Editor's note: This post was originally published on December 24, 2014.
Looking for some ways to get your kids to read over winter break? Try these eight ideas:
- Give books as gifts. Whether it's for Christmas or Hanukkah, a birthday, or any special occasion, novelty isn't just a motivator for children — all of us like the shiny new thing we just unwrapped. It's human nature, so why not use it to promote reading?
- Tame the nagging dragon. I am a bossy mom. I am. I have to tame my natural desire to nag my kids a lot. When we nag — even if we are nagging about something fun — we suck the fun out of it. Don't suck the fun out of reading by always suggesting your kids go read.
- Don't oversell books. "This is the BEST book ever!" Is it? Really? If we oversell the book we might end up falling flat. Instead, approach books as mysteries. "I heard this was really good, but I want to know what you think!"
- Start a great book NOW. My 8-year-old and I are reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Tonight he suggested we go to bed early every night so we can get 20 extra minutes of reading in ... so he can watch the film during winter break. (But he's gotta read the book first!) He's eight and he's suggesting we go to bed EARLY to read. I wish I could say that is because I am such a great mom, but it has more to do with J.K. Rowling being such a great author.
- Have a book exchange. For younger kids you could call it a playdate, but older ones might prefer to have it deemed a party. The activities are the same. Everyone brings a book to trade. This is a great way to re-gift any books that were gifted to your kids that they already own, or have no interest in reading.
- Make time to do nothing. Think about why you read at the beach or on vacation or on a plane. Because there is nothing else to do. I adore reading but life gets busy and sometimes I need it to slow All. The. Way. Down. before I remember to snuggle up with a book. Why do we expect anything different from our kids? Start planning do-nothing-days for your kids to push them back to the bookcase.
- Pack books for the planes, trains, and automobiles if you travel over the break. Whether you pack a bunch of heavy books or fill up your eReader, have them ready and they will get read.
- Slow down and let your kids see you reading. Not only will it be good for you to slow down in general, but kids who see their parents read for pleasure are much more likely to read for pleasure themselves.
How do you get your kids to read during school vacations? Share your ideas on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.
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Check out bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald's book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers.