Read A-Whey

Photo by hirnrinde

Well, Friends, summer is here. I know this because I opened my e-mail last night to find a plethora of questions such as: How do I get my children to read? Can you help me help my kids with reading? How can I convince my
daughter that reading is a good idea?

Reading is as much a summer necessity as sun and sunscreen.

Some of my earliest childhood memories–which perhaps you and I share–include getting dragged off to the library where, for the ultimate prize of a paperback or poster, I would read a whole list of biographies and classics.

(I suppose reading programs are similar in motive and method to hiding whey powder in frozen yogurt.)

Here I offer 5 tips for encouraging your children to read.

1. Select a program. Libraries are the likely choice. See if your library has a Web site where you can research what is offered.

2. Allow kids to read what they enjoy. At some point, it is our responsibility to broaden their reading horizons, but if we want kids to love reading, kids need to read something that interests them. (So, “Yes” to the biography of Lincoln, but maybe, “No” to the entire biography section.)

3. Discuss, discuss, discuss. What are they learning? What do they think about the characters in their books?

4. Set a timer. 30 minutes a day, for most kids, is a great goal. (Yesterday I received some good advice from a co-worker who said, “Always give ’em parameters and expectations.” Egg timers are helpful for both!)

5. Demonstrate that you enjoy reading, too. Family reading nights offer the perfect opportunity to show your kids that reading is for everyone. Read in fun places (such as at a park or on the porch) and celebrate the ends of good books.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Fabulous post. I am an English teacher. Each fall I ask my students how many books they have read over the summer. It is unbelievable how many students respond, "None." They have cheated themselves of an opportunity to learn and grow.
    My own childen now love to read. I trust, perhaps, it is because we took weekly trips to our local library.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Along the line of looking for programs, I believe Borders book stores offer a program that if you read ten books, you get to pick a free one. Pizza Hut also does a reading reward, but I don't know if that is school related or over the summer.

    My mom-in-law just told me this weekend that my husband (who now is a voracious reader) did not like it early on. Over the summer between K5 and 1st grade she told him he could pick a treat (ice cream cone or pizza) for each ten books read. He read 100 books that summer, and then loved to read. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    When you mention discussing and allowing them to read about their interests, I think that is great. We have had fun seeing what we've read about in real life. (Read a book about horses, then when you visit a farm/barn there is much to relate/discuss. Read Little House on the Prairie, visit an historic village or farm.) That seems to draw the connection of reading and learning…not just reading for torture. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. jpfeiffer says:

    I found both Borders and Barnes & Noble summer reading programs to be a great reading incentive for my kids. My son even won a ten volume autographed set of the 39 Clues books last year from Barnes and Noble. Here are the links for both stores programs: Borders – Barnes and Noble –

  4. Anonymous says:

    Best blog on my list. I read it all the time and share it with my friends. Thanks, Trish. I just saw someone post these reading programs elsewhere and wanted to post them for your readers here.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I just love the above comments & the tips on the HH blog. My son's interests seem to change from week to week. Over the past few weeks he's been very interested in castles d/t a book he received from Grandma. So…we checked out books from the library about castles & knights, found a cute movie about a boy & a dragon, and have some craft ideas in line for next week. Last month, because of the horrific weather, we focused a bit on natural disasters & various weather patterns. The opportunities are endless in fleshing out the interests & curiosities of our children…reading about those things is a great way to start! These times of focus & exploration into a certain topic can also be tied into truths about God, the gospel, Christian living, etc (ie: the armor of God, the wise man & the foolish man).

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