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Is It Challenging To Get Your Kids To Read Important Books?

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Success17

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A few questions please:
  1. What is your number 1 challenge in getting your kids to read ?

  2. Assuming reading is only one part of the equation (the 2-d part is action and applying the knowledge) what is your number 1 challenge in getting them to absorb the information and use it in real life?

  3. What strategies/tools/platforms do you use to help your kids to read, absorb, and apply ?

Thank you!
 

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NMdad

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During summer vacation, I had my kids read 1 book per month, & would quiz them on it throughout the month. We've fallen out of doing that during the school year, with excuses for homework, their part-time jobs, etc.

I'd say it depends on the kids' ages. For elementary school & younger kids, they probably won't be able to read adult-level books; preteens & older usually can, though their reading speed tends to be a lot slower than adults, so their reading progress can be plodding.

Having a designated family reading time, 30 minutes daily before bed helped.

Quizzing/questioning them about what they read & what they think about it, & how it applied to their life & broader implications/applications was helpful in helping develop critical thinking.

Application & taking action based on what they read was more challenging. My son read The Millionaire Fastlane, is interested in entrepreneurship, and while he's taken some action, hasn't immersed himself in it. He's got a part-time job & earns enough money to be comfortable. My daughter's younger, and initially, the challenge was to just get her reading, so I had her read stuff she'd enjoy (so she'd build a reading habit)--in her case, fiction.
 

JAJT

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Depends what you mean by "kids".

At a young age, it's more important to get them excited about reading anything than is to get them to read something you want them to. You want them to look at books as a positive, uplifting, entertaining "thing" in their life.

We also bring our kids to book stores as a "treat" and let them pick anything they want, no matter how "garbage" it is. They love it. They get more excited about the book store visit than most other treats we allow.

I also make sure they see ME reading, as often as possible. Kids mimic and take values from what they see at home so I try to be the person I want them to be. I bring my e-reader or a book to their extra-curricular activities or anyplace where there will be "down time" (dentist, doctor, etc...) instead of being on my phone like the rest of the parents. Even if I never read it because I'm talking to them or whatever, they know that it's what I would be doing if I wasn't engaged with them.

As their reading and thinking gets better, I've tried to show them how awesome "learning" books can be - paper airplane books, shark books, exploded view or cross section books - anything that they can open up and go "whoah" to whether that's a craft or photo or fact or whatever. This helps them realize that books are sources of information, even if that information is just silly fun.

When they hit high school I'll probably start encouraging / enforcing that they read a few key books I think will help them out as they enter adulthood, while I still have "power" over their actions.

Once they hit the age that the really deep stuff will be useful, hopefully I've fostered an open and loving appreciation for knowledge and learning and I won't have to "force" them to do anything and with luck they'll happily take the suggestions for the better books out there.
 

ZCP

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when they are little, invest the time in the bedtime story and make it the most important thing on earth during that time! get them in the habit of reading before bed. explain how it can fill your dreams and help you learn things 'while you sleep'. eventually let them read to you. then let them go up and 'get started'. eventually they have made the habit of reading before bed and associate awesomeness with it.

+1 on @JAJT 's idea .... bookstore trips. we made one modification .... THEY picked out a book and I picked out a book. when they were done with both (we would talk about them), then we could go back.

my teenagers still read before bed.
 

JAJT

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+1 on @JAJT 's idea .... bookstore trips. we made one modification .... THEY picked out a book and I picked out a book. when they were done with both (we would talk about them), then we could go back.
Totally stealing that idea. Not going to lie - a bit upset I didn't think of it myself!
 

Raoul Duke

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One WORD: Comics.

I didn't pick up reading a book until much later in life. My parents tried. Since we moved around a lot. They just didn't put the effort into it. (Maybe i'm exaggerating a bit).

One day my dad showed me his comic collection. I tore through them. After I finished reading them. I demanded more. Over time... I ventured out onto our library in the house. Were I discovered a diverse selection of books.

The list below are my favorites. In particular John Byrne. His artwork is fantastic. As is, Jack Kirby and others on the list below. The stories are top notch as well.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko - Amazing Fantasy #15, #1-38 (1962-1966)
Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr. - #224-252 (1982-1984)
J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr/Mike Deodato, Jr. - #471-545 (2001-2007)

Captain America
Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema - #153-167, 169-186 (1972-1975)
Roger Stern and John Byrne - #247-255 (1980-1981)

Fantastic Four
Stan Lee/Jack Kirby - #1-104 (1961-1970)
Marv Wolfman/Keith Pollard, John Byrne - #195-217 (1979-1980)
John Byrne - #220-295 (1980-1986)
Walt Simonson - #334-354 (1989-1991)

Not much into DC. Other than Watchmen, Sandman, All Star Superman, Doom Patrol & Swamp Thing.
 

Kid

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On importance of what @JAJT @ZCP and @Raoul Duke wrote.

You can't "get your kids to".

You force them - they hate it. Consciously or unconsciously.

If they do, they might go back to books in their adult life when the pressure is off and after enough time has passed.
 
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Success17

Success17

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Thanks everyone, incredible wisdom here, keep it going!
 

