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- Get Kids Reading -

Summertime is a golden opportunity for independent reading. Without the pressures of school and the associated extracurricular activities, kids and teens can relax and enjoy reading for pleasure during their long vacation days.

But what do you do if your child is a reluctant reader? When reading feels like a chore for kids, it can be tough to encourage them to pick up a book instead of a videogame controller. Here are a few strategies for inspiring your reluctant reader to hit the books this summer, and beyond:

- Allow your child to pick books on topics that interest them. Books that children choose for themselves often create more meaningful reading experiences. It is tempting to steer children towards the books that we loved growing up, but when they pick out their own books they are more engaged in reading them. Books with potty humor and magic pickles may be ridiculous, but they help get kids excited about reading! Explore the non-fiction section of the library — videogame cheat code books, cookbooks, joke books, and craft books can all entice reluctant readers to crack open a cover.

- Reading doesn’t just have to be books. There are countless opportunities for reading every day outside of chapter books and novels. Check out magazines, graphic novels and picture books from the library. Encourage your child to read from menus and catalogs. Sprinkling in reading throughout the day helps create a reading habit. Support reading in all of its forms enthusiastically and often.

- Investigate audiobooks. Listening to a book being read aloud, by and adult or on a recording is a valuable tool for emerging readers. This often helps struggling readers experience books that are beyond their reading ability for now. Listening to books also models great new vocabulary and reinforces the connection between reading and entertainment. Reading aloud isn’t just for young children; tweens and teens enjoy being read to just as much.

- Find a captivating book series and run with it! Juvenile series are plentiful and cover almost any topic you can imagine, from time travel to fairy magic. Find a series on a topic that appeals to your reader and then challenge them to read all 15 (or 50) books in the series. Kids often approach reading books in a series like collecting Pokemon cards: They’ve got to get them all! The Mid-Continent Public Library lists almost 600 subjects that have corresponding book series! mymcpl.org/cfapps/juvser/subject.cfm

Helping your reluctant reader flip the switch on the joy of literacy can be challenging. Each reader has a different access point for discovering what they love to read - though the perfect book for every reader exists out there somewhere. Many readers can tell you, in detail, the book, author, or topic that helped ignite their love of reading. This summer, encourage your readers to find what they love, explore a new genre, or dive into a series that has been previously undiscovered.



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