Author Topic: How can we get our kids interested in reading?  (Read 3387 times)

solon

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How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« on: April 12, 2018, 12:37:56 PM »
How can we get our kids interested in reading?

I have two teenagers, 16 and 17. They are facing a summer with not much to do, and will probably waste their time with video games and binging Netflix.

I want to encourage them to read a lot, a book a week, say. My first thought was to pay them for their reading. But it seems like I've read somewhere recently that that is a very bad idea. It teaches them to see reading as a chore, something to be endured so they can get the payoff at the end. But I can't remember where I read that, or what the better suggestion was.

Can you point me to that thing I read?

Or better yet, can you think of a GREAT way to motivate teens to read?

hadabeardonce

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 12:59:50 PM »
Cancel their cell phone service, disconnect your home internet service, leave a bag of books in the middle of the room and see what happens.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 01:05:41 PM »
Do they see you and your significant other reading?  And talking about what you have read?  Talking about what they have read? 

How many books are there in the house?  Have you been taking the kids to your local public library every weekend?

I have always been a reader.  It's because I grew up in a house with a lot of books, had parents who were readers and talked about what they were reading, who asked about what I was reading, who took me to the library every Saturday for the whole of my childhood.

Granted I grew up in the days before the internet and cell phones and video games.  Perhaps you could take the kids camping, or some other location where there is no internet access.  Or disable your router after 6pm?
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Khaetra

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 01:14:42 PM »
What I did with my son:

1- I read a lot myself.  I always have books laying around in which he could grab one and ask how it is/was. 

2- I let him choose his own books.  Sci-fi, fantasy, video game based, etc. 

3- Audio books.  They count and can be listened to just about anywhere.  Sometimes it makes the classics not quite as boring :).

haflander

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 01:21:50 PM »
I'm a 20-something and have zero experience with kids. However, I was a teenager more recently than most others here ;)

I grew up in a family of readers (youngest child) and always wanted to read. I suppose that's not really relevant but I wanted to throw it out there.

My idea...do they like movies? Try to get them started on books that also have a movie.
If they love a movie that was based on a book, there's a good chance they'll like the book (and usually the book is better than the movie!)
If they love a movie that wasn't based on a book, there's a decent chance that someone wrote a book based on the movie.
Some of my faves in the above category, Hobbit/LOTR, Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan/Band of Brothers, I could go on...

Another idea. Anything they enjoy, there's probably reading material based around that. Even as a kid I was into sports and military/history stuff. Plenty of interesting nonfiction for both of those genres. If one or both are girls...Idk what to tell you. Nicholas Sparks has plenty of dumb romantic teen novels. Oh, and there's always Twilight, Hunger Games, Maze Runner. I hate that kind of young adult fiction, but consider it a gateway drug to get her to read more interesting things.

I'll throw one more nugget in there. Some of my favorite books (in order) that even a teen can read, and will at some point in school...The Giver, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights. If you can somehow get them interested in classics like these, they will be way ahead when they have to read it in hs/college! I'm an English major btw, also doubled in History (and making a nice salary at that, if you can believe it).

Sibley

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 01:50:36 PM »
Solon, did they used to like to read?

If no - you can't. Only they can.
If yes - they probably still do, unless someone messed it up for them.

What do you?
You read. Your spouse reads. Go to the library, make them go with you. Use the line "for heaven's sake, I'm not torturing you. I'm going to the library because I want to. You're going with me because you're in the car right now and I'm driving to the library. Just don't make a mess or disrupt anyone that's all I ask."

Cancel Netflix. Have the wifi go on the fritz. Recognize that they may choose to go elsewhere.

rubybeth

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 02:00:07 PM »
Librarian here. Don't pay your kids to read. Take them to the library and let them get whatever--find out what they have enjoyed reading, and ask the staff for recommendations. Audiobooks can often be downloaded for free via libraries these days--ask which app to get and how to get started at your library.

Modeling reading instead of watching television or other entertainment is also a great idea.

Listening to podcasts is another idea--you can learn a lot and they can be very topic-specific for what your kids like.

Maybe a fun activity each month could be something like getting to go to a bookstore and buy a couple books for them when you go. Sometimes there are waiting lists at libraries for popular titles, so that could be the way to go if they're into an author with a bestseller. 
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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2018, 02:03:46 PM »
It might be a bit late if they don't already enjoy reading at those ages.  My 9 year old loves to read and the way we helped her along that path was to limit Netflix/TV time.  She gets to watch it quite a bit on weekends (maybe 2 hours on each weekend morning) but then we turn it off and she has to amuse herself.  I also started her out with very easy reading - at 7-8 I got her whatever trashy books she wanted (the main one was Dork Diaries and Encyclopedia Brown and a local Italian authors but now she's into Nancy Drew).  This kind of easy reading is mindless and relaxing and got her into the habit of reading for relaxation.  After starting out with easy stuff she moved onto the hard stuff.  On a recent library visit she picked up "Tom Sawyer" for example.  She'd heard of it somewhere and wanted to read it.  It's a bit hard vocabulary wise but she seems to be enjoying it.

