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How I Get My Kids To Turn Off The TV and Read

How I Get My Kids To Turn Off The TV and Read

April 27, 2012


As a child, I was a voracious reader. My mother took me to the library weekly where I would walk out with a stackful of books so high I could barely manage to carry them in my arms. I don’t know if it was because I was an only child being raised by a single mother and therefore spent a lot of time alone, but books were my friends. Many of the characters have taken up permanent residence inside my head. I was the kid who was constantly being forced outdoors for fresh air. I would very grudgingly head outside. And read a book in the shade.

My oldest kids loved to read when they were younger as much as I did as a child. They would carry around their books constantly, looking for an opportunity to sneak in a few pages of reading. They would stay up late at night begging to finish one more chapter. Now they are teenagers and their lives are busy and they read a lot for school. They don’t read much for pleasure anymore, though I am certain that one day they will again rediscover the joy of a good book.

I find it strange when adults tell me they don’t read or that they don’t like to read. I feel sorry for them, for all that I think they are missing out on. Probably how all the people who spent years watching Lost on tv feel when I tell them I have never seen it.

My younger kids? Not so much into the reading. If they don’t find a book fascinating, they will put it down. This is also something I don’t understand. How can you put a book down without finishing it? Don’t you want to know how it turns out? Don’t you care at all about the characters? Thus far in my ehem, long life I have only had one book I could not finish. I hesitate to say what book it is because invariably people say that they loved the book and I should give it another chance. I tried. Trust me I tried, but I just hated it so much that I would get angry while reading it! Let’s just say I would need a hundred years of solitude to ever finish it. That’s a hint right there.

I had these three books sent to me by the folks at Chronicle books. They are the kind of books where you chose your own adventure. We had some of these type of books years ago that we found at an old used bookstore. In spite of the fact that they were musty, old, thin-papered paperbacks, my older kids had really enjoyed them and I wondered why they didn’t seem to be around anymore. So when Chronicle approached me I was really very excited. They have the feel of a graphic novel. I love the look of the books. And even though you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, it totally helps when the cover is cool and enticing, especially for those reluctant readers. You will have the urge to sit in front of your radio and drink Ovaltine while you read.


Here are the links to the individual books:

The Worst Case Scenario: Everest
The Worst Case Scenario:Amazon
The Worst Case Scenario: Mars

So what do I do to encourage my kids to read? I made this video to give you some of my tips. And I ramble on and on while playing with an elastic band in my hands so that it looks as if I am having some sort of hand seizure. Just ignore that part.

Here is a little teaser video about the Utimate Adventure Mars book. If this doesn’t get your kids excited, well, then you should poke them really hard and make sure they are still alive!

Thanks to Chronicle Books, your kids can have their very own set of Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure books. All three books! Just leave me a comment telling me how you get your kids to turn off the tv, video games, etc and read. Summer is coming soon, we all need some new ideas!
One entry per person.

Posted by Chris @ 9:38 am  

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  1. Jenny says:

    So far, we have made all screens off limits during the school week. If they have completed homework and done well on tests, they can have them back after school on Friday until mid afternoon Sunday. By then, though, the novelty has worn off, and they have made a game/house/fort with their siblings and would rather return to that. I’m not certain how we’ll tackle the summer, though.

  2. beccalecca says:

    Our kids are 4 and 2 so it isn’t hard to control the TV (i.e. they haven’t figured out our universal remote and we haven’t bothered to help them with that at all). Maybe they will never learn to operate the remote? :)

  3. Laura says:

    My kid is not old enough to read on her own, but here’s our trick to getting her interested: we just don’t turn the TV ON. It’s so much harder to turn if off once you’re watching something (even if what you’re watching is garbage) than it is to just never turn it on in the first place. Even on weekends, we don’t turn it on unless we’re going to watch a specific show. It probably helps that we don’t have cable either. When she’s bored and looking for something to do, she reaches for a book instead of getting sucked into the TV. Let’s hope it stays that way!!!

  4. Kate says:

    I’m so lucky because my kids are CRAZY about reading! We have only one TV in our house and it’s in a room that we don’t really use that often. Sometimes we read together, sometimes we “race” through a book, and we almost always read what they’re reading so we can discuss it!

  5. Kathy says:

    We have quiet time where the TV and music must be off. We all ready our own books or we read to each other. Still my favorite time of the day.

