Do you hope your kids would one day love reading as much as (or even more than!) they love their technology? Are visions of lazy, video-game-addicted, junk-food-eating kids haunting you, too? My friend, you’re not alone! I’m going to give you some tips on how to inspire a love of reading in your kids!
When my kids have free time, it often means they need a little “encouragement” to do something besides playing video games, watching tv, or eating all the chips. Can I get an amen? Haha.
Like you, I want them to have some time to take a breather from school work and chores. But I’d also like to keep their minds stimulated and their hands off the video games and junk food.
Reading for fun is the perfect way to solve this problem. Not only are books a great way to improve your vocabulary and sharpen your mind, a book is a great adventure just waiting to be explored. I mean, watch out Minecraft.
I know it’s not that simple. The trouble is, it’s hard to motivate some kids to read books, even if they are great readers and the books are super captivating. This is largely because our kids are conditioned to believe reading is something you do for school and has no other purpose. They’ve been taught to view reading as an obligation, a means to an end, and sometimes even a chore.
Yet, the best gift we can give our kids is to help them develop a passion for reading that bridges beyond the obligatory academic reading they are taught to endure.
Ways to Motivate a Love for Reading
Since all kids aren’t naturally thrilled at the idea of an afternoon reading on the porch swing, here are a few tips that may help spark that love of reading.
- Be a Reader – Your child should see you reading and enjoying it. You can read the newspaper, magazines, the Bible, devotionals, mystery novels, even blogs. I love to read and my kids know it. If reading is a normal part of your life, it will be a normal part of your child’s life.
- Read to Your Kids – You can read while they eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Read cuddled up in the bed before you start your day. Read before nap.
- Listen to Audio Books – As my kids got old enough to grow out of naps, I would have them listen to audio books instead of sleeping. They are also great for road trips or settling down before bed.
- Make a Fun Place to Read – Behind our couch we have built a reading corner. Since it is behind the couch, it has a lot more appeal than just a shelf with some great books. You could even cover a table with a sheet and make a reading fort.
- Use Incentives – Kids respond to incentives. That’s exactly why I created the Reading Challenge below.
OK, with those tips in mind, let’s dive into the reading challenge.
How to Love Reading Challenge
The challenge is simple. Children are given a bingo card. Each box on the card has a unique (but simple) book idea. Every child has their own sheet and works toward completion of one row (bingo) at a time. For each bingo, they earn a prize. If they complete all 4 “bingos,” they get a grand prize.
You can determine the prizes ahead of time at the top of the bingo sheet or you can fill it in as you go.
My kids get super excited when we do this challenge. They love the idea of picking the book they read and being able to work towards increasing prizes.
I would suggest keeping the prizes simple. The idea is to motivate them, not sell your soul to the “bribe devil” (haha). Anything that motivates your kids will work. It might be different for each child.
For the grand prize, think bigger. If your child finishes the WHOLE bingo board in 8 weeks (for example), this is a huge accomplishment and should have an awesome prize to go along with it. If you make a huge deal out of this, the kids will rise to the occasion. I mean, who doesn’t want to be that awesome?
The sky is the limit for what you can develop as prizes. I would encourage you to consider letting your children weigh in with their ideas. You’d be surprised how little they will work for and how much it will motivate them to set the prize themselves.
Here are a few ideas we came up with:
Small items: sticker packs, $1 bin toys, mystery (mom’s pick), fun socks, colorful pens/pencils, decorative journals/notebooks, small LEGO sets, costume jewelry, outdoor water toys (squirt guns)
Food: candy bars, ice cream, specialty desserts, pack of gum, Tic-Tacs, special box of cereal
Grand prize: money, iTunes cards, trip to the waterpark, one-on-one date with mom/dad, gift card for favorite store
Get your free printable
So, are you ready to jump in? To start the challenge, all you need to do is print off the bingo card and head to the library for a pile of books! (Or ransack your shelf if you have a collection at home.)
You can download the Reading Challenge printable by clicking the image below.
Got an idea for prizes? Comment below and share it with us!