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Tips and tricks to get kids to read?

standard July 20, 2010 70 responses

C is at that awesome age when she’s just on the verge of figuring out how to read. She can sound out some words and recognize others and she’s starting to see letters everywhere and is itching to finally know what they say.

It’s so exciting for me, as an avid reader, to watch this happen. It’s almost like watching her get ready to take her first steps, but even better, because I know the world that is about to open up to her and I can’t wait to welcome her into it. (Learning to walk is pretty cool, but it caused a ton more work for me, this is just causing me joy.)

She may be excited at the prospect of learning to read, but she is after all my daughter, so she’s not exactly champing at the bit to practice her reading. That I have to sneak in.

We get all cozy on the couch together and I pull out a favorite book or two. I start reading, letting her fill in the blanks from memory as we always do, and then, completely nonchalant, I pause in an unexpected place.

“What’s that word start with?” I prompt, then wait while she starts to sound off the word.

Before she even realizes it she’s read the word and I’m off again with the story.

It’s another giveaway! 

At the beginning of last week we discussed where we like to read. Then we gave some thought to who we like to read with. Now let’s chat for a minute about those who don’t particularly like to read and how we can help them.

VTech and I would like to give away another V.Reader and book cartridge to one of you lucky readers. (Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s giveaway.) All you have to do is leave a comment sharing your best tips and tricks for getting your kids to read (this summer or any time!).

I’ll be picking a winner on Friday, July 23rd. On that day I’ll also be picking my favorite 5 comments and submitting them for consideration for “The Ultimate Tip List for Encouraging Our Kids to Read!” VTech will select 20 tips from those submitted by all the campaign bloggers to include in the list. The writer of one of the tips selected will win a Grand Prize – one V.Reader and three animated storybook cartridges.

So get creating and get commenting! What do you do to get your kids to read?

The winner of last week’s giveaway is… Number 43! Congratulations Chisum’s Crew!

Two cousins happily VReading.

(Full disclaimer. I am being compensated and have received a V.Reader for this campaign. Nevertheless, all thoughts and opinions contained in this post and all other VTech V.Reader posts are and will be my own.)

Updated to add:
Congratulations to Scarlette10 (#24) for winning the V.Reader! Thank you to everyone else who entered! Stay tuned to see whose Tips&Tricks get submitted for the grand prize!

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70 responses

  • The tip is: continue to read to her.

    Allow her to choose books and you choose some too.

    You may find she just decides she wants to read to you.

    If you read a rhyming book with a pattern, you can see if she’d like to end each pattern by reading the last word out loud–kids love to anticipate.

    You can make predictions in new books. Model that for her and then ask what she thinks.

    One of my favorite kids’ books is “Grover Learns to Read.” One, I love Grover, and two, it’s a sweet book about reading together. You see, Grover reads well at school, but at home he doesn’t want to show how good he is at reading because he thinks if he can read his mommy will stop reading to him.

    It’s such a special time, I still remember Mac in the crook of my arm…

    Anyway. Just. Keep. Reading.

  • cdziuba@aol.com I always felt that kids learn best by example, and over the years, our children would consistently see my husband and I enjoying books and magazines.

    I made it a habit, especially in the summer, to take the kids to our fantastic local library, where they were allowed to check out a stack of books. This always excited them, and it made them voracious and avid readers.

  • I tell my kids about books I loved as a child and then they want to read them too.

  • My tip is, pick a theme for the week, request a big bunch of books on that theme from the library and go check them out. This week our theme is The Weather. Last week it was The Zoo. 🙂

  • We have a sticker chart and when she gets to 25 books she gets to go pick out a new one at the book store!

  • For my three boys, I usually let them choose between reading and taking a nap. They usually pick reading unless they are exhausted.

  • My tip for my 8 year old is I let him choose the book he wants to read. To make sure he stays motivated, I won’t let him play on his DS unless he reads one chapter a day. It usually works and before you know it, he’s read a few chapters!

  • My five year old gets so excited when he is able to READ the road signs … so everytime we leave the house we watch for road sings, particularly street signs, that he can sound out!! He thinks it’s fun, and I know that reading doesn’t have to take place in a book, it happens everywhere. My three year old is now pretending to read because it’s fun!

  • We join the summer reading programs.

  • we give them points for finishing a book and then can redeem points for special rewards.

  • Quiz and reward:- We have Quiz night, where we read books to our son and ask him questions and reward him for the answers he give(we give him dollars which can only be spent for buying new books for donation).

    Getting into the characters of the story:- We usually plan this for weekends. I help my son to make colorful hats for all of us and we all pick a character of the story and read our lines(enact). Give award(made of paper)to our son for encouraging and showing him that he is doing great.