  6. AliceM says:

    Sometimes I get them to read to me. While I’m cooking or doing laundry or otherwise occupied. My interest in the story helps them be interested. Also, good books. Fiction and non-fiction.

  7. Billie says:

    My son enjoys reading, but will always choose video games or playing outside over grabbing a book. I have a couple of methods to get him to read. The first one is to tell him that he can’t play a game until he reads for at least an hour (or a specific page number in a book). The second method to get him to read is when he is grounded. If he is grounded he can’t do anything other than reading or playing with his baby sisters. One other method is to have reading time with him. He LOVES to crawl into my bed and read with me.

    One of my daughters already has a love of reading (and she’s not quite 4). She takes her own books to share at daycare. We read before bedtime each night or any time she brings me a book. She is fascinated by the library.

    I remember these types of books from when I was a kid. I loved them. I don’t think that my son has ever read something like this. I think he would love them.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Sandi says:

    I am also a life-long reader. My older son is also a voracious reader, but the younger one is reluctant. He seems to go in spells, depending on whether he finds a series that he likes. For some reason, it has to be a series. We’ve also tempted him at times with non-fiction books. He loves the “Uncle John Bathroom Reader” books, as well as other books we call short attention span theater - the ones you can pick up for a minute, read a short article, and put down. They’re perfect for reading in the car; it’s easy to stop when you reach your destination or it gets too dark.

  9. Billie says:

    I forgot to mention that he loves to read at the table when eating. When it’s dinner time he has to put the book away but otherwise I let him do it. It took him so long to enjoy reading that I don’t ever want to mess that up.

  10. Natalie Steadman says:

    My 11 yr old daughter loves to read. I often have to fight her to put the book down and go to sleep. My 12 yr old son, not so much. I’ve had to make deals with him, he reads one chapter I’ll read the next. Lots of books about sports, dinosaurs, mysteries. Sadly, I’ve even paid him. Just hoping that one say he’ll actually enjoy reading for pleasure.

  11. sonja says:

    We still have a napper in our house, so when he naps I turn all the screens off and everyone has to find something to do quietly and separately. I have boys who are fairly reluctant readers, so these books would be great.

  12. Sherry says:

    THANK YOU! I’m so glad you posted about these. I was (am still) like you - a voracious reader. My kid - not so much. I have to threaten him frequently. Plus - it helps that he has to read at least 10 minutes a day for school. (and he still cares enough about his grades that that matters!) It’s EXTREMELY frustrating because he’s actually way above his grade level with his reading skills, and yet all he ever wants to read is my old cartoon books (not even regular comic books - I’m talking about Calvin & Hobbes, Fox Trot and Baby Blues).

    I also don’t want to ever use it as punishment or make him hate it - so I’m always looking for ways to make him WANT to read. So again - THANK YOU for posting about these!!

  13. Chris says:

    My daughter also gets intimidated by how many pages are in a book or how many words are on a page, so I get her a lot of books with drawings in them like the Wimpy Kid series. Also, I recently have let her listen to the book on CD while she reads along with the book (she’s making her way through the Harry Potter series this way).

  14. Michelle says:

    These books look awesome. I have some of the same challenges with motivating my kids to read…especially my oldest (now 12) who used to love reading. Certainly there are reading requirements for school but I try to be open to researching new books for them…taking them to the library…etc. All kids love getting new books…but sometimes they don’t grab their interest. So it’s an ongoing adventure!

  15. Dena says:

    I have to find books that are topics that my son loves. I think these would be right up his alley!

  16. Lissa says:

    It is so important to set an example. I remember how much my parents read when I was a child and I learned to love books from them. I used to get in trouble at school for reading too much (during math - whoops!). I make sure my children see me read for pleasure so they know that I mean it when I tell them how much fun reading a good book can be.

    They love my iPad and find reading ebooks on it to be special and fun so they do it more. But there is nothing like the feeling of a book in your hands and I want them to know that too. I don’t let my children have TVs, computers or video games in their bedrooms. They do have lots and lots of books! Once they go up to bed they can read, do puzzle books or go to sleep. One night my son came down crying because Charlotte died - that’s when I knew I’d made another reader!!