We're also huge readers ourselves and our walls are lined with books.  If you don't have lots of books around already then library visits are the way to go.

Anyway, my advice would be not to be pushy or direct about it but just give them access to reading material that interests them -whatever that is.  And then cut down on the screen time.

Pigeon

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2018, 02:07:47 PM »
It's too bad you're starting at this point, but better late than never.  Get them to a public library on a weekly basis.  Let them get out a tote bag full of books.  Don't try to manage the book selection.  It doesn't matter what they are reading, it matters that they are reading at this point.  If they aren't interested in books at all, but might read magazines, get them magazines.  The key thing is that they get to pick materials that interest them.

Do you read on a regular basis in a place where they can see you reading?  Do you talk about what you've read?  Can you take turns reading articles about stuff that is of interest to them and talking about it over dinner?

I had one kid who was a somewhat reluctant reader until the first Twilight book came out.  I cringed inside when she picked it out at the library, but she polished it off, all 540 pages of it in a weekend, and hasn't stopped reading since.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 02:11:19 PM »
going to the library every week is a great idea.

My youngest it is really really difficult for her to read. For us we read to her. I always thought at some point we would stop when she got older. But even though she is now reading a little more, reading to her seems even more important. Not only the bonding, but it makes her think of books as forms of entertainment, information, adventure. She thinks about the book, is able to talk to friends about books and think about what book she wants me to read to her next. It still improves her vocabulary. She WANTS to get to the point she can read completely on her own.

I think picking a book, and reading some of it every night would be a good bonding experience for your family. If not the Hobbit, maybe into Thin Air, or another book you think teens would like. Have a electronic free day. Say every Monday or whatever, there is no tv, tablet, etc use. Choices then are outside activities and in the evenings board games, card games or books.

I am a big fan of graphic novels. The classic is Maus, currently there is the March (John Lewis) series. So much good stuff out there. Alan Moore for those who love more occult stuff. I loved "My favorite thing is Monsters".

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2018, 02:20:42 PM »
Do they like board games or things like that?

DnD has factored into my passions a lot for the last few years and the amount of reading you have to do just to run a game is intense. But also, it teaches a lot about problem solving, flexibility, adaptability and creativity.

Given its popularity in things like Community (is that the TV show?) and Stranger Things, it might be easier to get them pulled into it.

And then it could be a good bridge into writing or creating their own adventures. There's a lot of free one-shots you can find online if you want to give it a try without spending any money. You could even see if their friends want to try playing with them.

If DnD isn't their speed, you could try even just other board games. Check to see if your city has any board game cafes or gameshop meet ups where you can play board games with them. It can bridge them from reading about game rules into reading other materials.

Another avenue could be webcomics or graphic novels.
They still read, but it's a more visual medium and it doesn't feel like "reading" as much as it is. There's a lot of really neat ones out that also deal with quite deep and educational subjects - the library would be a great resource for these.
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Apple_Tango

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 02:48:19 PM »
I like the idea of a book/movie pairing. Read the hunger games, then have a movie night to watch the hunger games. Repeat for Harry Potter, the Maze Runner, etc. I think you should read with them :) young adult books are still my favorite even though Iím 26.

Thereís a book series called the sword of truth (first book is called Wizardís First Rule). thereís 13 or 14 books And I think all of them are 400-1000 pages.  They are very mature/graphic in terms of sex and murder so you probably would want to read them first to make sure you feel they are appropriate.. But I have not met one person who has not loved them. In 9th grade, a kid got the series as a gift and about 30 of us passed the books around in a loop after one of us finished.. . My mom loved them, her renter loved them (so much that he took the last book and never returned it!) itís got a love story, magic, dragons, quests, fighting, war...haha something for everyone.

Try to get them hooked on a series like that and they will be reading all summer.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 02:53:03 PM by Apple_Tango »
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Noodle

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2018, 03:31:33 PM »
It sort of depends on your kids, and whether the problem is distraction or not liking to read in general...however, a few suggestions:

A couple different libraries I have had cards with did summer reading programs for adults. My favorite version was the bingo card where there were lots of different categories and you filled in a book for each. Then you would win a small prize (I still have the coffee mugs) and went into a drawing for a big prize. I agree you shouldn't pay for reading, but it might be fun to do a family version of this (Mom and Dad too) with the kids helping put the cards together and offer a small reward for a Bingo and a big reward for the whole card (and maybe something really special if all of you manage it.)

All reading is good. Cliched romance novels are good. Graphic novels and comic books are good. Fashion and gaming magazines are good. Even if the content isn't "serious," building decoding skills works with any text.