Andy Black

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My dad used to read to me and my brother in bed when we were little. I used to always read in bed before going to sleep.

I’ve done the same with my sons, and then have started getting them to read to me.

Our 10 year old now reads every night (even when he’s supposed to have turned the lights off!) Harry Potter, Alex Rider, encyclopedias, books about the weather, anything he can get his hands on at this stage.


I remember a few years ago having all three in one of the bedrooms wide-eyed as I told them a story about some galaxy far far away. It was so much fun. It’s a chance to be super cool story telling dad.

So long as they love stories and reading every night then I think that’s the battle won. When they run out of books I can dump new ones on them.

I also occasionally take them to the book store and let them choose a book each. Dinosaurs seem to feature a lot...

The younger two have short reading books every evening as part of their school homework. We save them for bedtime and they both read them to me (at the same time which confuses the heck out of me but so be it).
 

Walter Hay

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My dad used to read to me and my brother in bed when we were little. I used to always read in bed before going to sleep.

I’ve done the same with my sons, and then have started getting them to read to me.
I think reading to your children at bedtime is a key to success in getting them to love reading.

I always read with maximum, and sometimes melodramatic expression, and they were spellbound. A story about a fox sneaking up on a rabbit became a thriller.

Some books became favorites and I had to read them over and over with the same emphasis, which they learned to use as they recited word for word the story I was reading.

They all are still avid readers, and even their older teenage children are readers too, although they can't live without their smartphones.

Walter
 

Jonathan Hoch

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My daughter is in 1st grade and reading around the 3rd-4th. Secret? Roblox. She spends a ton of time READING what others are saying. Interactive reading is incredibly powerful.

My wife’s dad and step mom adopted children after she left the house. They decided to home school which then decided to let them do whatever they wanted.

They didn’t know how to read, as tweens. She got them playing world of Warcraft, which requires reading. Now one of them is attempting to break out as a fiction writer, and they were both completely self taught!

I know it’s not completely on topic, but if RPG, the games have rich stories, which make a great transition into reading!
 

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Charnell

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My dad used to make me read for an hour every night before bed from 2nd to 5th grade. Would shred through 3-4 books a week and was in the library every single day at school.

Then I noticed my little brother didn't have to do the same so there's some deep seeded resentment there, so ... uh ... be consistent?
 

ShamanKing

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Not directly tied to your question but what do your kids see you do most, 1) Reading a book or 2) Something else (electronics perhaps). I don't have any kids yet but I do believe there is a tie between their observation and what we actually want them to do.
 

jesseissorude

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Then I noticed my little brother didn't have to do the same so there's some deep seeded resentment there, so ... uh ... be consistent?
I'll piggyback on this... but keep in mind that I don't have kids, I'm just an uncle (whew!)

My sister was having trouble getting her oldest daughter to read chapter books. I saw it firsthand when they were in town for a few holidays. Her mom asked her if she had done her reading, then would bargain with her ("2 chapters, and then we can play [shopkins/lego/whatever]")
Then the kicker... her mom would walk into the other room and play on her phone or watch TV while she waited for her daughter to start reading.
When mom really got desperate, she would read over her daughter's shoulder and spoonfeed the sentences to her.

Seeing this, literally all I did was say "Oh, mind if I read with you?" and just sat at the table and enjoyed reading my own book silently in front of her. My niece finished the whole book the week they were staying with us.

Sometimes kids just need to see an adult walking the walk to know that reading isn't something you have to do, it's something you get to do.

I know, I'm a saint. LIKES PLEASE
 

Jonathan Hoch

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Seeing this, literally all I did was say "Oh, mind if I read with you?" and just sat at the table and enjoyed reading my own book silently in front of her. My niece finished the whole book the week they were staying with us.
I love this! I usually make my daughter read to me, but I think side by side is a wonderful idea!
 

JordanK

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As someone who was introduced to The Millionaire Fastlane and similar books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the like by my dad and my uncle I think the best way to do it originally is to showcase it as a way of being part of helping you at work. My dad and uncle are in Real Estate and I was watching them going to meetings, buying places, fixing them up. I wanted to take part. They bought me a few books told me to read them and to come back to them with my ideas and some of them they implemented into the business. Even if at the time it might of been something small and insignificant. Eventually I got hooked on self-improvement and business knowledge as I grew my own business in my teens. They let me purchase as many 'relevant' books as I wanted for a few years until I started making my own money. The family joke now is that we all buy each other books at Christmas/Birthdays.
 

Jonathan Hoch

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As someone who was introduced to The Millionaire Fastlane and similar books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the like by my dad and my uncle I think the best way to do it originally is to showcase it as a way of being part of helping you at work. My dad and uncle are in Real Estate and I was watching them going to meetings, buying places, fixing them up. I wanted to take part. They bought me a few books told me to read them and to come back to them with my ideas and some of them they implemented into the business. Even if at the time it might of been something small and insignificant. Eventually I got hooked on self-improvement and business knowledge as I grew my own business in my teens. They let me purchase as many 'relevant' books as I wanted for a few years until I started making my own money. The family joke now is that we all buy each other books at Christmas/Birthdays.
That's a great tradition!
 
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