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Though inarguably extroverted, I can squander hours and shirk human interaction like a veritable hermit whilst under the influence of a good book. I’m a bookworm. Accordingly, I aim to impart my book-worming ways upon my impressionable offspring.

Despite my natural bent, however; a mere third of said offspring share my gluttonous appetite for the written word. [Thus far] The remaining two thirds must be continually convinced, coerced, and courted to read for pleasure. Accordingly, I’ve learned a few parlor tricks over the years to do just that:

1. READ ALOUD

Children need not grow out of being read to. If your child isn’t keen to pick up a book herself, grab one and pull her into your lap for cuddle time. I read aloud to my family every day, and my oldest is almost in middle-school. This also allows you to enjoy the tale together, keeps parents privy to the stories their kids are ingesting, and can aid in comprehension by facilitating family discussion.

2. INVEST IN A SERIES

Narnia, Percy Jackson, Little House, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables… continuity can curry favor. Even if not from one cannon, design your own series to retain your kiddos’ interest: Babe, Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty, & Stuart Little comprised our fun “talking critters” series a couple years back.

3. DIVE IN

Immerse your readers in literary worlds. Participate in the stories with dressup, visual aids, and make believe…

little house lanterns, prairie bonnets, & lincoln logs

illustrating the function of baleen after reading about it in the swiss family robinson… which then led to the reading of moby dick & addt’l study of cetaceans

enjoying turkish delight whilst reading narnia

4. MOVIE ADAPTATIONS

My family enjoys watching the corresponding film after completing a book– I would even go so far as to say we favor books that boast a cinematic counterpart. Reward your kiddos with movie night for completing the literature.

5. BRIBERY

Speaking of rewards, entice your pint-sized readers with a late bedtime if they spend the extra minutes reading. Ours have head lamps stowed under their pillows specifically for this purpose. (homeschoolers admittedly boast an unfair advantage here, as morning alarm clocks are functionally obsolete)

6. BYOB

Books, that is… bring ’em along EVERYWHERE: the car, the garden, the doctor’s office– anywhere! I often even read aloud to the family at the dinner table.

7. PROXIMITY

Stow piles of books within arm’s reach– shelves, holders, and cases in every room. Keep ’em handy and they’re more apt to be picked up. With books around every corner, my kiddos are without excuse.

8. EMBRACE THE FLUFF

Not all literary pursuits need be Caldecott winners. Everyone enjoys a light read from time to time– I recently strayed from my typical “hearty” reads, instead enjoying a string of celebrity memoirs (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling x2, Carly Simon) before returning to my usual faire. Daughter obsessed with your old Babysitter’s Club collection? Never you mind. Another who identifies as a mermaid? Harness that. Whatever their heart’s desire! Save the acclaimed classics for reading aloud (see #1) and permit the mindless fodder for solo reading.

9. MODEL IT

When kids consistently observe Mommy cherishing “quiet reading time” as the delectable treat that it is, they can’t help but believe it.

10. LIBRARY/BOOKSTORE DATES

Make visits to the library or local bookstore highly anticipated, special outings– a favored pastime, not a chore or mere errand. Unlike the candy at the grocery store checkout, say yes to their petitions and treat them to the newest silly Minecraft book they’re pining after. Max out the library haul. Indulge!

“A fondess for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself.” -Jane Austen

Got any similar tricks up your sleeves? Share them in the comment section, below. 🙂

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One Thought on “Making a Bookworm — 10 ways to woo a reluctant reader

  1. Such great tips! Plus reading out loud helps develop their vocabulary! My kids’ creative writing skyrocketed after we started reading chapter books at bedtime. We’re currently reading through the Green Ember. Battling bunnies and wolves? What kid doesn’t love that? And it’s usually me who tacks on the extra chapter because I want to know what happens! So far it’s a winner!

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