Do your kids prefer e-books? I have two nieces. One loves her Kindle and taking it away would mean cutting way back on her reading. The other really prefers hard copies. You might need to plan around that if you are trying to dial back the screen time.

Second the audiobooks. For people who struggle with text on the page, they can be a great way to consume books. Silent individual reading is a fairly late innovation--reading aloud has been extremely common way of enjoying books going back to the early days of text.

Also, one cool thing is that your kids are old enough to read books that you would read also. So asking them to pick out a book for you to read could be fun. If you want your kids to read, you definitely need to be reading yourself as teens are often very sensitive to "do as I say, not as I do."

mm1970

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2018, 03:37:26 PM »
We try something like this:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/58335757656341580/

Basically, reading is required.  At least 30 minutes.

solon

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2018, 03:37:40 PM »
Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! Really like the BINGO idea.

Yes, we are a heavy-reading family. My wife and I read all the time, and our older daughter (who I haven't mentioned yet) is a voracious reader. The problem with these younger two is: video games, snapchat, netflix, facebook, etc. Those things are SO much easier, and so much more fun.

I remember reading a really great idea for getting kids to read, and it was a counter-point to paying them to read. I just can't remember what it is!

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2018, 03:38:38 PM »
If your kids are not avid readers, I don't think trying to make them so at 16 and 17 is a terribly achievable objective.

If your primary goal is to get your kids off their screens for the summer, a far better approach may be to get them involved in activities inside and outside the home.  At 16 and 17, why are they not working during the summer holidays?
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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2018, 05:27:51 PM »
I might be an outlier...but here's my 2 cents. I never really cared for books, and when required to read them and write book reports for school, I always went for the technical ones; sometimes techno-history, but never fiction. Attempts to 'make me' read had the opposite effect. High school and college? More of the same...thick, tiresome novels. Just didn't like it. Once I hit my late 20's, it was a different story.

Just recently I blew through a Crichton novel in 48 hours; couldn't put it down. And in the evenings I'm enjoying 'Digital Apollo', a technical history on man-machine interface and design. Books are piling up.

You can try to force them, try to offer incentives, and push all you like, but don't feel discouraged if you don't see immediate results. They might just not be ready for it.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2018, 05:49:50 PM »
Instead of paying them to read, maybe trying giving them gift cards or cash earmarked for book only purchases?

FWIW-I have always been a reader, but my non academic reading really decreased from 15-20; I was just way more interested in the opposite sex, cars, and motorcycles than reading. So, if they have read in the past, I wouldn't be terrible worried about their reading decreasing at that age. Mine picked up in college when I needed an escape from school.

**Interested in the responses-we recently welcomed our son and I very much wish to pass on my love of reading. We are halfway through reading the hobbit together!

Ynari

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2018, 07:48:29 PM »
Vote for the "take them to the library/bookstore and let them pick out something that interests them". As a young adult myself, I don't see media format as the end-all-be-all that some do. I was a voracious reader but hated video content, could never see much merit in widely acclaimed or classic movies yet read shitty YA novels non-stop. SO never read anything he didn't have to, but consumes educational youtube like its the only thing on the planet. Now, I've learned how to appreciate the efficiencies of video content, and SO listens to audiobooks. Good media is good media, regardless of format.

There are tons of thought-provoking video games out there, and the level of engagement may be higher, particularly for those who haven't always been into reading. I'd say, rather than trying to mandate the media format, get them into a conversation about the value of individual pieces of media. Watch something on Netflix with them and ask them what they thought of the cinematography or the writing/plot. (Cinematography is FASCINATING.) See if they'd be willing to write/record a review of whatever they just watched/played/read, start a blog or a youtube channel about their reveiws. Getting them to engage with content is, IMO, more valuable than the amount of content they consume, whatever the format.

CU Tiger

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2018, 08:29:41 PM »
I'd go to the library and get them to go with. Ask them to read to you while you cook dinner or fold clothes. Play audiobooks while they are around.

Then make than get summer jobs, they are old enough. Less time to be hooked up to a screen, plus spending money.
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vivian

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2018, 11:36:16 PM »
Since you are avid readers, I wonder if you read a real book or on a screen? I ask because I noticed my (much younger) son was more likely to read next to me if I was reading a real book rather than a kindle. If I’m looking at a screen, he thinks I’m playing a game.


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MrThatsDifferent

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2018, 01:05:58 AM »
How can we get our kids interested in reading?

I have two teenagers, 16 and 17. They are facing a summer with not much to do, and will probably waste their time with video games and binging Netflix.

I want to encourage them to read a lot, a book a week, say. My first thought was to pay them for their reading. But it seems like I've read somewhere recently that that is a very bad idea. It teaches them to see reading as a chore, something to be endured so they can get the payoff at the end. But I can't remember where I read that, or what the better suggestion was.

Can you point me to that thing I read?

Or better yet, can you think of a GREAT way to motivate teens to read?

