How To Encourage Students To Read

All of these methods may not work with every student, but some may be the key for some students. These are geared toward parents, but apply well to teachers. But don't take our word for it; check out this encouraging kids to read PowerPoint template that reinforces what we are asserting on this page. Great minds think alike (and idiots seldom differ). We're constantly scouring the public domain for material you might find useful, so don't be surprised to find other PowerPoints referenced here.

  1. Research on reading generally agrees that the most critical aspect of reading is how a child feels about reading. Positive reinforcement from parents and teachers helps. Children need to know that adults in their lives care about reading.
  2. Research also agrees that in most cases, forcing a child to read will yield no positive results. Most children should not be REQUIRED to read each day, especially if it's forced reading for pleasure. Some families find that having a reading time when the whole family reads works. Even if the child is reluctant, he knows that the time is reserved for reading. Let him choose to read light material, if nothing else.
  3. A book allowance is a good idea. In addition to whatever other allowance a child may receive, provide an allowance for books. Even if the allowance allows for the purchase of one paperback book or magazine a week, you've helped encourage reading.
  4. Regular visits to a good magazine rack, coupled with purchases, provide reading material. Parents will probably want to exercise some judgment on reading purchases, but magazines your child shows some interest in and which you approve are a good way to provide material and encourage reading.
  5. Subscriptions to a magazine or magazines for your child or student are a good idea. There's a certain amount of excitement in "ownership" and a for many students it's very exciting to receive mail.
  6. Model reading. Children who see their parents reading, often become readers and come to accept that reading is a matter-of-fact activity.
  7. If your child is willing, whatever his or her age, don't be afraid to read aloud. Reading to children is one of the best ways to encourage interest in reading. Older brothers and sisters can read to younger children. If you're child is too old to be read to (some would suggest that no one is too old to be read to), just read articles aloud from the newspaper from time to time.
  8. Establish a place in the child's room for his or her books. A feeling of ownership, again, is important.
  9. Schedule regular family visits to the library--even if your child doesn't seem interested in taking out books.
  10. Introduce your child to the librarian. Librarians are anxious to help children look for interesting reading material. Make sure your child knows the school librarian too.
  11. By all means recommend books to your child. Tell the child how difficult the books are (or are not) and let the child decide if he or she wants to read them.
  12. If your child starts a book and doesn't want to finish it -- ok. Hasn't that happened to you? Some advice I've heard recommends that you abandon books that don't "grab" you in the first 60 pages... because life is too short. My threshold is lower than 60 pages.
  13. Buy books for yourself and let your children know you do it.
  14. If your child decides to read something to YOU...be patient and let him or her read to you.
  15. Don't forget book browsing on the World Wide web. Try Amazon.com as a great starting point.
  16. You might find that kids will read pages on the world wide web. Help them find pages with content that fits their own personal interests.
  17. It's important that children have hobbies or interests. Help your children develop such interests and make sure they have or seek reading material about their interests.
  18. Praise your child for his or her reading when appropriate. For example, praise the child when a long or difficult book is completed.
  19. When a topic of interest develops which involves the whole family--an upcoming trip or vacation, for example--bring home some books on the topic to share with the family.
  20. Attend used book sales at libraries and other places where good books can be had inexpensively.
  21. Discuss with your child any book he or she is reading for a class at school. Read the book yourself.
  22. When you and your child are working on something together have him or her read the directions. Many models and construction kits turn out better when a child reads the instructions aloud.
  23. Discuss ideas in books your child reads. For that matter, where appropriate, discuss ideas in books you read. For that matter, read the books your children read.
  24. Display good books somewhere in your home. Let children know that books have an important place in the home. And don't limit the books to a few essentials...have a generous selection of a wide variety of books.
  25. Look for computer programs which encourage reading.
  26. Check out text adventure games...an old computer game genre which required a lot of reading and thinking. A search on "text adventure games" on a major World Wide Web search program should yield many choices. Check the Creative Teaching Links page for good places to look.
  27. Have your child put his name in his books. Ownership is important! Some parents even recommend bookplates or custom bookplates.
  28. Help your child develop a non-sports hobby. Then provide him with books on the hobby. Hobbie help develop curiosity.