15 Ways To Get Kids Excited About Reading

   With all of the distractions in today’s world (You know, all the things kids want to do all summer: video games, Pokemon Go, movies, tv, electronic devices, etc.) it can be difficult to get them excited about reading. Reading every day is so important, especially during the summer! Here are 15 things you can try to help them pick up a book without all the whining and moaning. 
1. Go to the library and have them sign up for their own library card. 

2.  While you’re at the library, help children choose a wide variety of books. (Picture books, chapter books, nonfiction books, or comics.)

2. Take a family trip to the book store and allow children to pick out one book.

3.  Find books that interest your child. (Does he play baseball? Find books on famous baseball players. Does she like princesses? Find all the books on princesses that you can.)

4. Make sure you have books that are your child’s correct reading level. (If books are too hard or too easy to read, children will get overwhelmed or bored. Have you heard of the High Five Rule? Have your child read a random page in the book. Every time he comes to a word he doesn’t know he holds up a finger. If there are more words on the page that he doesn’t know than fingers on his hand, the book is too difficult.)
5. Read to Your Children. (This is one of the most important!)
6.  Allow your children to see you read, and to see your love of reading. (This is one of my favorites! When children see that your to-do list goes out the window because you’re lost in a book, they see the joy found in reading a book! Haha….”Sorry Honey, nothing got done today because I was being a good example for our kids.” 🙂 What is great, too, is to then recommend that book to your child after you have read it-if it is appropriate for them, of course!)
7.  Have a set time each day to read.

8.  Do not use reading time as a negative consequence for poor behavior.

9.  Have a family read-a-thon! (Remember the snacks and treats!)

10. Have children participate in a neighborhood or school Book Club. 

11. Make sure to have books in your home, a lot of them. Make sure they’re easily accessible. 

12. As a family, read the book then watch the movie. (Growing up my dad read “The Princess Bride” to us, and then we all went and watched the movie together. The book and the movie are still some of my all-time favorites!)

13. Have children try all the different genres. (My boys love fiction/fantasy books. My daughter likes those too, but she REALLY likes history books. I never would have found that out if I hadn’t made her try one.)
14. Ask children about the books they’re reading. (Be interested in what they’re reading. Ask about characters, plot, setting, and their favorite part. Get excited about it! This helps them know you care, and it also helps you make sure the book is a good fit!)
15. If your child doesn’t like a book after the first few chapters, do not make him finish it! (There is not a rule that says you have to finish a book if you start it. If he doesn’t like it, have him put it down and pick a different one. Continuing to read a book he doesn’t enjoy will only make him frustrated, and that’s one of the reasons kids decided they don’t like reading.)

   Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? Please share them below!! What works for your family?

Raising A Reader

Raising A Reader

Today’s tip for Raising A Reader is to:
Find the genres and topics that interest your children. 
Let them pick books out to read! They usually know what they like. If not, start with their hobbies and talents. Children will easily get bored and disinterested if they are reading things they aren’t interested in, just like adults! So, if you have a dancer, try books about dancing–fiction and nonfiction. If you have a scientist, find books that relate to science. If you have a baseball fan, find books about famous baseball players, the game of baseball, etc. If that doesn’t work, keep trying. Try fiction, nonfiction, sci-fi, fantasy, biographies, mysteries, magazines, or even comic books (Yes, I know……but you may need to start somewhere!). I’ve noticed that a lot of books, even novels, are now written in graphic novel format, which looks more like a comic book. This might be a good way to transition from comic books to novels. You could try audio books too. Some children may also be more sensitive to having the main character the same gender as them. If you have a girl, try books that have strong female main characters, or opposite for a boy. Anything you can get them to read is a good place to start, and then you can build from there. If you’re still stumped, ask the child’s teacher what the other kids in the class are reading. Many times children will talk about the books they’re reading and give good reviews. This may interest your child. It’s fun to read what *everyone* is reading, and be in the know! Librarians are also very helpful when it comes to finding good books. You are always welcome to search my blog as well! I have a pretty good list for many different age groups.
Fiction: Fantasy
Fiction: Adventure
Nonfiction: Adventure, Biography
Fiction: Sci-Fi
Realistic Fiction

Click on any of the above books for my reviews.

Raising a Reader

Raising a Reader

Today’s tip for raising a reader is a great one! It’s something I have always done, and it’s easy! It can be a little tricky to keep track of sometimes, but it’s worth it! In my house it is absolutely necessary because my boys read so much that I could not afford to continue buying them books! 
Today’s tip is:

Get your kids their own library cards and use them regularly! Go to the library!