I have no idea how youíd get 16 & 17 yo boys tomread if thatís not their thing. Iím wondering though about the summer with not much to do: can the work somewhere, can they be self employed and do lawn work, can they volunteer somewhere, can they go to summer camp or sports camp? I never had a boring summer, ever. They are of working age, thereís lots they can be doing.

Laura33

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2018, 07:12:10 AM »
The way we got our kids reading was to make it the lesser of the available evils.  My kids didn't want to go to sleep?  Fine -- you don't have to sleep, you just need to be in bed, and if you can't sleep, read a book.  And then we would build in weekend library trips, where they could choose whatever books they wanted -- my DD in particular likes to acquire stuff, so having free rein to grab All The Books totally floated her boat.

It's harder when they're older, if they haven't already built the habit; now they are at an age where it is their job to push back against whatever mom and dad want to establish their independence, so the more you push, the more they are likely to dig in their heels.  But the same principle applies.  I think most normal people would choose Netflix or computer games over a book 9 times out of 10 -- I love reading so much I majored in English lit, and I still play my stupid video games or watch a show every night.  OTOH, if the Netflix and computer games and phones and tablets aren't available, then they'll find something else to do.  You can't force them to read, but you can periodically remove the other temptations and let them figure out that reading is the most entertaining option left.

I would also caution you against pushing them toward particular books.  Personally, I loved a lot of the classics.  But my DD, man, she is Joe Friday -- no patience for symbolism, or foreshadowing, or all of those other literary tricks.  She reads for plot and action and information.  So even though she reads voraciously, her English classes have always been like pulling teeth, because they force her to read boring, dense things that are full of stuff that she doesn't care about.  For her, nonfiction was a great option (at least before she discovered all of the action-packed teen series that are out there now, like the Hunger Games trio).

Tl;dr:  I'd think some combination of electronics-free time and habitual library trips may help.
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savedough

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2018, 07:17:19 AM »
Do they see you and your significant other reading?  And talking about what you have read?  Talking about what they have read? 

How many books are there in the house?  Have you been taking the kids to your local public library every weekend?

I have always been a reader.  It's because I grew up in a house with a lot of books, had parents who were readers and talked about what they were reading, who asked about what I was reading, who took me to the library every Saturday for the whole of my childhood.

Granted I grew up in the days before the internet and cell phones and video games.  Perhaps you could take the kids camping, or some other location where there is no internet access.  Or disable your router after 6pm?

I grew up the same and am a voracious reader but not all of my siblings are.  My kids have books, see me read and we go to the library all the time but I have one that just isnít interested (yet I hope).   

One thing that does work for him is if he reads the book, we do a special movie date or movie night.   Sometimes that backfires because itís a picture book, but more often than not he reads the chapter book and likes it better!

mm1970

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2018, 08:46:33 AM »
Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! Really like the BINGO idea.

Yes, we are a heavy-reading family. My wife and I read all the time, and our older daughter (who I haven't mentioned yet) is a voracious reader. The problem with these younger two is: video games, snapchat, netflix, facebook, etc. Those things are SO much easier, and so much more fun.

I remember reading a really great idea for getting kids to read, and it was a counter-point to paying them to read. I just can't remember what it is!

Yep, my boys are 5 and 12, same issue here.  We limit their time on devices.  Usually.  Not always good about it.

seemsright

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2018, 10:05:42 AM »
There is a link between learning (aka reading) and being rich. I would stress this till I was blue in the face. It will click for them at some point.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/the-reading-habits-of-ult_b_9688130.html?
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PhilB

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2018, 01:15:46 PM »
###### Apologies in advance - serious bragging follows  ######
We have been abject failures in terms of persuading our kids not to be picky eaters. As a result, we end up cooking for them first and then for ourselves afterwards.  As part of this, every evening one of us reads to the kids whilst they eat, whilst the other cooks our dinner.  Today, for the first time ever, we managed to persuade our 14-year-old eldest son to take over reading whilst we ate our dinner.  It was nearly an hour before we finally had to ask him to stop so we could all get on with other jobs.  Result!

If anyone's interested, the book was 'The Truth' by Terry Pratchett.

Nightwatchman9270

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2018, 02:02:21 PM »
I'm assuming they are getting jobs if they have nothing else to do.  If not, why not?  They should learn the sweat equity involved in earning a dollar.

Sitting around the house all summer wasn't an option for me when I was in high school and I like to think I'm a lot better off for it.

I know this doesn't directly answer your question but I couldn't help myself.

I guess the other option is to cancel Netflix.  It's easy to do.  Hell cancel your cable too.  Save yourself several hundreds of dollars.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2018, 02:34:09 PM »
I think people have said a lot of good things.  But as a non-parent to a non-reader (she can't speak yet, we read to her, but she mostly just chews the pages), former teacher- don't judge what they read. Let them read what they want, even if it is junk. Encourage the reading of said junk. Enjoying any written word should be the goal. Then you can move on to expanding what they read.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2018, 03:24:56 PM »
Our home had lots of books, lots of discussions about books. Two teachers in the house. We were encouraged to get out the relevant volume of the Encyclopedia Americana if we had a question about something (even in the middle of dinner).

