Tricking my kids into reading the good stuff.

My kids will happily read just about anything–unless it’s assigned reading. 

And if I make the further mistake to try to sell them on it? Well, forget about it. They won’t touch that book for years.

(Am I the only one?)

This used to upset me–as a parent, a teacher, and a curriculum director.

Of course, I could make them just read the book, and they’d do it. But you know what? We’ve worked hard to foster a love of learning in our kids. Instead of forcing them to begrudgingly read, I’ve decided to play to my strengths–and to theirs.

Because my kids will read just about anything–happily, and of their own initiative–if they think it’s their own idea. We’ve found a few ways to take advantage of that….

Today I’m over at Simple Homeschool, talking about how we get our kids to read the good stuff. Head here to read the rest.


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  1. Anna says:

    Thinking back to my own childhood, I can understand kids’ suspicion of the books their parents praise. I remember how a number of my friends and I agreed that *Across Five Aprils* was “one of those books that the moms all like and the kids don’t.” I preferred that my literary heroes be fairly noble, brave, and clever, but my mom liked books with more nuance. I didn’t yet “get” nuance.

    Yet I still remember snippets of *Across Five Aprils* and my reaction to them, which shows that even if a kid isn’t read to “get” a book, it still becomes part of their consciousness and may return to their mind at a later date.

    My parents followed a pattern similar to yours– good books, like good food, were always very available.

  2. Leanne says:

    My parents were both English teachers, so they, like you, felt strongly about introducing their kids to good literature. Their strategy? Encourage my love of reading by whatever books necessary, and then simply leave good literature lying around the house. I picked up Gone With The Wind and The Great Gatsby that way. I now read almost anything put in front of me (as long as it is well-written).

  3. Erica M. says:

    Hmm…Mom never had to really trick me into reading. I don’t think I had the aversion to assigned stuff that some kids have. But you make a lot of excellent points. Mom kept a copy of King Lear beside the bed, as well as an Edgar Allan Poe collection (which I started reading when I was still in elementary school), and Dad and Granddad were both constantly reading Louis L’Amour. (Then we had to watch all the movies. Ha!) My brother and I were always surrounded by reading in some form or another.

  4. Anne says:

    Great article!! I look forward to chapter books. I know I could try some now (oldest is 5.5yo), but I haven’t tried lately. (Like a parent reads aloud a chapter book, not the kid, lol.)

  5. Marie says:

    Even though my children are voracious readers, I was still concerned about the quality of the literature they were reading. Going to the library felt like I was searching for a needle in a haystack at times. Finally, I downloaded a list of Newberry award winners and honorable mentions to use as a guide and carried it with me everywhere. A wonderful librarian pointed out that award winning books could be identified by markings on the spine. So every time we went to the library, the kids would look for at least one award winning book. They had the freedom to make their own choices, but had guidelines for making good choices. But truth be told, it does break my heart just a bit that they did not read the Laura Ingalls Wilder set a dozen times and spend their summers playing homesteader.

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