Top Ten Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Read (Plus a GIVEAWAY!!)

top-ten-tuesday I have been sharing a lot about how we like to read in our family. Thankfully my kids love to read and it isn’t a chore to get them to do so. But I know for many people that isn’t the case. So I thought I would share some ways we encourage reading in our house.

  1. Just Do It!: This one is obvious, but if you want your kids to like reading you have to read to them. Lots. Over and over. Yes, you will know Goodnight Moon by heart, but it might just pay off when you are trapped somewhere with no books and your child is going stir crazy. And a comb, and a brush, and a bowlful of (everybody now) mush.
  2. Reading Incentives: I know some people disagree with giving your children incentives to read, but if you have a child who truly doesn’t like reading, these are great. Especially ones that reward you with more opportunities to read. We have a few bookstores in town (Schuler Books and Barnes and Noble) who have summer reading programs that actually give kids books (or gift cards towards books) for completing their reading programs. My kids will be reading all summer anyway so they might as well get some free books out of it. Here is a great list of reading programs.
  3. Take advantage of your local library: Story times, play areas, free books galore. What isn’t to like? And sometimes a random book they pick out will lead you to a favorite author or series. We recently found Mo Willems that way and now it is my mission to add all of his books to my collection.
  4. You Read to Me, I’ll Read To You: We stumbled upon this series of books and just love them. The premise of You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You is simple. There are short familiar stories (fairy tales, nursery rhymes, etc.) that have been made into poems. They are meant to be read by two people and are color coded as such. The authors use easy words so a beginning reader can pick it up quickly and infuses humor into every poem. We cannot get enough of these books!!
  5. Establish Family Reading Night: Check out last week’s post. I think it really encourages the kids to read when they see us enjoying reading for pleasure too. Sometime it isn’t about reading TO them, but reading NEAR them.
  6. Try Magazines: Sometimes magazines are easier to digest then a full book. Shorter articles and fun content can capture a child’s attention easier than books. We love Highlights and National Wildlife.
  7. Create a special reading place: I told you a few weeks back how I longed for a window seat where I could curl up and read. But you can create a reading spot with a special chair, beanbag or pillow that you place next to a bookshelf. Or even help decorate your child’s bookshelf so it is special. Let them have some ownership over their reading space.
  8. Center reading around their interests: When Lily was five she went through a period where she was obsessed with Sharks. It started with a shark book she got at a garage sale. She amazed us regularly with her shark facts. So we kept getting shark books at the library until she could teach a college course on sharks. Well not really, but practically. Gotta funny one, try joke books. A creative one? Craft books. Think beyond traditional “books”.
  9. Supplement your book reading: As I have been telling you for the last few weeks, we are really enjoying how the V.Tech V.Reader is supplementing our regular reading time. It reinforces the things I do with my kids, but I don’t have always be the one reading to them. Don’t forget to have your kids sign the V. Tech Summer Reading Pledge and maybe start your own incentive program.
  10. You tell me: tell me what you do to encourage your kiddos to read, especially the ones that don’t love books naturally. You will be entered to win a V.Tech V. Reader, in the color of your choice, and a game to go with it. Also V. Tech will be selecting 20 tips from participating bloggers for their “Ultimate Tip List for Encouraging Our Kids To Read.”  One contributor to the ultimate list will win the Grand Prize  – a V.Reader and three animated storybook cartridges. So get creative!!

A winner will be chosen from the comments randomly on Friday July 23rd at noon. Winners of the Grand Prize will be chosen at the end of next week.

This post was sponsored by V. Tech who provided me with a V. Reader and game cartridge for my review. As always all opinions are mine. This post is submitted to Top Ten Tuesday over at Oh Amanda.


  1. I always have a couple books in the car, a few in my purse, some in the diaper bag. If my 2 year old is bored somewhere, I bring out the books. If I am driving, I ask her to tell me what is on a page, since she can’t read. Not really the greatest tip, but by always having books handy, she is learning that when it seems like there is nothing to do, she can look at books!
    Kelly recently posted…Small VictoriesMy Profile

  2. start young, and don’t be afraid to let your baby handle books. – we’ve read to our son since he was in the womb.
    Try reading things aloud that aren’t ‘traditional baby books’. Sandra Boynton board books are great, but our little one enjoys many ‘older’ books too. he LOVES “every story whispers his name” the Jesus Storybook bible. the rhythm of the words seems to please his ears.
    and he laughs aloud at poetry by J.R.R. Tolkien – especially the poems with lively rhyme schemes. sometimes he’ll even sit (relatively) still and attentively while i read ‘The Hobbit’ aloud – and he’s been that way since he was two months old. perhaps would have done it even younger if we’d tried :) and who would have thought a baby would love something so far out of his age range? but he does.

    Buy LOTS of board books and let your baby ‘read’ to himself while you read aloud to him if he prefers.

    Let your baby look at picture books when he shows interest, even if they are books that he could possibly tear on accident. Books are replaceable, but the love of reading and learning that grows from the love of books is priceless.

  3. oh amanda says:

    Really great tips, Jill. I can’t wait to try those Read To Me Read To You (or whatever) books.