  17. Julie says:

    The promise of going outside to make a path with chalk that they can either trace with their bikes, RC cars or their ride on Jeep gets them outside. Also any promise of a “thing” that we as mom or dad participate in - like a tea party or a picnic outside in the treehouse or swing fights where mom and dad see who can push my son or daughter the highest.
    I personally hate the TV. It’s an awful babysitter and the volume drives me nuts. Even though my children are 3 and 4 I have caught them at 6am in one bed “reading” to each other by what is happening in the pictures on the page.
    We began to read to them each at 18 mos of age and I love when they can tell me the end of a sentence or a story or begin to weave their own tale!

  18. Kelly B says:

    My 6 year old loves to read, I don’t need to prompt her in any way. My son on the other hand needs prompting. We actually fill out storysheets for school and he gets rewards at Tae Kwon Do for reading every 30 mins. I have used that 30 mins in a few ways, he has to read at least 30 mins everyday, and by doing so, he is earning Electronics time. I find he loves it and has been reading a ton. Also if he has a series he loves, I don’t even have to ask twice.

  19. Shelly in Austin says:

    I knew it was going to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am physically unable to read any of his books all the way through.

    I generally just go with the “Read a book! Read a book! Read a book!” method. Eventually he gets tired of me saying that and gets a book.

  20. Jodi F. says:

    I’m a school librarian, so of course reading is important to me. My younger son loves to read, but only if the book really engages his interest (I’ll read *anything*) So I use my special librarian powers to find books he will like.

    Then I yell, “NO ELECTRONICS!” And he reads.

  21. Ingrid says:

    Oh I hope I win - my sons love graphic novels! In the summer we don’t allow any tv unless it is movie night on the weekends (I know - we are hard core!) Most summer late afternoons (when I’m in need of a break) I tell everyone that they need to get books and sit on a sofa or bed and read for 1 hour.

  22. Jodie says:

    Both of my children (7 & 8) are avid readers! We follow a similar regime as yours. They hop in bed around 8-ish and read anywhere for 30-60 minutes at night. I make sure to always have new books on hand for them - so they have a variety to choose from. This definitely helps in the process!

  23. Jen H. says:

    I force them. No other way will do with these two. I have to set the timer and MAKE them read. Only the Wimpy Kids books have ever made them read independently…

  24. cristen says:

    my husband and i try to read in front of the children a lot. also, we make them get in bed about 30 mins before lights out to read. my 8-yr-old son is on book 5 of Harry Potter, and already can’t imagine life without this series!

  25. Lisa Kay says:

    Oh, my son, who is 9, would LOVE those!!
    I tend to be really limiting in how much “electrical time” my kids can have. They each get 30 minutes a day, and that is any time spent on any electrical device, including playing Temple Run on my phone! Oftentimes, though, they will choose other things to do with the rest of their day, rather than reading. I was just trying to think of some way to encourage them to read this summer. I have considered choosing several books for each of them to read and then paying them to read them. This is an idea that is just germinating, so I don’t have anything concrete yet.
    Many years ago, my mom paid me $25 to read Hawaii by James Michener. It was one of her favorite books and that was the way to guarantee I would read it. Since then, I’ve probably re-read it five times!

  26. Katie in MA says:

    A few of the ideas that have worked for us:
    * There is no TV on school nights. At all. During the summer, each daughter starts with 30 minutes of TV time. Reading is one way to earn extra time. (This really works for my youngest.)

    * I read a chapter aloud each night before bedtime. The girls like to take turns reading out loud, too, because it seems grown-uppish.

    *And if one of them is feeling particularly down on reading, I will sometimes off a dollar bill as a book mark. (Also a great way to get them to try new books they would otherwise refuse to read.)

  27. Mom in MN says:

    My 11 y.o. daughter reads all the time. So much so, that we need to remind her that her homework also needs to get done once in awhile.
    My 8 y.o. son on the other hand will not read - ever. It is so frustrating because he is a second grader that reads at a fourth grade level (when forced to at school). Maybe Adventure books such as these will encourage him to read. *fingers crossed*

  28. Amanda J says:

    I’m pregnant with my first so I can’t really give any tips on how I get my kids to read, but I had to post because I’m so excited about these books. I used to LOVE choose your own adventure books growing up. I remember my Grandmother had a whole case of them and whenever we would visit, my sister and I would sit there and read through them. One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was go online and look at all of the different children’s books. I hope my kid ends up loving books as much as I did growing up (and still do).

