Raising Kids Who Read: Parents Don't Give Up!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I've heard some parents say they can't get their kids to read or that their kids don't like reading. To that I say, why not try reading with them? I just had a whole classroom full of kids, sitting quietly at their desks, hanging onto my every word. I wonder how many of those kids' parents, the ones who think their children don't like books, would be surprised to see their child so engaged?
Books, books, books, books, books, books, and books.photo © 2008 Kenny Louie | more info (via: Wylio)

My son's teacher has made reading a priority in her classroom and I love it. She has a giant class library, the kids have assigned reading time and she's asked parents to volunteer to be Mystery Reader. That's what I did this afternoon. We parents give her five clues going from generic to specific that the kids use to guess who the Reader might be. She starts the clues on Monday and gives one a day. It keeps the kids excited, gives them something to look forward to and makes reading fun, the way it should be. 

It's true there's a lot more to distract kids than when we were younger, but reading is such a gift! I can't imagine not making as much of an effort as possible to give that gift to my child. The kids in Tyler's class today loved being read to! I took The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Treasury with me and read the Won't Pick Up Toys Cure. The kids laughed and I asked them questions.

When I finished the story they clapped and asked if I would come back again. "We love it when you're Mystery Reader!" "Will you bring Mrs. Piggle Wiggle again?" Talk about feeling like a rockstar! To paraphrase the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes. And when one of Tyler's classmates hugged me on my way out? It totally burst. 

It makes me sad to think that, for some of those kids, the classroom might be their only exposure to be reading. Especially since they so obviously enjoy Mystery Reader Fridays. I'm sure I'll get a little flack for saying this, but I wonder how many parents who feel their kids aren't readers just gave up too soon?

There are so many options for reading besides 'traditional' books like digital books and ereaders, that there's plenty of opportunity to expose kids to reading. Maybe through these more 'techy' methods, there will be an increase in kids who learn to love reading. At least I hope so.

Are you kid readers? Do you have advice for parents who want their kids to read more?


  1. Even my "non-reader" reads, just not as much as the others. And most kids slow down in high school, but come back to it.

    My recipe was to read to them, read to myself and always make it a point to find (either at the library or the bookstore) whatever they were interested in.

  2. I used to read every night with my sons, but I think they have their dad's non-reader genes. (Grandma was a librarian, go figure!) Now they read for school, but not for pleasure. But they are totally capable of reading.

    The biggest part of my job as an "instructional assistant" at our local elementary school is to work with the "at risk" students. Today I had a major success story. One boy, who has not passed an Accelerated Reader test in weeks, worked on his reading with me for several days and got 100% on his test.

    It's not just the reading aloud. Comprehension is so important. After reading the book, we went back through and talked about what happened on each page. And then we did the whole thing all over again. And again.

    As Jenn says, finding a book the child likes is really important. Another boy had been struggling, until he found Star Wars books which were also on the Accelerated Reader tests. WIN!

    And Melanie, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a favorite in our classroom, too.

  3. One of the greatest gifts you can give to a child is the ability to read. Even better, the love of reading. My daughter is starting to lose the love, so we'll be working on that over the rest of the school year (and I totally agree- reading together is a wonderful way to get kids engaged!!).

  4. I just really try to read in front of them and read with them as much as possible. I hope it works. : )


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