The kids love having their own card because they feel so grown-up, and it’s a great 
motivation to read! 
They take better care of the books because they know it is in their name!
And the best thing is that there are endless amounts of books! There are so many different subjects and authors, and it’s great to help find topics that the kids are actually interested in and will read! (And it’s free!!! Seriously, I’d be spending hundreds of dollars a month in books….no way!)
I’m with Arthur on this one:
Ready, set……GO to the library!

Raising A Reader: The Power of Reading

Raising A Reader:
The Power of Reading

I recently heard this story and thought I should share. It’s an amazing success story, and 
kudos to his mom for realizing the importance of reading!

Ben Carson

Ben Carson said of himself, “I was the worst student in my whole fifth-grade class.” One day Ben took a math test with 30 problems. The student behind him corrected it and handed it back. The teacher, Mrs. Williamson, started calling each student’s name for the score. Finally, she got to Ben. Out of embarrassment, he mumbled the answer. Mrs. Williamson, thinking he had said “9,” replied that for Ben to score 9 out of 30 was a wonderful improvement. The student behind Ben then yelled out, “Not nine! … He got none … right.” Ben said he wanted to drop through the floor.

At the same time, Ben’s mother, Sonya, faced obstacles of her own. She was one of 24 children, had only a third-grade education, and could not read. She was married at age 13, was divorced, had two sons, and was raising them in the ghettos of Detroit. Nonetheless, she was fiercely self-reliant and had a firm belief that God would help her and her sons if they did their part.

One day a turning point came in her life and that of her sons. It dawned on her that successful people for whom she cleaned homes had libraries—they read. After work she went home and turned off the television that Ben and his brother were watching. She said in essence: You boys are watching too much television. From now on you can watch three programs a week. In your free time you will go to the library—read two books a week and give me a report.

The boys were shocked. Ben said he had never read a book in his entire life except when required to do so at school. They protested, they complained, they argued, but it was to no avail. Then Ben reflected, “She laid down the law. I didn’t like the rule, but her determination to see us improve changed the course of my life.”

And what a change it made. By the seventh grade he was at the top of his class. He went on to attend Yale University on a scholarship, then Johns Hopkins medical school, where at age 33 he became its chief of pediatric neurosurgery and a world-renowned surgeon. How was that possible? Largely because of a mother who, without many of the advantages of life, magnified her calling as a parent.
This story was told by Tad. R. Callister. 1 

Wow, right? I love this story! That is the power of reading for you! 
And that’s how you raise a reader! 
Happy Reading!

Raising a Reader

Today’s tip for
Raising A Reader

is to:

Have The Kids Read Books At Their Reading Level
If a book is too difficult to read then it will not be enjoyable and the child will not understand what he or she is reading. If the child spends the whole time sounding out words then her comprehension will suffer. And what is the point of reading if you don’t understand? At that point the kids just get frustrated and they begin to say that they don’t enjoy reading. Well, of course they don’t! They’re not experiencing getting caught up in a story because they don’t understand the story. 

So, how do you determine if a book is too difficult for a child to read? 

Give It A High Five!

Open the book with your child. Open to a page, any page. Have the child read that page. If there are more than five words on that page that the child needs to sound out, or doesn’t know the meaning of, then that particular book is too difficult. Yes, he might be sad because all his friends are reading it and he really wants to, but you have to be strong. I promise, he will not enjoy it if he gets frustrated. Sometimes that can be a huge motivation for kids to improve their reading. And, there is always the option of you reading that book to him!
I hope this helps!
Happy Reading!

Raising a Reader

Raising a Reader

I recently read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I LOVE that book! Anyway, as I was reading I noticed that the Oompa-Loompas sing this song:

“The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set–
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotized by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink–
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
It rots the senses in the head!
It kills imagination dead!
It clogs and clutters up the mind!
It makes a child so dull and blind
He can no longer understand
a fantasy, a fairyland!
His brain becomes as soft as cheese!
His powers of thinking rust and freeze!
He cannot think–He only sees!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
They…used…to…READ! They’d READ and READ,
And read and read, and then proceed
To read some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be!
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
and Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and–
Just How the Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole–
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
 And children hitting you with sticks–
Fear not, because we promise you
Thank, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start–oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.”

My tip for today…….turn off the tv (and I’ll add, the personal electronics and video games)!
Thank you Roald Dahl! Love this poem!