  29. Theresa says:

    We keep them busy with sports, arts, games, books, etc. so that there just isn’t as much time available for TV. We also don’t make media taboo, so that they can choose to watch a show or play on the computer in the evening after they’ve had a busy day of activities.

  30. Arnebya @whatnowandwhy says:

    My kids aren’t allowed to watch TV during the week. They’re allowed 30 minutes apiece on the computer twice a week but 15 of that has to be educational). If they have homework that requires the computer, it can be used only for that, nothing else. We visit the library incessantly. I love that the librarians know my kids’ names, have even set aside books they think they’ll like based on what they’ve checked out before. For us, it’s as simple as saying find something else to do. There are only two TVs in the house (1 in our bedroom and 1 in the basement). The basement is off limits during the week so it’s easier to stick to saying no. It’s harder to maintain this in summer when they want to be indoors, but again, for us, it’s as simple as saying go outside. They’ll complain sometimes, sure, but it’s worth it when I see them with a book in their hands, when they’ve forgotten that it’s Friday and they can indeed watch TV.

  31. Tiffany Sanders says:

    I just tell them to turn it off or ELSE! Nothing fancy. I love to read more than anything else so hopefully they will love it more as the start to read better. They’re only 4 & 6.

  32. jennifer says:

    I Hate-Ed that book. Hated it. You are not alone!

  33. jennifer says:

    This summer I will trade time reading for screen time. Thirty minutes reading will get him one show on TV or some computer games.

  34. christie says:

    I encourage my kids to read outdoors when the weather is nice! I sometimes even set up the tent for them…something about reading outside makes it a lot more fun!

  35. Rochelle says:

    Thankfully, my daughter loves to read! It’s my husband who doesn’t! Ever since he finished college 4 years ago, he kind of gave up reading. But these books? I think they will make him love reading again! Especially since he’s an artist and a comic book geek!

  36. Tina says:

    I hate to say it but I make my boys read and do chores during the summer BEFORE they can play the video game. They “earn” the game/TV time by reading (so yes, I totally bribe them). But it worked well last year and sometimes they find a book they just can’t put down. Other times, its just a way to get their 15 minutes in. I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading to them–even at 9 and 6 they enjoy that, so I need to keep it up. And those books look awesome.

  37. Laura says:

    We are making a summer bucket list this year and we have assigned a theme to each day. One day a week is going to be library day where we will go to the library and pick out a few books. I’m thinking we’ll grab some books that have been made into movies so we can compare the different mediums. I am pretty fortunate that my kids love to read and do it all the time. They are 7 and 5 and I hope that continues. My husband doesn’t read very much but I’ll ready anything that doesn’t move so my kids have a 50-50% shot.

  38. elsimom says:

    Three things:
    modeling reading - My children know I love to read, they know their grandparents were readers, and when we go to the library, it’s not just the children who check out books. I think it has encouraged them to see reading as something that everyone does and enjoys, as something that is a “thing” in our family.
    finding what they like - my son prefers books about true things - and fiction based upon true things (like history and science), my daughter likes books about fairies. I have learned over the years that a book based on a cartoon or a movie is still a book!
    carrying them everywhere - I don’t know what people think of our family, sitting in our neighborhood restaurant, with the two older children with noses in books - maybe they think we never talk to one another - but I know that they will not get all anxious and fidgety when the food takes a while because its busy, and they won’t beg to play on my phone, etc. and instead they’ll read.

    I used to love the “Choose your own adventure” series - it sounds very much like these books. I hope we win! These books would come to a good home.

  39. Stephanie says:

    My boys really enjoy the family reading at night. We choose a book to read aloud and they all get to take turns reading part of it. One person reads each night and it not only is good for them but brings the family together. It definitely makes for a quieter house in the evening.

  40. Kate in Ohio says:

    I can’t get one of my kids to put down his book unless he is wet in the pool. The other one things that his hands will be burned by the evil that is reading. I think it is the nature of the child. Both of them would love these books. I find that if there is a superhero involved then the little one is a bit more receptive.

  41. robyn says:

    My 9 year old son is usually an enthusiastic reader, but when there is a book he is not yet excited about I will read the first few chapters and tell him a little about what happens in the book. Then I’ll leave him hanging by saying something like, “It was really amazing how they were able to escape from the catacombs!” He will want to know more but I tell him he has to read the book if he wants to know. My son hates it when someone knows something he doesn’t so he will almost always read the book himself.
    He loves the choose your own adventure books so I think he would really enjoy these ones.