I am and have always been a voracious reader of books (all kinds). I have had since childhood an almost perverse love of books (I went into publishing), but both of my younger brothers were not big readers when they were young. They obviously did and do read (one has a master's degree in engineering). They are very intelligent and keep up on the news and science and such. They just didn't curl up with a book for 6 hours like I did. I have no idea why.

My brothers were, however, interested in learning. The issue these days, I think, is learning (and a lot of reading, too) seems to be all in the computer, rather than out in the world. I think what you want is to get them off their computers and find "real" things to do. What those real things should be, I don't know. Kids aren't allowed to do much on their own now. Do they like making things, fixing things, taking apart old toasters and radios, music, creating art, cooking experiments, learning how to grow things? They should pick a project for the summer. And yeah, one of those projects could be a part-time job or helping others or volunteering.

My mother, an art teacher, would say reading isn't the only way to learn and be curious. Also, check out Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences" theory.

ETA: Sometimes now I wish I had been pushed to not read so much and instead learn things like how fix a toilet, grout some tile, maintain the car, replace a light fixture, etc. You know, DIY.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 03:30:15 PM by Basenji »

scissorbill

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2018, 04:02:10 PM »
What has worked for my 16 year old is $100 device called Circle that limits screen time.  He hates it.  He gets bored and reads or plays with his brothers.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2018, 07:37:25 PM »
Why is reading better than Netflix? Aren't they both storytelling?

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2018, 09:28:46 PM »
Why is reading better than Netflix? Aren't they both storytelling?

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Vocabulary enrichment is one reason. Rare words occur much more often in printed matter than in conversation or on television.

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Plugging Along

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2018, 10:14:49 PM »
Why is reading better than Netflix? Aren't they both storytelling?

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Totally different in terms of value.   Both can be entertaining, but reading is active while watching tv is passive. Kids that read do much better in school and learn a lot more.  Attention spans are much longer in readers.  In fact TV is known to decrease attention span in kids.    They are totally different other than one shows you a story and gives you the intprwtstion, reading is much more involved.

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2018, 08:21:14 AM »
Why is reading better than Netflix? Aren't they both storytelling?

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Totally different in terms of value.   Both can be entertaining, but reading is active while watching tv is passive. Kids that read do much better in school and learn a lot more.  Attention spans are much longer in readers.  In fact TV is known to decrease attention span in kids.    They are totally different other than one shows you a story and gives you the intprwtstion, reading is much more involved.
And @jengod I think both of your replies are true depending on what exactly it is that you're watching or reading,  but not necessarily true.

Plugging along I believe the better academic success is true if only because school is heavily dependent on reading so better reading fluency is going to translate to better scores.

But in terms of pure intrinsic value I'm not convinced that *all* reading is necessarily better than *all* media viewing.

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AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2018, 11:21:09 PM »
First of all it's about the medium - comic books are reading, fantasy books are reading, magazines are reading. OK, they're not Shakespeare, but it's a start.

Secondly, it's about the subject matter. Maybe your kid prefers non fiction, maybe your kid prefers engine manuals, maybe your kid prefers sparkly vampires. They should be able to read whatever they like.

Thirdly, it's about the model. Do you read? Are there books around? Do you research a problem in books? Do you go to the library as a family?

The irl experience I have with this is preteen boys. They're generally not big readers. Lord of the Rings is a pretty easy fix. You watch half of one movie, and read to that point in the book. Then the next half and read to the point in the book. It lets them compare the book and movie as they go, without feeling like they're doing something boring. There are loads of movie/book combos you could use, Harry Potter being another obvious one.

Villanelle

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2018, 11:58:34 PM »
Another voice encouraging library use.  And that doesn't have to be just going to check out books.  Most libraries have all sorts of programs--writing groups, STEM/science projects, and so very much more.  If they are there doing science projects with food or making crafts or whatever else the library offers, that's a win, even if there is no book in their hand.  Just getting your kids to the library (and hopefully to look forward to their time there) will be a huge step.  If they value freedom and time away from parents, offer to take them (and a couple friends) and drop them off at the library for a few hours, and let them know what content is scheduled for that time.  They can hang out, read, participate in programing, or do whatever they want as long as it is within library rules and not disruptive. 

If their interests are video games and social media, try to find books related to those things.  (Asking your local librarian for help with this is probably the easiest way, but it's better to either call and make the request and give them time to do a proper reader's advisory service, or go in but make it clear from the beginning that you know this could take a while and are prepared to come back in a few days.)  If they don't offer any readers' advisory (which seems unlikely, but I'm sure it happens), ask if the provide access to NoveList, which helps find "read-alike" books for favorite books or authors.

