Parents Weigh In: 20 Tips to Encourage Your Elementary Schoolers to Read

Having trouble getting your child excited about reading? Try these creative ideas to keep your elementary reader turning the pages of a good book.

By Scholastic Parents Staff



After coming home from school, your elementary-aged children will undoubtedly spend time completing their daily reading homework. For some kids, their reading may end there. Yet as parents, a great goal is making reading a fun activity beyond school assignments. 

That’s why we asked our Scholastic Parents Facebook audience for suggestions on how their families encourage reading for fun throughout the school year. Check out their tips -- which may not only inspire some new ideas but also remind you how you can bond as a family through reading.

“We make reading a whole family thing. We read together. We read to each other. We read separately. Older siblings read to younger siblings. We make sure that the kids see that we read for enjoyment as well. Reading has feelings of enjoyment, fun, love, and family in our house. Now, we run into how to get them to stop reading, so we can get other things done."— Christina Montgomery

"Our go-to is letting our kids pick their own books! The faster they read through their books the faster they get new ones. I buy them each 2-4 books at a time and while I try to guide them towards my childhood favorites, they get to choose what they're interested in reading!"—Anna Turkel

“My tip is telling them each book will take you on an adventure you have never been to. You can even travel to places you've never seen! It works for us. Make reading sound exciting and fun. It opens up an entirely new world for your children. We love reading. We love books!"—Lisa Shults  

“We go as a family to our local library and stock up on anything that looks interesting. We have a large basket for library books surrounded by beanbag chairs. During the week, we have a no TV rule and everyone ends up in the bean bags reading what they want!" —Desirae Flores

“Start reading from day one. Even though your infant won't understand, if you make reading time a part of their everyday schedule, your kids will begin to look forward to that time. Pick out all kinds of book and engage your children while reading. Once they start talking, they will engage back with you, ask questions, and make observant comments about the story. Make this time sacred time in your family and your child will cherish it [because] not only will it be bonding time, it will foster a love of reading too. My children are 5 and 2 and my oldest is already reading and if my youngest is quiet, he is most likely sitting in front of the bookcase 'reading' his books." —Taisha R. Alvarez 

"My daughter reads for 20 minutes every day when she gets home from school, and I read to her for 20 minutes every night before bedtime. Reading is so important in our family!"— Danyelle Dolan 

“My family's go-to tip for encouraging reading is to find a subject my kids are passionate about and get books concerning that subject. It helps so much. My son loves history but hated reading. We got him a bunch of history- centralized books and the next thing we knew he was reading on his own for fun. My daughter loves animals so we steer her toward reading material like zoo books. We've seen a huge improvement in both of them." —Bridget Amaral 

“Reading is a family event in our house. We like finding books that we all can enjoy so we can sit together and have a read-aloud. Kids will be more encouraged to read when everyone else is [involved]!”— Amber Miller 

“When my son turned 5 years old, I took him to the library to sign him up for his very first library card. He was so excited. I even bought him a reusable bag, so when we made trips to the library he has something special to take the books home in. I have him lay in bed with me and we read together until he falls asleep. We have read so much that he's considered a Superstar Reader in his school.  He reads above his grade level. We gradually worked our way to read higher level books. He reads, and if he gets stuck, I have him sound out the word until he gets it right. He's so proud of himself!!"— Jillian Carr     

“We encourage the kids to read books and then do a craft i.e. poster, shoe box, drawing, book journal anything creative [about the book]. They love the craft part, so it encourages them to want to read more!"— Angela Franklin King 

“It's all about finding the right series for us! Our almost-10-year-old daughter just recently discovered the Dogman books and it has sparked a love of graphic novels in her. That's pretty awesome! I would have never thought of those for her. Our soon-to-be-8-year-old daughter loves the challenge of a 'big thick' book (LOL) so we go for age-appropriate books that hold a collection of stories. That way she feels it's a win but it doesn't get overwhelmed with a book that is out of her range."— Ashley Dietrick 

“We read one book together with our family every day! And we let our kids choose the book of their choice to make it fun and of their interests!"— Ruthveveli Parker 

“My daughter reads daily both in English and Spanish. Our family might relocate to Spain in the near future and she is aware of how necessary it is for her to know the language." — Virginia Pino Rodriguez

“Be a mentor, a mirror! You can't ask your kids something that you don't do yourself. My bunch sees Mom reading whenever possible! We start a book, read together or alone, and when finished feel so accomplished and smarter, and sometimes donate to the school. And the best part is, we get to go on Scholastic, and order a new book we look forward to reading!! They want to read, and for that, I'll give them all the books in the world! So proud of my lil' readers!" — Josie Malloy 

"We encourage reading by awarding them with the change they can use for new books at their school fairs along with setting goals for the amounts of books to finish by the end of the school year. Setting expectations with rewards help make reading fun and create a competitive game with our children. They are so proud whenever they finish a new book or chapter!"— Rocky Anastasio

“We have 'family date nights' at the library where we look for new books for each age group and search for books that interest each child."— Amy Pavlock 

“My son is autistic and nonverbal, so to try to encourage any and all forms of communication I read to him, explain pictures, look up ASL [American Sign Language] to go with stories. We read anything and everything about day-to-day-life." — Millissa Pope

“My daughter loves to read to me. She is in the 2nd grade and is reading at a 6th-grade level. We have been reading together for years. Her favorite is the tag-team approach; She will read a chapter and then I will read a chapter. Special sound effects and different voices for all the characters is a must, especially when reading books above her grade level with very few pictures and a tougher vocabulary. My daughter also enjoys writing short stories and little comics which help with her creativity. She loves reading those to me. It's all about making reading fun."— Wendy Andrade

“We keep books in the car, on the end tables, and in their bedrooms. My older child is allowed (on weekends) a flashlight to read before bed in his room. We also read together each night before bed or review sight words with our littlest. Our children also see us reading often. I even run a book club, and we've encouraged the kids of our mom members to join in each month." —Janel Thomas

“We read out loud together. We also take a couple days in the month to have read-a-thon. We stay in our PJs, leave the TV off, and cuddle up with a good book. I'm so grateful to have children that love to read. My boys have been writing their own book. They are 8 and 6 years old, so of course, it's about zombies. But it makes me so proud!"—Samantha Lynn Santos 


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