  42. Wendy says:

    My 3 children are grown and only my youngest daughter loves to read. I dont’ get it. they were read to early on, had so many books around here all the time and watched me read every chance I could get, and still do. I have a daycare and we read, read, read here too, Its such an important part of daily life to read. I have so many books on my bookshelves here. :-)

  43. emily says:

    we spend lots of afternoons in the car, between practices and lessons, and I have my 7 year old always bring a book. I have found if he has a book with him when there is nothing else to distract him, he will get far enough into it to get hooked, and then he will want to finish what he has started! I remember choose your own adventure books from the library years ago - glad to see they are coming back!

  44. Navhelowife says:

    I have one kid who would rather read than eat. I”m serious.
    The other two? We try to find books that interest them, I’m almost always willing to go to the library, book store, etc., and they each have a kindle or nook, which has increased the reading as well - easier to keep with you than a book, I guess.
    In the summer, we try to join the library reading program for the prizes. I limit tv and computer time, and its so hot here in SC that sometimes reading is the only activity that appeals to them!
    Also, I model reading for pleasure - and have since they were babies. The hardest years I think are those mid teen years - too old for many books, and not into adult books yet.
    These books sound really interesting, especially for those readers not into sparkly vampires.

  45. Beth says:

    My older son (13) is still a bibliophile. He goes through 5-10 novels a week. The younger one, 11, doesn’t mind reading but isn’t addicted to it, which baffles his brother and me.

    We have a family book club where we take turns picking a book and then at the end of the month everyone who has read it gets to go out to dinner and talk about it. This keeps us in touch with each other. I also still grab picture books at the library (we go weekly) and read them at night with the kids, although for the past few weeks we’ve been sneaking on the lap top and watching crashcourse on youtube instead. Oops.

    The house is always full of books. My younger son loves the Worst Case books — we talked the library into ordering the Mars one after he tore through the Everest one and now we have to go get the Amazon one. I hadn’t heard about it yet, so it’s great to see a chance for more reading.

  46. Carol says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who hated that book. I tried too, I really did.

  47. Coraly says:

    We don’t turn on the TV till Friday night and have family movie night and then Saturday morning cartoons…those are a right of passage!!! We have one of the best libraries around and once my girls begin to read chapter books they have earned the right to obtain their own library card…big stuff I tell ya! They love to be able to walk up and down each isle and pick out exactly what they want…I am very relaxed about allowing them to read what they want. My oldest daughters favorite part is at check out,she looks at her pile of books and in her 8 year old buck tooth grin says ” I love that these are all free”
    That is how we get our kids to read!!!

  48. Kate says:

    I love to read, we also have the rule you have to read the book before you see the movie.

    2 ways way I got my 10 year old son to like reading was we got a huge variety of books at a thrift store and I just had him sample a few to see what he liked to read.
    I also ask my 3 older kidsto read to the baby of the family each night, it started because the baby didn’t want me to read but he wanted one of the big kids so I keep it up now. They love when he gets excited over a book and they are now reading old favorites to him ( he’s 3)

  49. Emily says:

    I am lucky to have two voracious readers and a third who loves reading as long as the book is exciting/a good story. Books before tv & video gaming!! I am in a mother-daughter book group with my daughter & three other moms/daughters and that keeps the interest alive as well. Would love a set of these books!!

  50. Amy Johnson says:

    They are required to read 30 minutes a day, but as for the “extra time,” it comes naturally for my kids that love to read. I have one that does not LOVE to read and I must say it breaks my heart. The best I can do is find A LOT of different books and immerse him in them. Every once in a while, I hit on a series that he loves and then he can’t put them down. That is the reason I would love to give this series a try.

  51. hennifer says:

    My son is 11 and loves to read, my daughter is almost 6 and really getting into the stride of reading. We visit the library every couple of books and check out stacks.

    We are very guilty of watching too much tv in the cooler months but we always read before bed and in the summer it really isn’t an issue because we just ban tv except on weekends and swim, read and chill.

    I’m glad I don’t have much of a challenge in this area. I would suggest reading as a family and having a Kindle doesn’t hurt either.

