Do you want your kids to read more? Are you interested in incorporating more reading material into your child’s life but don’t know where to start? Are you interested in getting your kids more interested in the written word and less on YouTube or TikTok? To my bookworm self’s dismay, my 10-year-old daughter has zero interest in books. The #ComicConAtHome panel for San Diego Comic-Con entitled ‘Books for All: It’s Time to Redefine How We Share Books with Kids’ has touched on this subject and given me ideas on how to potentially get my kid to read more. These tips might help you, too.
7 Tips on How to Get Your Kids to Read More
7. Take graphic novels into consideration.
Yes, that’s right: comic books. It saddens me that some people still see comic books as a ‘lower tier’ of reading. The same way as they view video games as a waste of time, they view comic books in a similar manner. They really shouldn’t be viewed that way, though. Jill Gerber, a teacher at Rowland High School, shares that she can’t put graphic novels on her shelves at school because a lot of educators focus on reluctant readers when they see graphic novels. However, she points out that every reader can benefit from graphic novels. If you’ve never read a comic book before and have simply let other people feed your mind with false notions about them, then you should really look into them yourself. Graphic novels can teach kids a lot of great values and can even give them honorable and respectable characters to strive to be like. They’re inspiring and fun, too, so they will definitely get your kids more immersed into reading.
6. Read what your kids are reading.
Comic creator Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart suggests reading what your kids are reading in order to understand them better. “It’s really about staying connected to the changes in the industry and what younger readers are reading,” she says. If you know what your kids enjoy reading, you’ll have an easier time finding reading material that they will actually enjoy.
5. Read a lot yourself.
If you don’t read a lot, you can’t really expect your kids to want to read a lot, either. Children are curious beings and will most likely show more of an interest in books if they see that you have an interest in them. Talk about books at home, too. If you discuss books you’ve read and show a passion for it, this might just pique their interest and make them more inclined to read more, too.
4. Find a middle ground.
Whether you want to accept it or not, kids have very specific tastes. They know exactly what they like. When you offer books to your kids, you want to expand their horizons but still meet them where they’re at. Adan Alvarado, a teacher at Bloom Township High School, points out that you were probably into something very specific when you were young yourself. “So work with what they’re into,” he stresses.
3. Keep in mind that there are new avenues to find reading material nowadays.
Tony Weaver, CEO of Weird Enough Productions, points out that kids will always find what they need. The only question is: will you make it easy for them to find that? Just because your kid is always on the Internet doesn’t necessarily mean that they are consuming worthless information. Weaver points out that there are untraditional places to find literature and writing that kids are interested in nowadays. In fact, kids in today’s generation are most likely able to tell you their favorite webcomics or fan fiction writer on Wattpad, but not their favorite author. This demonstrates a shift on how students find books that they like. “There is a need for a shift for educators and parents to find their material, as well,” he says.
2. Don’t force your kids to read what you read as a kid.
Some adults make a lot of assumptions about what kids’ lives are like at home and quite often make suggestions based on their own nostalgia rather than the real lives that their kids are experiencing in the world right now. Gerber points out that we have to get to know our kids as individuals and honor the reader as opposed to pushing what we enjoyed when we were kids.
1. Find books with characters that your kids can relate to.
Yehudi Mercado, a comic creator, shares that Speedy Gonzales was probably the only Mexican character he knew growing up. Because of this, he makes it a point to create stories he wants to read and what he wishes he had as a kid. On that note, try to find characters that your kids might be able to relate to, as well. If they see themselves in the characters in books or comic books, they might be more interested in reading them.
Gerber adds that she curates her collection at school by reading a lot of them and establishing a relationship with her local comic book store, looking at library blogs and lists every year, and following creators. She points out that creators are extremely generous in keeping people updated with what’s going on. “These are valuable tools for generating a reading culture and helping kids understand and empathize with a variety of viewpoints,” she says.
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Second: Jill Gerber, teacher, Rowland High School
Third: Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart, comic creator, Archival Quality
Fourth: Adan Alvarado, teacher, Bloom Township High School
Fifth: Yehudi Mercado, comic creator, Sci-Fu, Fun Fun Fun High School
Sixth: Tony Weaver, CEO, Weird Enough Productions