Works For Me Wednesday- Promoting Reading

wfmw I remember when I had my first daughter and I swore that she would watch no television and only play educational games on the computer and read books all day long. And actually that worked out pretty well. The second one, not so much. Sorry Hannah, the bar was dropped way lower. But the good news is, despite my need to use Dora as an unpaid babysitter from time to time, both my girls love reading.

Lily has her nose in a book most of the time. I have actually seen her disappear for literal hours reading in her room. She devours books and thankfully reads well enough that she can now read to her sister. And I really do think I err on the side of less TV than most. And they have barely seen any movies. I can count them on both hands and still have fingers left over. I am not saying that to sound superior, we have just found they actually don’t enjoy movies very much and have a very low threshold for scary. And I don’t know if you have noticed, but what is passing for children’s entertainment these days often times scares the pants off me.

But Lily is 6 now and getting to the age where she hears about movies from friends and is intrigued. So we have instituted a little rule here in The Diaper Diary household. I will take her to see a movie in the theater (complete with popcorn) IF and only IF she reads the book first. This works out well on a whole bunch of levels. First, it reinforces her love of reading. With this kid, I don’t have to twist her arm, she is more than willing to dive into a book. But with future kids that might not be the case so we are setting the groundwork.

Second, I find when we read the book first, it isn’t as scary. She already knows what happens and has gotten to play the scene out in her mind. She also knows that all usually ends well. When we just watch movies this is a major problem. The kids start freaking out about what is happening and want to turn things off before the happy ending. I am really excited because right now she is reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory at school. Which means there is some Gene Wilder in my future!! I haven’t seen the new one, but I am thinking the old one is better anyway. And we are reading The Chronicles of Narnia together. I loved that movie, but think it would be too much for her without the book.

My favorite thing is that we can pace ourselves with books. And she gets to use her imagination, dreaming up what characters look like, building suspense with each chapter, asking questions and having great discussions along the way. I think so many kids have next to no attention span these days because everything is right there for them, right now. A book slows them down and makes them work for it a bit. And that to me is priceless.

For more tips, head over to We Are That Family.


  1. I really like this post. The issue of TV stresses me out …and I always love to hear someone who inspires me to use it less. Good for you for inspiring your daughter to love reading!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Tackle it Tuesday =-.

  2. that’s a great idea about books/movies – we may do that for A when he’s bigger.
    I’ve seen both versions of Charlie and the Chocolate factory… Luke has only seen the newest one, but he’s read the book. (I have too but it was long ago and I can’t remember it). The set design and music of the new one makes it eery in a way that the old movie wasn’t. And having johnny depp play Wonka adds a different dimention. Think maybe Micheal Jackson in Candyland ;)
    But the new one was charmingly like the book, except for a storyline about willie wonka and his dad that they added in.
    I liked both versions, but as the old one was a childhood fave, I prefer it.
    Still if your kid is a stickler for ‘like the book’, she’ll love the new one :)

    I never liked movies as a kid. I think it’s because everything happened too fast and over my head. I’ve loved books. I control the pace, get to reread the pretty parts… and I can skip to the end if I’m afraid someone’s gonna die :D
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..my little growing chunk! =-.

  3. Kristen says:

    I love the book before movie idea. I’m going to remember that for when Will is old enough! Thanks.

  4. That us a great idea! Definitely a rule I’ll institute around here. I actually already have that rule myself, but never even thought about it applying to the kids too. We’ve never actually taken the kids to the theater, but I’m thinking it will be a good treat for the 3YO soon. He does watch a lot of movies at home (from the library & bought by grandparents but I’m thinking the book rule will come in handy there too! Thanks for the great idea!

  5. I love this idea. We have been trying to turn off our tv more because often it is just background noise. We try and turn on music instead if we feel the need for sound.

  6. That’s a good idea. My daughter’s only 2 and doesn’t really care about TV yet, but she does love books. Hopefully someday she’ll enjoy both (my husband LOVES movies). I did really good about (usually) keeping the TV turned off until my son was born. Now it helps him nap while we’re making noise, and somedays I’m just too lazy to do everything. Not that we sit in front of it ALL day, you know, but…like now, while we’re eating breakfast and I’m reading blogs. lol. I think “no TV” is a nearly impossible standard! Oh well…our kids won’t be scarred for life. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Guest Post! =-.

  7. I do this too with my oldest — if she reads the book, then she can see the movie. She has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, several of the Harry Potter books, most of the Little House books, Narnia books, and on and on. It works like a charm.

    I also do “book clubs” with her, where we both read the book and discuss it together. I get the book on CD from the library and listen during my commute to and from work, and this really motivated her too. We have listened to James and the Giant Peach, City of Ember, Tale of Despereaux, and on and on.

    By the way, after reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Johnny Depp version is actually closer to the real story, although it too strays from the plot at the end with the back story they made up about Willie Wonka. You may want to watch the second version, and if you think it is OK, let your daughter watch it instead.
    .-= Taylor at Household Management 101´s last blog ..Cleaning A Coffee Pot With Ice, Salt And A Lemon =-.

  8. MrsScotsman says:

    Go with the Gene Wilder “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Johnny Dep is wierd – Wilder is lovable.

  9. As an avid reader, teacher, and believer that the-book-is-always-better-than-the-movie, I think this is a great idea! :) I just might institute this rule when my own sweet babe is old enough.
    .-= Heidi´s last blog ..For now =-.

  10. I am remembering the older version of Charlie and the CHocolate factory to be scarier than the new one. But my kids aren’t at that age yet.
    I just know that the choclate river with Gene wilder getting all weird can still flash in my mind and it has been more than 20 years.
    We have been loving Charlottes web lately. We are just finishing the book ( we did it a bit backwards, the movie first) but it is her first chapter book, so I wanted to get her interested in a longer book.
    Things did not go well with the first Little house on the prairie books. Too much meat descriptions for a little vegetarian mind to handle.
    .-= Staci @teaching money to kids´s last blog ..WFMW – Giving it away {Give Away} Day 3 =-.

  11. This is a fabulous idea! I’m the type of person who HAS to read the book before seeing the movies anyway so hopefully I can pass that on to my girls. We love reading in our household. I have so many chapter books I want to read with my girls as they get older.

    We just started reading ” My First Little House On The Prairie” series and my girls love it.

    Can’t wait for Chronicles of Narnia!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Much appreciated

  12. We read a LOT to our children. 45 min in the morning, 45 min in afternoon, ~25 minutes before bed. Our oldest is 7 and has read a more books than I can remember. The key for promoting reading in our house is to make it a part of our lives.

    The kids don’t watch TV so that helps also.

  13. I love this idea! And I agree, the new Willy Wonka is just a bit freaky. Go with the old version please!
    .-= Krista´s last blog ..Double Trouble contest =-.

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