  52. ann says:

    Happily, my oldest daughter is a huge bookworm, and needs zero prompting to pick up and read. Before bedtime is still the preferred reading time for the 8 & 5-yo boys (the older who would LOVE these books!)

  53. Mig says:

    I feel the EXACT same way about that book. Actually, I can take it one step further, when our book group read it, I declared that I would need 100 years of solitude to finish it.

    Also, I feel sad for people who say they don’t read.

  54. Grammy says:

    With a reluctant reader, I found it always works to find a book that you know will be of interest to THAT kid at THAT time in their life, and one that is well-written so the “hook” is in the first few pages. Then, tell said kid, “You don’t have to read the whole thing. Just the first ten pages. Then you can put it down and do something else.” When they get excited about the story on page three or four, they will either come to you and beg to finish it (as though you told them they couldn’t read more than ten pages) or just plunge on through till the end.

    I had one child who hated reading and always regarded books for Christmas as some kind of punishment. I had to spend a whole day in a bookstore, reading books for kids her age, till I found the one I knew she couldn’t walk away from if she just read the first few pages. Not only did she cheerfully finish the book, she realized for the first time that reading is a pleasurable activity, and became a life-long reader.

  55. Jaime says:

    sometimes, it’s just fun being read to. so we take turns; I read a page, they read a page.

  56. Brooke says:

    I’m mean, I only allow 1/2 an hour of screen time per day during the school week and 1 hour on weekends (unless we watch a movie or tv program together), and these are tied to chores. He has to have all his daily ‘jobs’ done before he can have screen time - these are very basic, getting himself ready, tidy room, tidy playroom, pick up after himself etc. Otherwise he would be glued to some contraption or other. He really loves reading - he’s also the only child of a single mother, but I was the middle child of 3 (very close in age) and my parents are still married and I loved reading just as much as a child.

    I think having parents/influential adults that read is important to develop a love of reading - my younger sister hated reading as a child but she reads a lot as an adult.

  57. Keri says:

    My 6yo is a voracious reader these days and would love these books! We don’t have a TV and movies are a novelty (only to be watched as a family on Friday evenings and sometimes over the weekend). So my kids read books which are available to them in every room in our house. We also read to them every day and that motivates them to want to read on their own.

  58. Amy says:

    Bribery. And finding a series he finds fascinating ( Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, Treehouse, etc.)

  59. Ellen W says:

    I am glad I am not the only one who hated/could not finish 100 Years of Solitude. I tried to read it for a book club about 7 years ago and half of us did not like it. I generally will finish a book but now give myself permission to quit if I’m not enjoying it as I have limited time to read.

    One way I get my boys to read is frequent trips to the library for fresh books to enjoy.

  60. Eli graham says:

    Great blog post, I am an aspiring school librarian, as well as a mother of three, and I love hearing about new books and ideas to encourage a lifelong love of reading. With my kids, I encourage their reading through regular trips to the library, making sure there is plenty of reading material around the house, and encouraging any interests they show in books. I also “model” reading for them - they see the enjoyment that their father and I get out of reading. Comic books, magazines, newspapers, etc. count as reading. As parents sometimes we get ideas that our kids will love the exact “classics” that we loved as kids and this just isn’t always true. As long as your kids are reading something, I think that parents are doing a good job.

  61. Tina says:

    My older three love to read, so all I have to do is get new books from the library and they are excited! My younger three aren’t quite old enough yet, but it will be interesting to see if they follow in their siblings’ footsteps. My 2 oldest boys would love these books!

  62. Kirstin says:

    I have been known to go to the source and unplug the internet from the house completely but that takes a step ladder and my willingness to live without my tv/laptop/radio for a time so usually I just allow them to read whatever they want- one likes Manga so Manga it is. She has branched out a little now that her English teacher is making her do a book report a month - my younger daughter likes to read and even though she’s in 4th grade I still read to her every night. Sometimes the 13 year old sneaks in to listen too.

  63. cam says:

    We tossed out the TV when my son was born. So we read a lot around here. We do have computers and an XBox but my 15 yr old son has limited time on those. So most evenings we’re all in the living room, reading.

  64. Sarah says:

    I read. My husband reads. They see us enjoying it, then they want to do it too. My three year old is desperate to read. We are that convincing.

