Read Across America: 5 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Reading

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Read Across America Day is a fantastic nationwide event encouraging readers of all ages in every community to celebrate the joy of reading and learning. During this time, we also thank the dedicated parents, caregivers, educators, librarians, authors, and community members who impact and inspire our children’s education. National Read Across America Day takes place on March 2nd, the birthday of the most beloved children’s book author, Dr. Seuss!

Image: Two children enjoying books outdoors
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In 1998, The National Education Association (NEA) began the Read Across America program to encourage and promote literacy and the love of reading among all children. The Read Across America program is celebrated in schools, libraries, and communities across the United States.

Here are 5 ways to get kids excited about reading: 

1.) Let them pick their books and create a reading-friendly environment

When children pick their books, they are more likely to stay engaged with what they are reading. I have found this especially true with my 6yr old daughter–she doesn’t particularly enjoy reading but when she does find a book she likes, she gets hooked on rereading the book. So if your child is not excited about reading, do not despair, it could be because the right topic has not been found yet. There are so many subjects and genres your child can explore!

Creating an exciting and encouraging environment for your child to read can also help get your child excited about reading. For example, you can create a book nook in your child’s room or anywhere else in your home where they can explore their books. In addition, books tend to inspire creativity, so include some paper, crayons, or pens (depending on their age) so your child can draw or write after reading.  

2.) Let them see you read too! 

Like exhibiting healthy habits, we need to model good reading habits as parents. With almost 10 years of parenting, I do not consider myself an expert. But I have learned through experience that my attitude and actions tend to influence my children from time to time. A great way to help your child understand the importance of reading is by letting your child see you read books, magazines, recipes, mail/emails, and directions. It might seem a bit exaggerated but the goal is to demonstrate your love for reading and that reading is part of daily life.

Image: Children sharing a book outside
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3.) Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great resource to help motivate and engage struggling readers. It can also help kids identify words, model fluency, and expand their vocabulary. And it can even help with building listening skills and practicing comprehension and critical thinking. Audiobooks help make reading fun, so try it on your next road trip or while driving to school.

4.) Read the book then watch the movie

There are so many books that have been converted into movies. Most recently, my 9yr old daughter has been exploring the Harry Potter books. Every time she finishes one of the books, we have a movie night as a family. The same can be done if little ones enjoy shows like BlueyFrozen, or Spidey and His Amazing Friends. In addition, you can find books that involve your child’s favorite TV characters as a way to tag along on an awesome reading adventure! 

5.) Trips to the library and other resources

There is something magical when you get your first library card. It encourages and helps take ownership of the child’s reading experience. My girls love going to the library and using their library cards to read new books. Check-in with your local librarians to see what activities or future events might be happening. Growing up, I enjoyed my local library’s summer reading book challenge. You earn a prize from the library’s treasure box if you read a certain number of books. 

Image: A child peruses books in a library
Photo by Ipekata on iStock.com

For early readers, The Children’s Trust has a free book club program from birth until 5yrs old. Their book club members receive a new book every month in English or Spanish along with guided activities for parents. 

Did you grow up with the Reading Program from Pizza Hut? I sure did! Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program has been around since 1984! They have a wonderful mission to turn “have to read” into “want to read.” The program is free and your child can earn a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza for achieving their goals.

There are so many ways to get our kids excited to read, it was tough just narrowing it down to just five! If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to get kids excited to read I am always looking for new ideas so please share them in the comments below. 

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. –Dr. Seuss

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Dr. Costa is a military spouse who is currently stationed in Miami, FL. Her husband serves Active Duty in the the Coast Guard. Together they have two beautiful girls who are 6 and 3 yrs old. Moving every 3-4yrs made it challenging to pursue her career as a chiropractor, due to her husband’s job. Together, they made the difficult decision to pause her career until both of her girls were in school. Dr. Costa had the opportunity to share her knowledge and love of the human body teaching anatomy and physiology at the college level when stationed in Long Island, NY. Since moving to The Sunshine State, she has dedicated and focused her time to raising her daughters while working part-time as an online health and fitness coach. Dr. Costa continues to educate her clients on how to live healthy and fulfilling lives through proper nutrition and fitness. Follow along with her at survivalofthefittish_mom on Instagram to stay connected.