7 Tips to Nurturing Reading

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As I said on Monday, there are a lot of threats to reading.  We don’t even realize when they are striking at times.  Most boil down to making the act of reading a chore, which nobody likes to do.  So, what are some ways to avoid this life-changing pitfall?

  1. Book clubs are a great technique for getting kids to read in class.  I don’t remember having this when I was a student, but I’ve seen it in action now.  Kids get to choose the top 3 books from a list of 5-8.  They are put in small groups where they rotate roles every week.  Then, they choose how they get through the book.  Either as a group or individually with a deadline.  They get to discuss what they’ve read too.  It isn’t perfect because you have kids who won’t do the work, but it does wonders for a student who needs more control over their reading.
  2. Do NOT yell at a child who is reading slowly.  Some kids are easily distracted and have deciphering problems.  Heck, there are plenty of adults who do too.  The point of the whole thing is that they read.  There is already a level of frustration if they sense that they are going too slow.  It gets amplified if they keep having to ask for help with words too.  Be happy that the child is working through a book and not trying to get out of doing it.  They might be going slow, but they could also be enjoying it a lot.
  3. Try not to immediately correct words that are misspoken if you’re working with a child who reads out loud.  Wait for them to finish the paragraph or page or the entire reading time.  Then, tell them that they did a great job, but they got a few words wrong.  Go over it with them with the clear indication that this is to help them when they run into it again.  If you stop them immediately, it can jolt them out of the story and make them think that they made a big mistake.  It also helps to remember words that you got wrong and tell them about it.
  4. Let kids pick their own books during the summer and for the weekend.  It can be anything they want.  If they want to read comic books then let them do it.  If they want to read the dictionary, let them do it.  The key is making them feel like they are controlling what they read.  That is essential to creating a lifelong reader.
  5. If you want to get them to think about what they are reading, do NOT focus entirely on analysis.  Many kids won’t care what the author meant and some aren’t even capable of delving that deep into literature.  Their minds aren’t wired that way.  What they can connect to and enjoy talking about is how the book makes them feel.  If a child is raised to have an emotional reaction to reading, then they are more likely to pick up a book in their later years.  You get them to this point by talking about how they feel.
  6. Accept that there are all types of books, including those that are more than words.  I’m talking about graphic novels.  Some people gravitate towards these for a variety reasons, especially children.  They are easier to read because you don’t have to picture the characters and setting.  They can be read in a shorter amount of time and easier to put down in mid-chapter.  Graphic novels take the visuals of other mediums and combine it with writing, which can be what draws a child in.  This tip goes for genres as well because we may find that a child enjoys a genre that we don’t like.  For example, I love fantasy books while my mother enjoys mysteries, which I don’t get into.
  7. If you’re really fighting to get your kid to read even if they choose the book, it doesn’t hurt to create a reward system.  Maybe they get a certain amount of money for every book they finish.  My son and I have a deal that I buy him a new Funko Pop for every book he finishes.  Is this bribery?  Yes, but for a good cause.  The child is reading for a reward, but they are still reading and getting into the habit of doing so.  Is there anything wrong with them becoming an adult who will reward themselves for finishing a book?  Even without that, you have now increased the chances of them reading for fun when older.  That is key.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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31 Responses to 7 Tips to Nurturing Reading

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great tips! Great idea about a reward system. I miss my Arrow Book Club days. 😊I love having book discussions with kids. I wish more adults saw the value of graphic novels, many of which are superbly written.

    Some of my friends insist that their kids read the book before watching a movie adaptation. They also choose audiobooks to listen to on car trips to encourage their kids to read.


    • I’m finding more adults who accept graphic novels as good reading. Might be a generational thing. I remember being made to read books before watching the movie. Made sense when I was a kid. Now it feels like my son wouldn’t have the time to read it before the movie came out.


      • L. Marie says:

        A lot of parents don’t require that. The parents I know do, because they were tired of their kids asking them, “What’s going on? Who’s that?” Because these parents read the books. 😊


      • My son asks that even if he’s read the book. I also learned that he’s more likely to read the book if he liked the movie.


  2. Chel Owens says:

    4 and 6 were the ones I needed to work on. I had high standard (even though I loved Asterix and Tin-Tin as a child!) and had to be fine with my older son reading “Captain Underpants” ‘novels’ to his brother just under him. Then, the one just under *him* only picked up interest because of graphic novels -and now he reads all sorts.

    I would also add that it’s important to make them read, in a sense, by removing the non-reading things like playing on a tablet all the time.


    • I’ve found that flat out removing non-reading things doesn’t always work out well. Kids can perceive that as a punishment, which turns reading into a negative experience. The reward system using these can help when it comes to assignments from what I’ve found.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Super tips, Charles. I like the idea of rewards for kids to encourage them to read. It makes sense to give them an incentive that they can understand. It’s like priming a pump.


  4. I enjoyed these ideas, Charles. Hugs.


  5. bamauthor says:

    Good tips, but not so fond of providing a monetary reward for reading because it links the pleasure of reading with expectation of something tangible. I would rather provide opportunities to link reading with an activity that can be enjoyed.


    • Money is a common one among parents, but I’ve also seen systems where kids earn treats and toys. The difficulty with saying that reading earns a child an activity (such as video games) is that it turns the reading part into more of a chore. The child now sees reading as the less fun activity they have to do in order to get to what they really want. A more tangible reward has the benefit of not really overshadowing reading in turns of fun. I also look at it as how adults work for a salary. Most people need that tangible reward for working hard because that’s what they use to get to indulge in the more enjoyable activities.


  6. I don’t have kids anymore, but these all seem like great ideas.


  7. Pingback: 7 Tips to Nurturing Reading – hemyar

  8. Pingback: 7 Tips to Nurturing Reading | White Apple Stories

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