Getting Kids reading: Keeping Kids reading

  • 8 February 2019
  • Jerri Pirc

It’s February and who among us does not like a Valentine? OK, apologies if you were expecting chocolate, but hey. At the end of the blog, you will find a link to some free Valentine cards with phonics activity. Can you think of a sweeter treat? OK, yeah, but forget about chocolate for a minute.

The blog today is a summary from one of my favourite bloggers, Amy Brotherton. A link to her website and the free Valentines Day cards are at the bottom of my blog. So read on, please.

In a recent blog, Amy asked several professionals to list ways to help readers who were having difficulty. I have summarised some of those ideas and expanded with my own experiences and expertise as a speech and language therapist over the last few decades.

Pick the right book

  • Snuggle in with the right book.

  • Pick a book at the child’s interest level, NOT their reading level. These can be two different things. What you wanted to share with your child and your child’s interest, may not match. Too bad. Go with the big book on trucks even if you don’t care about the difference between a back-hoe and a compacter. You want to find a book they can’t put down. Look at the big picture. And hey, build your vehicle vocabulary as well.

  • Research tells us that that freedom to self-select makes children more motivated to read.

Decide who reads to whom?

  • Read aloud or partner read with young children by alternating pages you read. If it is a familiar and favourite book you will be impressed with how familiar your child will be with the text.

  • Reading aloud (even to "big kids") is great.

Designate Reading Times

  • Bedtime is a popular time to read but consider designating times when everyone reads. It doesn’t have to be the same book.

  • Create a 10 minute period where everyone “drops everything and reads”. Call it DEAR. One of my schools uses this practice of dropping everything and read by the teacher sounding the signal that means just that, stop, drop what you're doing, and read. Depending on the amount of time available it can be 5 minutes or longer. I love it when I am in this class and can participate. Kids scrambling to get to their favourite book kinda excites me. (I know, I don't get out much.)

  • Reading every day is important, even if only for a short time.

  • Small chunks of reading are good.

  • I once sat by a woman on a plane and she shared a story about a family tradition. She and her husband, and a young boy had Friday night as their family date night. It included a lengthy browse through a favourite used book store and then dinner at their favourite restaurant. Thought this sounded like a brilliant idea.

  • Take some time to plan a new reading tradition for your home. Let your kids have some input.

Create a Reading Spot

  • You don’t need a specific spot, but I have found classrooms that have a designated book corner are pretty inviting. A bathtub in the corner of a classroom filled with cushions is an all-time favourite; also a tent or a canopy hung from the ceiling may add a special calming feature.

  • You may want to consider a spot where popcorn could be an optional feature.

Develop in Your Children a Love of the Library

  • Long gone are the times of absolutely silent libraries with scary librarians waiting to shush you.

  • Visit your local library often and make it one of your child’s “happy places”. Today libraries offer a huge variety of programmes and activities to engage reluctant readers and to inspire the already strong readers.

Pick Books as gifts

  • Help children see that books can be an exciting gift to give and receive.

  • Think about fiction and non-fiction books.

  • There are some clever bookmarks for children on the market, or have your child make a bookmarker to go along with their book gift.

  • As I mentioned in my last blog about book props, inexpensive props provide lots of benefits to reading. Second-hand stores have a generous selection of books and props that are often new or near new. I volunteer at our local HFH Restore and there is always a plethora of books that can be recycled as gifts.

OK. Well done, you made it to the end of the blog. As promised your treat. Use the link below to access Amy’s website and her free printable Valentines that teach phonics.

Get back with me and share your family reading tradition.

As always, please share, subscribe to my newsletter, comment, and follow me on face book Jerri J. Pirc, author. 

And of course feel free to buy a book or two.

Buy Books

More later,




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