    Let’s see…I don’t know if I have any other tips. I buy books all the time (usually at the thrift store), we read all the time & I include books next to our toys so they are seen as fun stuff. I also read above grade level so my kids hear better vocab, sentences, etc.
    oh amanda recently posted…Gift Ideas- Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  4. My kids like it best when they get to pick out the book. For bedtime, I pick it out but during the day they’re books are free reign – I actually love to see what they’re in the mood for (it can be rather telling!).
    mandi@itscome2this recently posted…Saturday stumblesMy Profile

  5. One of our favorite ways to encourage reading is to go to the library – it’s a BIG DEAL for my almost-4yo daughter. She loves to go to the library and pick out books to bring home. She’ll bring me her whole stack of 10 library books and ask me to read them to her all at once!
    Jeni recently posted…TTT- Things I Wish I Had in my FridgeMy Profile

  6. Rebecca Smith says:

    My little one has her own library! She’s got books stashed in every room in the house. She’s just starting to recognize different words, it’s the start of a whole new world for her!

  7. One thing I discovered when reading aloud to my girl is that she needed to move to really comprehend what I was saying, especially if it’s a complex plot. My instinct was to tell her to be still and lay next to me, but she honestly couldn’t do it. She’s a kinesthetic learner in that her body is in motion when she’s truly concentrating and learning something. Her favorite way to listen to a chapter book is to be walking around the bed, doing flips, rolling around, cuddling, then moving again.

    So don’t be afraid to sit on the couch and read a book aloud while your youngster is playing blocks on the floor or playing in the play kitchen. While you may think they aren’t listening, they are, and they will benefit from the rhythm of the language and the story just the same.
    Kathy @ House of Hills recently posted…Losing It! 07 16 10My Profile

  8. mommalovesmee says:

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

    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. Give award(made of paper)to our son for encouraging and showing him that he is doing great.

    Counting while reading:- We always count pages while reading books. Kids get excited to do this because they like saying to everyone the number of pages they read.

    (mommalovesmee AT GMAIL DOT COM)

  9. Sabrina Lewis says:

    I let my kids pick out books that they would like to read. For my 2 year old i make sure we have books with balls, animals, or vehicles in them since these strike his interest the most.
    i keep books in both our vehicles so that they can read on long or short trips to where ever.
    we make up our own summer fun reading list with a selection of books picked by my son and myself for him to read. If he reads all of them then i reward him at the end of the summer with a brand new book of his choice and a make your own sundae party.


  10. Right now we just read a TON! She constantly brings up books. She loves books with flaps. We also try to read a variety–Mr. V and I read older-age books out loud to her as well as picture books she gets more.
    Vanderbilt Wife recently posted…Before You Hit Publish- Week 7- 10 Simple Tips for Blog WritingMy Profile

  11. This is a great list. I find that having books in every room helps. I love the idea of a reading night. My kids have loved books naturally, so I haven’t had to encourage much. But maybe that’s because we often read in front of them and have read to them regularly since they were babies and have lots of books around, take trips to the library etc. My 3-year-old and 11-month-old both love to “read” (babble) to themselves as they look at books.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted…Ten Ways Omnivore’s Dilemma Changed My Life GiveawayMy Profile

  12. Bethany says:

    I let them pick out the books they like at the library. Seems to work so far!

  13. nicolerenae says:

    I started when they were babies, and made it a regular part of the day. Also, we participate in every summer reading program possible, so that motivates them too!

  14. Kristen says:

    We read throughout the day. We go to the library often so that there are always new and exciting books to read. My boys love to sit and listen to stories.

  15. Nikki says:

    I find that each child responds to reading better at different parts of the day. took a lot of experimenting to get our formula down well.

    The best tip I have is to integrate reading into their play. After they have read the book, put on a play for the other family members and reinact what they read. fun props make this great fun and every child jumps at the chance to be the next one that puts on a play.

  16. Natalie says:

    My mom has bought us some great books and I am thankful for that. I guess that would be a good place to start is to request books for a birthday or Christmas ideas. I know that in my family they are always wanting to know “what can we get? What do the kids need?” How about a book?

  17. This is such a good list! I love it! My kids both really like reading, but we definitely have had to get the ‘boy’ books, like “Super Fly Guy” and anything about gross subjects is going to be a hit. At one point when math was winning out to reading (as in, stop trying to learn to multiply; you have to get reading down first) we actually sold A.P. on reading by saying he could do more math problems if he could read. He seemed to buy it.
    Jen @ BigBinder recently posted…But really- there were 41My Profile

  18. Christie says:

    My mom never had that problem–she used to MAKE my brother and I go outside and play instead of reading inside during summer vacation. Mom talks about finding my brother sitting on the top of the jungle gym, or in a tree, or one the front porch steps, reading a book. At least he got a little sunshine!

  19. Heather Smith says:

    I make sure to make book choices from subjects my kids enjoy. Emma (she’s almost 4) loves Dora & Toy Story, but if I were to give her a Cars book (that her little brother would LOVE btw) she would look at it maybe 2 seconds. Reading is NOT fun if it’s drudgery.

  20. Estella says:

    I let my boys pick out books at the thrift store. They love getting new books and buying them there does not cost a lot of money. They also love to go to the library.

  21. catherine says:

    We have books all over the house and I find the kids looking at them throughout the day. We also go to the library at least once a week and look around for new books to read. They also have a lot of great programs for kids at our local library so they have a lot of fun there too. We also read together every night before bed which they look forward to also!

  22. Heather Ransom says:

    One thing that my daughter and I do is to read through a recipe book and pick out a dessert that we would like to make. Then we read through the recipe to know what is needed and what we will have to do. It makes reading fun because we were able to combine it with an activity, I got to spend quality time with my daughter, and we got to eat the results!

  23. Lori S says:

    I have books with us everywhere we go. Also, when my kids were less than 1 year old, we read every night so they learned that reading can be fun and want to do it themselves.