You and your spouse could start a small book club, of sorts.  Talk about the most recent chapter at the dinner table.  The kids may read to be able to join the conversation.  If they don't, continue on but don't pressure. 

Mezzie

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2018, 02:34:42 AM »
It's definitely harder to start late, but the same basic rules apply: model how you value and enjoy reading. Subscribe to physical newspapers and/or magazines and read aloud the most interesting articles or sections to each other and discuss (in my family, this often happened as someone was preparing a meal). Read (physical) books instead of watching TV.

I'm emphasizing the physical reading materials because it erases any ambiguity about what exactly you're doing; a device obscures that.

Ask your kids' English teacher and your local librarian for suggestions of books that would match your kids' interests. Read them and talk about them in front of your kids. Don't be afraid to be critical of the books you don't like or of abandoning ones that don't hold your interest; that shows that it's okay when not every book is a good match for the reader and that good readers can be picky.

Basically, make reading look fun and valued. If you have some family no-screen time in your home (a good idea in the evenings for healthy sleep anyway), they may just pick up one of those books or magazines you have lyjng around. They may play a board game or cards. They may go out and exercise. They may socialize in person with friends instead of by text/social media. All of these outcomes are good, even if they aren't your desired outcome.

Definitely go to the library as a family regularly, but I'd let them do their thjng while there. Hopefully that will involve checking out some books, but it might not.

I would advise against forced reading at this stage unless they have some actual reading deficiencies (and in that case, I would enlist the help of my local school's reading specialist).

Let their teachers be the bad guys* that make them read (you can enforce that they do their homework, of course); you can just change the model of reading in your home. I would definitely stay away from any bribery or forced reading.

*I say this as a teacher. For eight years, I taught adolescents that read at around a second grade level, if that. We read everything under the sun in our class, always tied to something students were curious about, and their reading comprehension and speed improved dramatically. Still, they didn't generally read unless forced to during class until second semester by which time I'd read and talked about so many books that they realized there really were books for everyone out there and that, sometimes, a book that didn't initially catch their interest could be great. When we'd go to the library during first semester, it was drudgery; by second semester, it was a treat, and they would often create their own book clubs. My reading classes were 80% male.

I still teach reluctant readers, though more skilled, and it is still my enthusiasm about reading and my sharing of the books and articles I've been reading that makes more converts than anything I assign (though this year Oedipus was so popular, several students said if all books were that interesting, they would actually read!).

If you want to learn about how to engage reluctant adolescent readers, I suggest any books by Kelley Gallagher or Jeff Wilhelm.


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shelivesthedream

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2018, 05:40:19 AM »
An alternative way to think about library use: as a child, we were taken to the library every week and required to take out the full number of books - eight, I think. They could be on anything as long as they weren't "unsuitable". I went through phases of getting a lot of art and craft books, and also phases of reading absolutely every book in various trashy series (Sweet Valley High FTW!). But we weren't actually required to read any of the books - just to pick them out and check them out. However, when you've chosen a book yourself and it's sat there sort of looking at you...well, it's hard not to read any of them. I often took books out and gave them back without reading them but rarely did a week go by when I didn't touch the pile of books at all.

Disclaimer: this was in the 1990s/2000s when screens weren't as ubiquitous. However, TV and computer games certainly existed, but we both blitzed our way through hundreds of thousands of words as well as many hours watching The Simpsons and playing Age of Empires.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2018, 08:13:42 AM »
My kids love to read but we still have a struggle in the summer where they'd rather be playing video games.

Our rule is that you must read for 30 minutes a day, and you must do this reading before any electronics time.  At dinner, we talk about what everyone read.  If you don't have anything to talk about, or your sibling tattles that you didn't actually read, we change the wifi password and lock them ALL out for 24 hours.  (It's amazing what peer pressure can do.)

Often they'll get sucked into the book and read for a lot longer than 30 minutes.

We also have weekly reading nights (instead of movie nights).  Everyone gathers in the living room with their reading material of choice.  We have popcorn and other snacks and we all read for an hour or two.

Our library offers teen book clubs.  That might be something your kids are interested in.  Or do a family book club, and let the kids take turns picking out what everyone (even you) has to read.  My kids like discussing their favorite books with each other (my job is to occasionally say "that's GROSS" so they can remain convinced that they are "cool" because mom just doesn't get it).
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LiveLean

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2018, 10:39:28 AM »
We have boys 15 and 12 and understand the daily battle with phones and screens.

Bottom line: If they haven't been reading much in recent years, you're fighting a losing battle. I'm a writer and my wife is a librarian so they see us reading all of the time. That's not sufficient, though. You have to keep putting books in front of them. We've made it a family habit for years of reading many young adult series. You know the famous ones -- Harry Potter, Divergent, Hunger Games, Maze Runner - but there are many others such as Gregor the Overlander, The Unwanteds, Time Riders, The Testing, Gone, The Fifth Wave, etc.