    Counting while reading:- Every night before bedtime we read books. We always count pages while reading books. Kids get excited to do this because they like showing off to everyone the number of pages they read.

    Reading time with friends and cousins:-
    Here, we invite our son’s friends and cousins of his age for reading time. Everybody gets a chance to read their favorite book and at the end we give all of them an ice cream treat. Kids really enjoy this.
    (mommalovesmee AT GMAIL DOT COM)

  • The summer reading programs at the library will encourage a child to read.

    rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

  • Alot of the times we make it into a adventure. If we are reading a new book say about trees then we go out into the neighborhood and find all kinds of leave or if it is about a mermaid my daughter and it might make a felt mermaid. I also have found that they are more willing to read if they feel like they are getting to choose the book.


  • I buy books for my daughter that hold her interest and let her read them at night before bed.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  • we’ve been having reading hour for years with our children mverno@roadrunner.com

  • the kids love books, they get them as gifts, we read nightly and visit our library weekly

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

  • Family reading nights allow our children of different ages to be the leader of one night and nominate a book (or chapter for the oldre kids) to read. We also take trips to our library every week to pick up new titles and keep the kids excited.
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  • My toddlers love to listen to stories on cd while following along in the real book. They think they are “reading” and are still able to talk about the story.

  • Daniel M

    we go to the library every week and take turns reading – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  • My tip would be to choose books that fit their interests, or better yet let THEM choose their books! It was like pulling teeth to get my oldest son (when he was younger) to read until we found books that fit his interests.

  • definately consistancy!!! we do it every night and make it a habit. I switch up the books and now she looks forward to it every night. amypugmire@live.com

  • Anonymous

    I take my kids to the library for story time and after story time they each get to pick books they want to read. That gets them excited every time.

  • Make choosing a book fun and then talk about it after they read.

  • Let them pick out books and see how fun reading can be. My mom read to us everyday and I still love to read


  • My kids love to read. My husband and I have always read to them and in front of them, they follow…..monkey see, monkey do 🙂

  • My tip is to begin reading when they are very young and read to them every day. When they get older enroll them at your local library in their summer reading program where they earn prizes for reading and they can pick out their own books to read.

  • A book before bed every night!


  • As soon as you can begin reading to your child, at first it was just touch and feel books, then ones with familiar objects, now he can’t put them down. Spending time with your child is just as important to helping them enjoy their love as books.

  • I admit to bribing my kids to read. If they will read for 20 minutes they are allowed to have ice cream. We also go to the library every week to pick out new books.
    monster6236 at gmail dot com

  • We read two books every night, one for each girl. So to mix things up we go to the library and get new ones. Once and awhile we find ones that are to good not to own so we head to a bookstore and always end up walking out with more than we went in for.

  • We make it exciting! Everytime my 2 youngest (3 & 1) bring us a book to read or we see them “reading” we make a great big tadoo about it. Praise, clapping, and cheering! To get my 11 year old to read I offer incentives. Ex… If he reads 15 min. a day for a week he will get to pick the game we play on family game night (his favorite night of the week), or pick out what’s for dinner.

    Lona728@ yahoo dot com

  • We go to the library together every week to pick out books. Sometimes I let the kids pick whatever books they want but a lot of times we have theme weeks such as Firetrucks, Bears or Camping (it depends on what we have seen or done recently or plan to do) and all the books they pick that week have to have the theme in them.

  • This summer is Mondays with Grandma. Part of our day is spent at the library (with the blue roof). One is going into first grade, so she picks leveled books with my assistance and my pre-schooler gets to pick the ones he wants..(my direction)

    We play “pre-school” and she is the teacher, of course. She reads to the two of us, turning the book so that we can see the pictures. Who knew that reading would be so much fun. (especially when grandpa joins in..except his name in her pre-school class is Tommy Trouble..the kids can’t stop the giggles!

  • I think it is important to lead by example, so let your kids see you enjoying to read and allow them to follow along..

    trippyjanet at hotmail dot com

  • Katie R.

    I get my daughter to read by reading with her. We take turns reading pages aloud and it’s something she really seems to enjoy.


  • Find things that interest your child to read. My youngest will read anything with Toy Story 3. My daughter will read anything with a princess or the like. My oldest son is the hardest, but he did raise his reading level (DRA) by 4 over a summer by playing Pokemon video games which make you read to figure out where to do next and what needs to be done. The reading recovery teacher was amazed at his progress and even more surprised when I told her it was due to a video game!

    Amber (amberortega at gmail dot com)

  • Anonymous

    I read books to my children that I love too. If I’m excited, they get excited. We’re finishing Percy Jackson right now, and it is easy to engage the kids when I can’t wait to see what happens on the next page as well!
    greenlancer at comcast dot net

  • I like to challenge my son to a reading race. First one to finish the book gets to pick where we go out to dinner next time… oddly we end up at Chucky Cheese alot, but I’m ok with that.

