How to Get Your Kid to Read!

By: OwlCrate Jr

How Can I Get My Kid to Read?

It's a question we get asked a lot -- how can I encourage my kid to read? Well, Kitty Felde, host and executive producer of the Book Club for Kids podcast, named by The Times of London as one of the top 10 kidcasts in the world, has some answers for you!! 

Take it away Kitty!


It’s a complaint I hear from many parents: my kids hate reading. How can I get them to pick up a book?

Since 2015, I’ve been collecting suggestions from the experts – teachers and librarians – to share with Book Club for Kids podcast listeners. Today, I’m sharing their top ten tips for turning reluctant readers into lifelong book lovers.

1 – Create a Tradition of Reading.

Find a 20-minute block of time when devices are turned off and everyone picks up something to read. Everyone. It could be a romance novel, the sports pages, a graphic novel, even the dictionary. Anything. And for 20-minutes, it’s reading time. (Reading on a tablet or listening to an audiobook on your phone are wonderful, too, but the temptation to play Candy Crush or check a text can suck away the actual reading time. Put down the device.)

There are places where entire schools – students, staff, even the lunch ladies – stop what they are doing to read for 20-minutes. It’s their tradition. It could be yours, too.

2 – Read Aloud

We all love to be read to, no matter how old we are.

Back when Congressman Mark Takano was an English teacher, he read Pride and Prejudice aloud to his high school seniors. (And claims he delivered a pretty good Mrs. Bennet!) Reading aloud helps students get past the often slow start in older literature.

Takano says he’d always stop after chapter three to leave his students wanting more and encourage them to pick up the book to find out what happened next.

3 – Read the Subtitles

I’m a sucker for South Korean rom/coms. And since my Korean language skills are limited, that means a lot of reading of subtitles. Don’t laugh. It’s reading.

4 – There Are Two Kinds of People in the World

Some of us love novels. Others crave information. In other words, non-fiction. Perhaps your reluctant reader wants just the facts. Find out what they’re passionate about – spiders? Cooking? Motocross? – and check out the book!

5 – Meet a Writer

There's something powerful about meeting the person who turns words into magical worlds and memorable characters. To many kids, it's like meeting a rock star. For reluctant readers, an author visit can establish a personal connection to an actual human being and inspire them to read more by that writer. Check the calendars at libraries and bookstores. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has a terrific list of members who offer author visits. Many of them are free.

6 – Use Your Ears

Listening to audio books counts as reading. (But not during that designated 20-minute reading time…)

7 - Love the Movie, Read the Book

It’s a wonderful debate: which was better, the movie or the book?

Movies often leave us wanting more. Luckily, we can spend a bit more time with the characters inside the pages of a book. Movies are often based on novels. And a lot of books are based on movies. Rotten Tomatoes counts more than 100 novels coming to TV.

8 – Graphic Novels are Reading, Too

Yes, there are pictures. Lots of pictures. But have you ever picked up a graphic novel? All those tiny balloons contain lots and lots of words! It’s reading!

9 – Take a Field Trip

Take your reluctant reader to the independent bookstore in your neighborhood. Or the fanciest library in the city. They are temples to reading, full of book lovers who would be delighted to steer you and your child to your perfect next read.

10 - You Don’t Have to Finish It

Do you feel guilty about quitting in the middle of a book? You’re not the only one. A 2013 article in The Atlantic talks about the "quiet shame" of the half-book reader.

But Sereena Hamm is the librarian at Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. disagrees. Let them quit, she says, and pick up something else “as many times as it takes for them to find the right one."

Happy reading!


Kitty Felde is host and executive producer of the Book Club for Kids podcast, named by The Times of London as one of the top 10 kidcasts in the world. Kitty also writes The Fina Mendoza Mysteries series of books and podcasts, designed to introduce civics education to kids.