I read 61 books last year by carrying a book literally everywhere I went and reading in those many little spans of waiting where you'd otherwise just look at your phone.

The work we put in getting books in our kids' hands now is money we'll save later on SAT prep courses we won't have to pay for. You can coach up a kid on the math side but it's a lot harder to coach up the verbal side to a kid who hasn't been reading enough.
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mm1970

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2018, 01:17:23 PM »
My kids love to read but we still have a struggle in the summer where they'd rather be playing video games.

Our rule is that you must read for 30 minutes a day, and you must do this reading before any electronics time.  At dinner, we talk about what everyone read.  If you don't have anything to talk about, or your sibling tattles that you didn't actually read, we change the wifi password and lock them ALL out for 24 hours.  (It's amazing what peer pressure can do.)

Often they'll get sucked into the book and read for a lot longer than 30 minutes.

We also have weekly reading nights (instead of movie nights).  Everyone gathers in the living room with their reading material of choice.  We have popcorn and other snacks and we all read for an hour or two.

Our library offers teen book clubs.  That might be something your kids are interested in.  Or do a family book club, and let the kids take turns picking out what everyone (even you) has to read.  My kids like discussing their favorite books with each other (my job is to occasionally say "that's GROSS" so they can remain convinced that they are "cool" because mom just doesn't get it).

Yes.

Plus, it's a constant battle.  Just because you figure it out doesn't mean it's not going to be a battle.

We have reading rules in our house, but the 12 year old still pushes his limits.

- Sunday, baseball.  3 hr in the morning, 3 hr in the afternoon.  I tell him in the morning "you must plan your reading today around this.  I do not care when you do it but you are NOT staying up late and you WILL do your reading."  Still, Sunday night "can I only do 15 minutes?" NO

- Yesterday, the damn iPad.  Starting at 7:30 pm.  "Don't forget to do your reading."  "I know".  "You are not staying up past 9."  "Okay fine."  "Do you have any homework to go along with the reading?"  "No, just the reading."

8:00 pm "Don't forget your reading."  "I WILL IN A LITTLE BIT"
8:20 pm "It's 8:20 pm, and you are losing your 30 minute window." "I KNOW STOP BUGGING ME I'M ALMOST DONE WITH THIS BATTLE"
8:30 pm "It's 8:30 pm" "GEEZ IN JUST A MINUTE". 
 seconds later (me): "FINE NO ELECTRONICS AT ALL TOMORROW" and suddenly "OKAY OKAY OKAY I'M DONE PLEASE LET ME USE MY PHONE TOMORROW"

And my kid is a pretty good reader.


solon

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2018, 02:10:56 PM »
My kids love to read but we still have a struggle in the summer where they'd rather be playing video games.

Our rule is that you must read for 30 minutes a day, and you must do this reading before any electronics time.  At dinner, we talk about what everyone read.  If you don't have anything to talk about, or your sibling tattles that you didn't actually read, we change the wifi password and lock them ALL out for 24 hours.  (It's amazing what peer pressure can do.)

Often they'll get sucked into the book and read for a lot longer than 30 minutes.

We also have weekly reading nights (instead of movie nights).  Everyone gathers in the living room with their reading material of choice.  We have popcorn and other snacks and we all read for an hour or two.

Our library offers teen book clubs.  That might be something your kids are interested in.  Or do a family book club, and let the kids take turns picking out what everyone (even you) has to read.  My kids like discussing their favorite books with each other (my job is to occasionally say "that's GROSS" so they can remain convinced that they are "cool" because mom just doesn't get it).

Yes.

Plus, it's a constant battle.  Just because you figure it out doesn't mean it's not going to be a battle.

We have reading rules in our house, but the 12 year old still pushes his limits.

- Sunday, baseball.  3 hr in the morning, 3 hr in the afternoon.  I tell him in the morning "you must plan your reading today around this.  I do not care when you do it but you are NOT staying up late and you WILL do your reading."  Still, Sunday night "can I only do 15 minutes?" NO

- Yesterday, the damn iPad.  Starting at 7:30 pm.  "Don't forget to do your reading."  "I know".  "You are not staying up past 9."  "Okay fine."  "Do you have any homework to go along with the reading?"  "No, just the reading."

8:00 pm "Don't forget your reading."  "I WILL IN A LITTLE BIT"
8:20 pm "It's 8:20 pm, and you are losing your 30 minute window." "I KNOW STOP BUGGING ME I'M ALMOST DONE WITH THIS BATTLE"
8:30 pm "It's 8:30 pm" "GEEZ IN JUST A MINUTE". 
 seconds later (me): "FINE NO ELECTRONICS AT ALL TOMORROW" and suddenly "OKAY OKAY OKAY I'M DONE PLEASE LET ME USE MY PHONE TOMORROW"

And my kid is a pretty good reader.

Yes! Amen! Preach! It goes pretty much like this with 17 year olds, too.

