Trust librarians to know what makes kids love reading.

Trust librarians to know what makes kids love reading. Credit: iStock

As a parent, you strive to help your children succeed in school and that often means encouraging them to do their homework and study for tests. But one of the most important things you can do for your child's development is to read together.

"Reading is one of the most important gifts you can give to your child," said Renee McGrath, Youth Services manager for the Nassau Library System. "Children will understand the value of reading, and even get excited about it, when they see that you are actively involved." Keep in mind that reading should be an enjoyable experience.

Here, LI librarians offer their fun tips to help motivate your early readers, tweens and teens to read all year long.

1. Incorporate technology
Reading doesn't mean just books. A great way to sneak in reading is by listening to audiobooks together in the car when you're on-the-go. You can download audiobooks for free from your library and listen to them from your mobile phone or tablet.
--Lily Dougherty-Johnson, Floyd Memorial Library, Greenport

2. Share your favorite children's book
Let your kids know that this book is one you remember fondly from childhood. Let them know why, whether your parents read you the book before bedtime, or you read it during a particular time of your life. Your child will develop a special connection to the book -- and to you -- by sharing something special.
--Jen Marin, South Country Library, Bellport

3. Be silly
Read books to your kids that will make them laugh and keep them interested by reading in different voices. You can invite stuffed animals or pets to join you in reading these silly tales.
--Michelle Kenney, Brookhaven Free Library

4. Make a game of it
Schools are following the D.E.A.R program -- Drop Everything and Read. Try this at home once a week, say Sunday evening: Everyone stops what they're doing to read a book, even if they're in the middle of making dinner or your child is playing a video game!
--Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

5. Participate in story time
Take your children to free story times at your local library, bookstores or wherever else they are offered in your community. Sometimes hearing someone else (other than you) read a story can get kids excited to keep reading at home.
--Renee McGrath, youth services coordinator, Nassau Library System

6. Set a good example
We all know that children learn by watching what we do. Try and spend some time each day reading something that you enjoy while your children are around. Share with them what you like about the book. For example, let them know that the story made you laugh or tell them about the mystery you are reading. When a child witnesses how reading positively impacts your life, they soon will want to learn to read for themselves.
--Bev Christianson, Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library

7. Get comfy
Cuddle up and get cozy while you read with your kids. Wear your pajamas or read a book in your child's favorite place in the house. You're creating all kinds of positive associations and a special time for you and your child.
--Jen Marin, South Country Library, Bellport

8. Store books where you store toys
Keep books where children can reach them. They will be encouraged to grab a book as they would any of their toys. Books should be a part of a child's everyday life.
--Danielle LoDolce, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook

9. Take turns reading
If you have a reluctant reader, take turns reading chapters of a book. You read one chapter aloud to him, he reads one to you.
--Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

10. Schedule daily family reading time
The best way to get your child excited about reading is to be excited about reading yourself. If you put aside 15 minutes a day to read as a family, it will become an effortless part of everyone's daily routine.
--Lili-Ane Niemczura, Central Islip Public Library

11. Join a kids book club
One great way to get elementary children to keep reading for fun is for them to join a book club, either at their local library or among friends. The night everyone meets have snacks, pizza (food, food food!) and make the discussion fun! The book club should make reading fun and not stressful.
--Jackie Fitts, Uniondale Public Library

12. Start a family book club
Once a month, take turns choosing a book to read together as a family. Set a date and organize a special dinner or snack to chat about the book. The person who chooses the book that month can come with questions to prompt a discussion. It can be a great bonding experience!
--Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

13. Let your child run the show
Build positive experiences with books by allowing young children to dictate “reading time." If they skip pages or end a story early, it's OK  -- they may prefer a different story or a different time.
--Danielle LoDolce, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook

14. Use books as a reward
Try a little reverse psychology. Each night let your child know you will read her five books. If she's being stubborn about bedtime, she'll lose book privileges. For example, if she won't brush her teeth then let her know she's down to four books, and so on. Books become the reward -- and may encourage bedtime cooperation!
--Jen Marin, South Country Library, Bellport

15. Go for nonfiction books
Capitalize on your child’s hobbies by finding nonfiction books on those subjects. It’s also a great way to introduce a new topic. Learning and enjoying is a winning combination for kids!
--Fran Powell, Port Washington Public Library

16. Read a book, watch the movie
Introduce tweens or teens to books that were made into movies. Often they have seen the movie, and I tell them that the book is usually better than the movie. This is always an attraction to them. The teens can relate to the characters, envision the scenes and have a better understanding of the plot. Sometimes it works in reverse -- they are so anxious for the movie to come out they want to get a jump-start and read the book so they know the story before their friends do.
--Barbara Mickowski, Oceanside Library

17. Don't limit reading to fiction
Many kids (especially boys) prefer to read nonfiction. If your child wants a pet, have her read up on pets before getting one. Have at least one newspaper or magazine subscription for the family.
--Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

18. Build a playlist
Tweens and teens are so into music and their iPods. Why not have your child read a book and come up with a playlist for it? You could offer to give them an iTunes gift card to help build their list of songs. And, if you wanted to participate, you could both read a current historical fiction book that takes place when you were a teen and then build a playlist for that period.
--Renee McGrath, youth services manager, Nassau Library System

19. Find topics your kids love
Find a topic that they love! My 4-year-old son is fascinated with trucks, bulldozers and trains. He has really gotten interested in “reading” along and looking at the pictures. He even asks me to bring him home new books. There are plenty of picture books and early reader books at your local library on all sorts of topics that kids enjoy.
--Sharon K. Van Dyke, Smithtown Library - Nesconset Branch

20. Let your child be the author
Ask your child to come up with story and tell it to you. Write it down on different pages and ask him to illustrate each page of the story. That night, read it to him -- he'll get a kick out it!
--Debbie Bush, Comsewogue Public Library

21. Check it off
Create a reading chart and mark off each day that your child reads. Once the child has hit a certain milestone, reward him or her with a special treat that they've been excited about. Then, start again!
--Julie DeLaney, Smithtown Library - Commack Branch

22. Choose your own adventure
Take out a wordless book from your local library and listen to your child and family members weave wonderful stories by looking at the illustrations and using their imaginations. The tales will bring smiles to all! (Young children will think they are reading a story to you.)
--Elaine T. Perez, Patchogue-Medford Library, Patchogue

23. Quiz your kids
Watch game shows like "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune." The former can challenge your kids and make them want to seek out more information about the topics (again, looking for applicable nonfiction titles). The latter helps younger kids recognize words.
--Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

24. Act it out
How about doing a little "Reader's Theater"? Many parents tell me they are always quizzing their kids on what went on in the books they read. Why not take some time over the weekend to act out a scene with them? This can be a great creative outlet and it's fun to see what your child will come up with.
--Jessikah Chautin, Syosset Public Library

25. Make books easily accessible
Keep books in the car or in a travel bag. Read together when you have to wait in line or for an appointment. It makes the time go faster, and it's lot more interesting!
--Jen Marin, South Country Library, Bellport


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