Tips to Find Books Kids Will Love to Read

Tips to Find Books Kids Will Love to Read

Chances are if the kids are home, you’re trying to lure them away from the computer or TV with a good book. Kerry Madden, children’s author and associate professor of creative writing at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, has spent her life writing and reading books, and inspiring kids to do the same. Here are her top tips to make reading fun for the whole family.

Support Their Interests
“Find out where your kids live,” Madden urges, so you can support their passions with the right book. If your daughter loves fantasy, check out the latest titles in the realm of witches and fairies. If your son loves sports, investigate biographies about sports heroes or teams. “Don’t try to get them to read what they don’t want to read,” Madden adds. Insisting that your child master Dickens because it’s a classic isn’t going to inspire the child who’s obsessed with sharks or penguins.

Finding New Books
The local library is Madden’s first stop for finding new books. “Librarians are a great resource,” she says, “They know the books to put in a kid’s hands.” She also heads to the used book store to hunt for treasure. “I like to accumulate books.” Madden strategically leaves piles of books around the house on the chance her child will stumble upon a new genre that he hadn’t considered before.

Build A Library
Madden suggests that every kid “build a library” by designating a shelf for each school year. “It’s fun to go back and see what you used to read,” she says. When her daughter Norah recently investigated her fourth grade shelf, she found it filled with fairy books that she’d forgotten. And when daughter Lucy reread the Harry Potter series as an older teen, she discovered emotional threads and themes that she wasn’t aware of as a younger child.

Make Books An Adventure
To make books an adventure, Madden encourages children to “find favourite or secret places to read and claim them as your own.” It could be under a bed, up a tree or under the covers. Madden would purposely leave flashlights in her daughter’s room to tempt afterhours reading. “If it’s supposed to be ‘lights out’ it will make the reading fun.” You can also make a treasured book part of family activities. When Madden would read Where The Wild Things Are, “We liked to act like the wild things and dance the wild rumpus,” she says, laughing.


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Expand the Experience
If your child prefers the computer over most activities, use it to connect him with books online. He could visit a favorite author’s website, read about the stories the author loved as a kid, or write a fan letter. Connections around a book will help attach him to the real thing.

Finally, Madden suggests that reading can be an organic part of family life. “If you’re engaged in it, they’ll be engaged in it.” She suggests reading to young children before bed and for older ones, embrace rainy days, car trips and plane rides as perfect times to gather round and read. “Don’t forget audio books,” she adds, “They’ve kept the kids occupied on many cross country vacations.”

With so much fun and adventure waiting for your kids between the pages of a book, who has time for boring old television?

Read useful child care tips here.

Read interesting ways to spend time with your family and improve your family life here.

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