GuitarStv

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2018, 02:21:43 PM »
At those ages (16-17), I feel like it may well be too late.

You teach the love of reading very early on, starting by reading every night to them at around 2 years old.  By four you start helping them to read to you every night.  By 5-6 you get 'em any kind of book that they might be slightly interested in, and let them go off on their own (still reading to them every night).  At 10+, let them read anything that interests them.  Anything.  Even the total garbage stuff that you think is vile.  They'll gravitate towards better material naturally over time.  (Of course, if they're looking for suggestions you should certainly make them.)  Keep reading to them every night, picking more challenging (but still interesting) material as they age.

I think that forcing a child to read is likely to just push them away from doing it.  There's nothing more grating and miserable than being forced to do something.  You can certainly limit tv/ipad/computer/cellphone time though.

My mother was a teacher for 30+ years, who focused on special reading programs for advanced and behind kids.  This is roughly the approach that she recommended.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 11:10:27 AM by GuitarStv »
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tralfamadorian

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2018, 07:07:30 PM »
Cancel their cell phone service, disconnect your home internet service, leave a bag of books in the middle of the room and see what happens.

Disclaimer: I'm just an uncle.

Pretty much my childhood summers right here except I had to beg for rides to the library. Voracious reading was had. 

malacca

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2018, 12:13:10 PM »
My kids have always had limited TV or no TV. And no Xbox or whatever.

And iPad time is controlled to education only.

So they LOVE to read. It is the most interesting thing for them. They would read all day if allowed to.

Discipline starts with the parents. You control what they eat, who they meet, and what they do with their time.

My kids do not eat candy, drink soda or watch shit TV. Never was allowed.
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Mikila

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #46 on: April 24, 2018, 05:51:36 PM »
You can get them interested in reading by

Requiring reading for a certain amount of time each time (their choice what to read).  When my DD was 7-8 she claimed to hate reading and always protested, but it was non-negotiable.  People who are slower readers or struggle to read typically DON'T enjoy it because it is difficult for them.  I wanted to get DD past that level.  * now she is 10 and reads at least an hr a day

Taking them to the library.  My requirements go like this for mine: You pick AT LEAST 1 educational book and one fun book.  (My DS comes home with odd books like Psychology textbooks but whatever, at least he's reading)

If I notice them gravitating towards TV/ video games more, I tell them that life is about balance and theirs is not balanced.  Then we ban or restrict screens to <2 hrs/ day. 

I am a firm believer that readers become smarter than non-readers.  The vocabulary and knowledge contained in books far exceeds what one finds in conversation or on television, and it is presented in a more memorable way than memorizing vocabulary words.  Their knowledge snowballs so that avid readers progress faster and pull ahead of non-readers over time.



LiveLean

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2018, 08:39:59 AM »
Our kids have always been able to read in the car, something I could never do without getting carsick. (I grew up with my dad smoking in the car, so even sitting in the backseats of cars makes me sick even now.)

As they've gotten older --- 15 and 12 -- the battle vs. screens has become tougher. So we insist that when they're in the car they read books -- no screens. This drives DW nuts since she likes to listen to the radio, but she turns it off.

If you're like us, you have more than an hour a day spent in the car driving to school and sports. So that's one way to get the hour in.
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FLBiker

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2018, 08:10:06 AM »
I'm in a very different situation (DD is just 3) but here's what we've done.

We read with her all the time.  She doesn't have access to any screens (maybe watches 30 min - 1 hour of Daniel Tiger per week).  We both read a lot (although not around her, really, because if we try she'll ask us to read her something).  We have tons of books / reading materials, we take her to the library a lot, etc.

DD absolutely loves reading.  She likes playing with toys, but I'd say she asks us to read books with her at least half the time.

We intend to continue to highly restrict screen time going forward -- and that means for ourselves as well as her.  I don't think it works well if we say one thing and do another (re: reading, eating, exercise, screen time, etc.).

cats

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Re: How can we get our kids interested in reading?
« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2018, 08:03:03 AM »
My parents allowed a fair bit of screen time over the summer, but there were still conditions/limits on use.  It sounds in this case like that's really what your kids need.

It also sounds like they might be old enough to understand some of the risks of too much screen time if you were to share with them articles about effects on the brain, screen addiction, how it stifles creativity, etc.  Basically try to sell them on the idea that screens are for people who can't think of anything better to do with themselves, or are the modern opiate of the masses, along with imposing limits.  Maybe tell them you are also going to limit your screen time and turn that into some kind of game. Perhaps give them a daily screen time allowance and allow them to "bank" unused screen time and if they manage to hit a certain amount banked the reward is some kind of fun activity or other non-monetary perk at the end of the summer?  I do not have a teenager yet so no personal experience, just throwing some ideas out there. 

Does your local library have a summer reading program?  Ours does and some of the prizes would probably be appealing to teenagers (free ice cream sundaes).