Trying to figure out how to encourage kids to read can be a challenge. Growing up, I was a reader, and I’ve never really stopped. So many children don’t have a love of reading (yet), and with schools assigning reading minutes as homework, often it can be a challenge and become a fight.
When I received an email from Scholastic (coincidence – this isn’t a sponsored post) talking about their January reading challenge, I knew it was time to share one of my favorite techniques of how to encourage kids to read. Just like potty training, if you drive the bus, there are many kids who won’t get on board. If they have a say, it becomes something they have control over and are more willing to go along with the program.
Scholastic is sharing their “Reading Resolution” for kids – after all, they don’t need the traditional new year resolutions so many adults tend to make. Scholastic offers the 20-20 Challenge as a Reading Resolution where kids pledge (or are challenged) to read together for 20 minutes a day for 20 days. Their parent feedback shows that the 20 day pledge creates a habit that lasts far longer than the initial 20 day period, and I’m all for that.
You can sign the pledge yourself one way to help grow a reader. It’s easy and free, but what do you do once you’ve signed the pledge, how do you encourage kids to read – to actually do the reading challenge?
Little Miss’s teacher sent home a reading challenge over Thanksgiving break that was so much fun. She loved checking off the items, and when her teacher sent home a similar list over break, of course she couldn’t wait to check out that list, too. In fact, we just finished the last item today. It was a clever and creative idea on how to encourage kids to read more.
How to Encourage Kids To Read
When there are silly items or thing that kids think they “shouldn’t” be allowed to do, reading can become so much more fun. This isn’t a cure all or a magic pill, but for some of those reluctant readers out there? This just might be what makes reading something more than a chore where the kitchen timer gets set nightly.
Just because you’re at the library doesn’t mean you have to read in the chairs they provide. Find your own comfy spot and enjoy. This is a unique pass through “door” at the start of the kid section at our library. Little Miss decided it made a perfect reading nook, and as it isn’t blocking anyone’s way (there is a second giant hole and a traditional hallway), this “forbidden” spot suddenly became a dream reading haven and she now wants to stop and read there every time we visit the library.
I created my own reading challenge list with 45 fun tasks to check off. Feel free to use it as a way to get those 20 minutes of reading completed over the next 20 days or keep going once you’re done. I made the rule that any given stretch of reading could only count for one activity. Little Miss couldn’t, for example, read out loud to her brother in her silliest voice while in a shopping cart at Costco clutching a stuffed animal. She instead has to choose just one activity to check off – because I know she’ll complete the others. If your child is a more reluctant reader, go ahead and mark off all five items to show progress on the reading challenge chart.
For my reading challenge list, we chose a few of Little Miss’s favorite from the lists her teacher shared and then we sat down to brainstorm all the ways she wishes she could read. In my bed? Added. Upside down? Why not! A book someone recommends to her? Yup. The challenges on this list comprise a variety of reading materials from a favorite book to a book about a holiday, as well as places to read (in the car, somewhere you’ve never read before, in a blanket fort) and ways to read (via Skype, having someone read to you, or an audiobook) so the challenges provide variety and keep kids engaged.
I created a free printable to download and use (for personal use only) to track your your own reading challenge, whether you use it with Scholastic’s 20-20 Challenge or your own inspiration. If there’s an item that doesn’t work for you, simply swap it out for one of your own creation. After all, the initial list and wandering the bookstore (then plopping on the floor to read) is how Little Miss discovered her newest favorite book series! Any way I can think how to encourage kids to read, I’m grabbing!