Getting Kids to Read

There is an adorable interview with one of the best children’s authors of all time: Judy Blume. This one was my favorite, and I have to tell you: it WORKS.

“If you want them to read my books don’t tell them so. Maybe just leave around a paperback with a new cover and say, ‘I’m not sure you’re ready for that.’”

My opinion is that there’s an even further step you can take. Read the book yourself.  Then, you’re also armed with the ability to sling out book-teasers — and you will be able to have a conversation about the book after they read it.

The trick here is to be a little coy about matching child and book. Know their reading level, and their interests, and then just make the book available and enticing.  Curiosity will do the rest of the work for you.

This is precisely how I tricked Ethan into reading Odd and the Frost Giants.  Granted, it’s a book by one of my favorite authors, and I had read it for my own pleasure.

I do think there’s an element of doing this with the right book for the child, as well.  As my Twitter friend Amanda says – anyone who says they don’t like to read just hasn’t met the right book yet.

The other trick that I used was to encourage Brett to let Ethan “catch him” reading. Until a certain point, Ethan thought reading was for girls. The only people he saw pleasure reading were women!


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