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How to Encourage Kids to Read

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

There are many ways to make kids read, but only inner interests can drive kids read more and better. Reading with kids and exchanging summaries, reading video game instructions, and listening to audio versions of books kids have already read are good & effective ideas. The key point is to use fragmented time and make sure your kids have the feeling that you are playing with them, not forcing them to read.

Here are the dialogues.

A=Adult K=Kid

Reading games 1 -- exchange thoughts/summary

A: Wow, we bought a lot of books today. Let me see, National Geographic!

K: No, I do not want to read. I am too tired.

A: We are going to play a reading game today.

K: What game?

A: Let’s pick a book for each of us. We can read together. After we read, we can exchange thoughts to see who understands or learns the most. With this game, you only read one book, but you will gain the knowledge from two books.

K: Great, let’s do it.

(reading…after a while)

A: I am done. My book is about Volcano. What about your book?

K: Mine is about minerals.

A: What kind of minerals?

K: Diamond, christal, etc…(other details…)

A: In my book, I have trouble understanding how the volcano formed. Can you help me?

K: Of course. Let me read the paragraphs. (reading) Let me tell you how it formed.

A: About volcanos, do you know there is a place in Ice Island with warm sea water around a volcano.

K: Is that dangerous?

A: Not really, since that volcano is predictable.

K: Great! I want to go there! A: Though we cannot go at this moment, you can find more interesting places in this series of books.

K: Let me read these books!

Video games lead to reading

A: Hey, you, do you like Plants vs Zombie?

K: Yes, of course.

A: Do you know the names of the plants & zombies?

K: I know some of them.

A: How did you know those?

K: I read the books in the game.

A: What if you see the words you do not know:

K: I search the internet to find the pronunciation and definition or ask Google Home.

A: Good. Do you know there are series of books about stories of plants and zombies out of video games?

K: No, I do not know.

A: Shall I borrow those books from the library for you?

K: Yeah!

How to correcting bad habits while reading

(background: Kid is reading too fast without stopping at any punctuations. Besides, kid is not understanding character’s feelings)

A: Hey kiddle, we talked to your teacher today, and she said you are good at reading.

K: I am happy to hear that.

A: Your teacher told me one way to read. Reading books like this: Once upon a time there was a person called Jim and he went to the supermarket … (with very fast pace)

K: No no no, you are too past and ignore the punctuations.

A: Oh, I forgot. Can you show me the right way?

K: Once upon a time, there is a comma, so you need to stop a little bit.

A: Thank you for your help. Can you show me how to read this new book (the Old Lady Swallowed a Ghost), just like your teacher?

K: (sitting in the chair and showing the book to the little sister and reading slowly…)

A: Great job. Can you tell me how this lady felt?

K: Let me think. Scared? Surprised?

A: At the end, she scared all her friends at the haunted house. And she wished happy Halloween to everyone. What do you think her feeling is?

K: Happy!

A: Great. Can you tell me the feeling of the characters in another book?

K: OK. Let me try.

Listen to the audio version of the book kid has read in the car

A: What chapter of Harry Potter did you finish yesterday?

S: the last chapter, The Man with Two Faces.

A: I have a high quality audio version for you to listen. I think you understand the book 100%

S: Not really. I only understand about 60%, I think.

A: Shall we listen and discuss?

S: Great.

(listening the audio book)

A (pause): Do you know why Harry cannot be caught by Quirrell?

S: Because his mom loves him even though she passed away.

(discussion … & listening)

A: Do you think listening to the audio makes you understand more?

S: Yes.

A: I think you understand the book 100% and will not read it again.

S: No, not 100% yet. I will read the book again!

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