Q: How do I get my kids to read?
A: First and foremost, they need to see you read. If you tell your kids to eat their vegetables, but you never eat yours, they see vegetables as bad. If you tell them to read book and you don’t read, what are you telling them?
Q: My child hates to read.
A: I’ve never met a child who hates stories. I’ve seen lots of children who haven’t found a book they love. What do your kids like? Video games? Sports? Pizza? Guess what? There are books about all of those. Find out what your kids like, go to the library, and ask the children’s librarian for the best books on those topics. Then sit down with your child every evening a read a chapter or two. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they’d start asking you for one more chapter.
Q: Is book X too old, too young for my child?
A: In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes we can make at home or in our schools is assigning ages to books. If children develop a love of reading, they will naturally move up to more challenging books. If books are too hard for them, they will move on to something else. Give your children the freedom to try books that might seem too easy or too hard. If your kids want to read books you think might be too difficult, let them try. In the same vein, don’t discourage your children from reading book that seem too simple. Be thrilled that they want to read. It’s okay to offer them more challenging books, but never make them feel bad reading.
Q: Is book X appropriate for my child?
A: The best answer I’ve ever heard to this question was given by Orson Scott Card when a mother asked him if he thought a particular title was okay for her daughter to read. Scott said that the best thing the mother could do was read the book with her daughter so they could discuss it. If you have concerns about whether the content of a book is appropriate for your child, read it. Then discuss it with your children. This is not to say that all books are appropriate for all readers, but I see too many people telling children they can’t read books when the person telling them that hasn’t opened the book themselves.