  • Get the book about their favorite movie. That’s a good encouraging move – to read about a movie that they love.

  • I get them their favorite books like Dr. Seuss.

  • Anonymous

    We visit the library at least twice a week!


  • Besides reading to them, I show them my own love of reading. Oh, and also a fresh supply of new reading material.

  • Well always make it a fun time, with lots of laughs, snacks and maybe a little time out in between reading to color or draw.

  • To encourage my daughter to read we have our own mommy/daughter reading time together where we take turns reading to one another, thanks!


  • With my daughter I like to make it a big event. We think of a subject for the week or two weeks and go to the library and find all the fun books that go along with our theme. We also include our snacks and things we do during the week. Like last week was Ocean Week, so she *tried very hard* to make octopus sandwiches for lunch! She loves to read to me, and she makes her own stories up as she goes along, but she is still getting the concept.


  • he chooses the book and we take turns reading out loud

    jdmimi at gmail dot com

  • We visit the library weekly. I also keep books on hand that they haven’t read yet that I know they’ll love. I shop yard sales and thrift stores so that I can provide a larger variety, cheaply.


  • When it’s raining, we have book-fests under blanket tents.

  • I started reading to her as soon as she was born. She loves books, loves the library and wants to read herself. (she just turned 4)We take time out every day or night to cuddle together and read. I let her “read” to me and let her imagination run wild.

    mjcommets at embarqmail dot com

  • My dear daughter has been using a program called “Your baby can Read” He is 3 1/2 and he asks for it!


  • I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old who both like to “read”, the look at books and tell the story based on the pictures that the book has. They tend to pick up books that they know things about, like what colors the clothing is the people are wearing.

    We also read books that have numbers in them since my kids know numbers by sight as well as being able to count.

    they can also pick out letters in words and we talk about what the letters sound like. My daughter is really good at being able to write a word when she sees it written already and as she writes the word she sounds it out.

    My tip is to keep reading and read books that have similar words. Rhyming books also work well because of the sounds being similar. Kids learn a lot from repetition also so reading the same books over and over help them to learn the words that they see and then be able to sound them out and when they see them in other books they are able to read those words that they already know.


  • My granddaughter is dyslexic, so reading is not her favorite thing to do. I make it more interesting by starting out the reading and when it gets to an interesting part I turn it over to her. When we stop, we always talk about the characters and situations and surmise where the story is going.

  • We go to the library every week. The kids get to pick out their own books. They really enjoy being able to make their own decision.

  • we let him pick the book and we all pick parts and read it that way,he really likes it&we do to!

  • I take Liz to the local thrift store at least once a week to choose books for herself. She reads alot more when she’s chosen the books herself.

  • My mom taught me to read by rading a page to me and letting me read it back to her.

  • Michael

    We are still at the introductory stage of teaching the kids to read, I try to find something that’s fun, interesting and keeps their attention longer than I can hold my breath… I refer to it as ‘baby steps’ in the ladder of learning! 🙂


  • We have books all over our house – there is a box or shelf or stack in pretty much every room. We use them to talk about activities we are oing or have done. And we let our kids choose what to read –

  • We make reading a habit – – it’s always reading time before naptime and bedtime. It’s a fun time to snuggle and share stories!

  • I keep my kids motivated to read by taking frequent trips to the library to try out new books.

    pandahugger @ gmail .com

  • We go to the library and pick out books and then we take turns reading them at night before bed.

  • we read every night before bed, the kids enjoy picking out the book and reading it with us.

    susansmoaks at gmail dot com

  • we make it fun.i read one page and she reads the next page.if i see that shes starting to get bored i start making entertaining noises when i read and she copies

  • My tip for getting my 11 YO to read is to read the same book she does, and then talk about it with her afterward. We keep each other motivated to keep reading, and the little ‘book group’ is fun!

    kt1969 at comcast dot net

  • Neither girl can read yet, but they love looking at books when they’re interested in the topic. Ex., a book about fish when we went to the Aquarium, or K loves Cars, so books about cars.

  • I get my kids funny books and that encourages them to read. One of my kids who didn’t have much interest in reading now stays up late reading calvin and hobbes collections. Lots of new big words to read in there!

  • Make reading a habit. We have been reading every night since my boys were first born. They dont ever let us forget we have to read 🙂

  • We buy books for our nieces and nephews and let them choose a book which someone will read to them at family gatherings and then they get to keep the book so they can read it whenever they like.

  • My tip for getting my kids to read is during the summer I pick up a library activities schedule. I take my kids to different activities at our library and they enjoy story time and checking out their own books.

    Jesskaufman at hotmail dot com

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