thanks for the useful tip.

a_estell@hotmail.com

Candie said...

I do agree that it appears the reading has been dumbing down for the older kids. Please enter my name for these books. Thank you.

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

Mia J. said...

These are great tips. I read every day to my daughter and she is now learning how to read and books are one of her favorite things.

Lori said...

My daughter is 2 and definetly has the reading bug. They are her preferred toys that she goes back to throughout the day. We'd love to win these book sets.

Anonymous said...

Happy Weekend!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

lezanac said...

Luckily all my kids love to read. Please enter me lezanac@yahoo.com

Beth said...

I've got three boys who would eat those up!

ehingersoll@charter.net

Stephanie and Co. said...

Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful post. These tips are practical and realistic. Thanks!

Qwill said...

Thanks for the post, though I do have to add that some kids just don't grow up to become readers. These are usually the engineer type.

BlapherMJ said...

What a great post. Thank you so much for raising so many important points!

Jean F said...

I've always found that the best way to get my nephew to read something is to tell him its "too old" for him!

MommyTime said...

Can I add a tip to your excellent list? Take them to the library. It's FREE worlds to explore. We go at least a few times a month, pick a theme for the books we'll explore, choose biographies and non-fiction as well as fiction, etc. My kids are only 5 and nearly-3, so the books aren't super sophisticated yet, but they LOOOVE the library and books and have already learned to seek out books when they need information they don't already have, as well as when they just need some down time.

KT said...

Great ideas! We totally love to read in this family!

yellowlabs said...

Thanks for the great tips. I love reading and the books look fantastic!

Jinxy and Me said...

These are great tips. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway!

Bakersdozen said...

Thanks for the tips. These books look really nice and I would love sharing them with my kids. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

rdazer said...

great list of tips...thank you

Adrian Lamont said...

This is great, please count me in.

adrian309@juno.com

bndraldy said...

Thank you for your tips! I believe teaching a love of books and reading is a priority for parents! I even read to my "bump" when I was pregnant. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

Leah said...

This would be sooo magical for our reading loving family!

Thanks so much for this fabulous give~away and for the amazing tips! : )))

leahita[at]gmail[dot]com

JamericanSpice said...

I love these tips. I love books and I'm constantly reading to my kids and they too love books and would definitely enjoy these.

calliemist@yahoo.com

Deb said...

I'd love some free books! I am a teaching student and mother of three (2 are adopted siblings). We never say no to books! debba@gci.net

Erma said...

I would love the chance to win, thanks.
erma.hurtt@sbcglobal.net

Carolyn said...

My children were all early readers and I mostly used tips such as you offer.
Thanks for the giveaway!

renee said...

We read with my son every night and could use some new books. Thansk!

pinkpanthers94@gmail.com

penda said...

i would love a chance to win


lillylulu2@gmail.com

purango said...

These books are great. My daughter would love to read them. garrettsambo@aol.com

CanAmBlond said...

Looks like a great book, my sons would love these! Thanks!

kaylee8 said...

Looks like fun reads!

Marie said...

Great tips! We read a lot to our two kids and they both love books!

vmlay@artsci.wustl.edu

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! I love to read so much, that I've worked in a bookstore now for over 10 years, and absolutley love it. My young daughter seems to love to read too. Nice prizes! Thease are books we don't have yet.
dlc917@ejourney.com

Steph said...

Looks like a great set of books.

Timster said...

I love these tips!

Liz said...

Great tips! I especially loved your description of Harry Potter and his ilk as a great treat, but not good for everyday. I think my own reading tends toward the ice cream variety, but not always! I'm just now engrossed in the Civil War era, by coincidence, really. I'm reading a Lincoln biography for a book club, and a Civil War novel, Two Brothers, for fun. Just happened to be both at the same time. The novel is so well researched and written; you can't help but learn a lot. And the characters aren't stick people, they're real-life human beings whose loyalties were to opposing sides. That happened a lot in that war, of course, and all these years later, with a book like this, you can see it happening.

katybug said...

I think of sharing books with children as giving them a gift over and over again. Thanks for the tips and the contest!

Heather said...

I love this post! My parents were both avid readers and every night after dinner my dad would read to us 4 kids aloud from a "chapter book" (no pictures!) It developed a love of reading in all of us, which I'm so grateful for. I especially love your tip to read above their level - I've totally found this to be true for my 3 year old.

Melanie J said...

I'm commenting here rather than today's post because the suggestions I have aren't really in the classics wheelhouse. But as a former junior high teacher and the mother of a tween boy, I've had lots of experience trying to find stuff boys will read, especially mine. As a family we've been reading aloud the Rick Riordan series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians which has been a huge hit with both my husband and son. Prior to that it was City of Ember which went over well, too. For older readers, the Gordon Korman books are a good bet and I especially loved putting Tangerine by Edward Bloor in my eighth grade boys' hands. They were riveted. I'll shut up now because I could go on forever, but it's great to see so many good suggestions.

John and Kate said...

Wonderful suggestions! I'm a soon to be new mommy and want to start early helping my daughter have a love for reading. Thank you for such a great post!