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader. In The Book Whisperer, Miller takes us inside her 6th grade classroom to reveal the secrets of her powerful but unusual instructional approach. Rejecting book reports, comprehension worksheets, and other aspects of conventional instruction, Miller embraces giving students an individual choice in what they read combined with a program for independent reading. She also focuses on building a classroom library of high-interest books, and above all, on modeling appropriate and authentic reading behaviors. Her zeal for reading is infectious and inspiring, and the results speak for themselves. No matter how far behind Miller’s students may be when they start out, they end up reading an average of 40 books per year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for reading that lasts long after they’ve left her class.
My review:
Where was this book 14 years ago when I taught my cute little first graders? I LOVE this book! It is my personal teaching philosophy all rolled up into one nice, neat package. Seriously! I love her ideas, her structure, her philosophy, her library, all of it. Ms. Miller focuses on reading for reading instruction. Her goal is to help kids love to read and to be life-long readers, and she does it by allowing them to actually read. I was definitely what she calls an underground reader in school. I would read the book we were reading in class, finishing it in a few days or a week, and then I’d have to sit through weeks of awful lectures and lessons and picking the book apart before the class finally finished. By then I’d probably read three or four other books. I hated reading books as a class. I hated that it took so long. I hated trying to find the meanings of each and every sentence. I wanted to scream, “I don’t care, just let me read!” And that is what Ms. Miller does. She lets them read. Awesome. Even though this book is geared toward teachers, parents can learn a lot from it as well. I highly recommend it to all my teacher friends, and when I go back to teaching, this will be my top priority! Love, love, love this book!!!
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: High school and up. This would be great for high school/college students who want to go into teaching. Every teacher should read this book!

Raising a Reader

Today’s tip is one of my favorites!!! Why? Because I get to do what I love and not feel guilty! 
Be A Good Example!!!!

Yep, that’s it! Be a good example and read, read, read. Read all sorts of different genres, and if you can, let your children see you reading, and let them see that you enjoy it. Children mimic their parents’ attitudes towards many things, and reading is one of them. If you have a good attitude about reading then they most likely will too.

A good idea is also to talk to your kids about what you read. If it’s a history book then you can 
talk to them about it. Talk to them about that time in history and if you remember it or not. Maybe their grandparents lived through that time, maybe you did. This gives them an opportunity to get to know the person and the events. I know my kids are always asking about the books I’m reading. I try to summarize the plot and discuss a few of the characters, because it teaches them those skills. And it teaches them to pay attention to those things when they read. 

If your children are old enough to read the book you are reading, and it’s appropriate for them, then recommend it to them. Have them read it after you do, and discuss it together. I love doing this with my kids. We’ve had some very good discussions.

Here is a list of books that I have read and then recommended to my boys that they’ve enjoyed:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

( My sixth grader did read this book and did enjoy it. There was just one page I didn’t let him read that was about naked women or something.)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

These are just a few of them, but we’ve had some very good discussions and some fun times together discussing these books. It’s like your own mini book group in your own house. So fun!!

Happy Reading!!!! 
(And now you can do it guilt free, knowing it’s good for the kids!!)

Raising A Reader

Raising A Reader

Having a good home library is my next tip for raising a reader. It is important to have a wide variety of good books: picture books, chapter books, nonfiction and fiction. A wide variety of topics is also a good idea. You also want to make sure you have books that are at the correct level for your child. If the books are too easy then the child will not be challenged and will easily bore. If the books are too difficult then the child will be more likely to be frustrated and not enjoy reading. If money is an issue then the county library is a great resource. At my house we usually visit the library either every week or every other week. Thrift stores can also be a great place to find books. 

A funny thing about kids (and adults too), we are visual, and we do judge books by their covers. Think of a grocery store. How is the cereal stocked on the shelves? The front “covers” face you, the boxes aren’t stocked sideways. Why is that? It’s because the bright colors, cartoon mascots, titles, and pictures stand out and make you want to buy them. Books should be stored that same way. Children are more likely to pick up a book if they can see the picture on the front than they are if they just look at the title on the spine (the way libraries stock the books). I just bought some black plastic crates and store my books in those. When I was teaching I saw rooms that had raingutters screwed into the walls and books stored in them. Pinterest has some fun ideas to make your own. Here are a few ideas:
Have fun and be creative! But most importantly, have books available for your children. The more the better!

Raising A Reader

Yay! I have a new segment that I will be posting on hopefully once a week. It is called “Raising A Reader.” I have a lot of people ask me as a teacher, and as a mom with some fabulous readers, how to get kids to enjoy reading. I’m hoping this segment will answer that question and give some good ideas of what you can do to get your kids to enjoy reading. I’m also hoping to give some hints on how to make your kids better readers as well.

Today’s tip is the easiest and the most fun! The thing I always told my students’ parents was to read to their kids. Reading to your kids every day is the best way to help them enjoy reading. What is better than piling on the couch or the bed and enjoying a great book together? Not only is it good quality time together, it also teaches them to enjoy reading. It can be picture books or chapter books, depending on their age, but either way…….Just Read!!!

If you need some good ideas on books to read to your children, you may check my READ-ALOUD link. There are some fun read-aloud books listed. Happy Reading!