  65. Kerry says:

    I have 2 kids, ages 7 and 9. Believe it or not, they don’t watch TV. It’s just something we never started, so they don’t even know what they’re missing. Both of my kids love to read and I help to encourage that by taking them to the library weekly. During summer, they are allowed to stay up past their bedtime as long as they are in their room, quietly reading. The same goes for waking up early. They can get up before the rest of the family, as long as they are reading. It also helps that their school has a summer reading contest where the student who reads the most over summer vacation (they have to track the number of minutes they read) wins a Barnes & Noble gift card.

  66. Sharon m. says:

    I love reading!! When my kids were young they would all climb on my bed and I would read a whole book series to them like, Little House on The Prairie. When they were school age I would always sign them up for the summer reading program at the library. We would also drop by the library for the weekly activity that was being offered. Magazines that come in their names would encourage reading, and I would sometimes start an interesting book with one of them, and then leave it for them to finish. TV and computer time were limited, too and that would leave a lot of time to play outside, or read. I know none of these are new ideas, but they all worked.

  67. Kristen says:

    Both my husband and I love to read… So far our 7 year old boys love it, too. We read together as a family, and we have worked hard to find reading material they love (right now, Calvin and Hobbes is their favorite).

  68. Jen says:

    I have a happy reader and a not so happy reader. The happy reader reads all the time. The only way the not happy one reads is because he has to for homework and even then I’m not sure he always does it. I’m always on the lookout for a series or type of book for him, these could be it!


  69. Annette says:

    I threaten them… how else? :)

  70. Marilyn Munford says:

    4 words - oil up the slip-n-slide! The kids will have a BLAST!

  71. Amanda @ Confessions From HouseholdSix says:

    I can’t keep my older child in books. I think he’d love these. I’m so glad they’ve brought them back. I’ve been trying to hunt down some of the old ones at a reasonable price for him.

    The younger child isn’t into reading so much. We started back into the reading before bedtime routine. Once he learned that it prolongs the routine, he was all for it. While he has books memorized, and he’s not truly reading yet, I know that’s only how it all starts. There is hope for him yet.

    I can relate to your teens. I didn’t read as much for pleasure in high school with all of the demands on my time and the required reading I had, but now as an adult, I’m always reading something. The web and ebooks make it even easier than ever.

  72. Theresa says:

    I read to my kids - books that are a little beyond their reach or slightly less interesting than their usual fare. That usually get them reading in their downtime too

  73. Bonna says:

    I too have loved to read since I was a kid. The fact that my 9 year old does not, bothers me at times. My 13 year old will read for pleasure. I must admit that I did read to her quite a lot when she was young. I have not read as much to my 9 year old when he was younger. At times, he will ask me to read with him. He’d prefer to get graphic novels, which I do not like. I’ve been told “but at least he is reading”. I will have him read aloud to me, otherwise he will skip a difficult word and may miss the meaning of what he is reading. I only enforce no electronics as a form of punishment, sad to say. I am still trying to find that one theme that will get him hooked! He enjoys reading short factual snippets of information, but he too is focused on number of pages, etc. He does not have much of an imagination (very literal), so actually choosing how a story ends may be good for him. I have no good idea as to how to encourage no electronics, other than stating firmly no electronics or spending time outside of the house. He may read on an e-reader, but to me it is simply not the same…

  74. Cheryl says:

    Thankfully, all my kids are book lovers and I don’t have to encourage much to get them to read. My 9 yr old boy got kicked outside to get some sunshine and took his book with him, and sat in the shade. So your own story made me smile. Right now they are on a Tintin kick - 8 volumes just arrived from amazon this past week! My Saturday morning coffee has never been this quiet before! lol Those Chronicle Books look great. I’m sure they’d love the chance to read them.
    Btw, it’s great to have you back to blogging. I’ve always loved reading your site.

  75. melissa says:

    Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…how hilarious…….i too detested 100 years of crap……..i tried several times but it just made me tear my hair out……..i am at my wits end trying to get my kids to read……last weekend i banned all electronic devices…..gave each of them a book ( i also have 7 kids!)…….and then had to pollce their reading…….after a while they were actually enjoying their books……..i suppose computer games and iphones are too tempting…….it really drives me insane when i see my kids brains getting lost in them……i regularly confiscate all phones,laptops and keyboards because i just cannot stand it anymore……….

  76. melissa says:

    I mean “police” their reading……

  77. Juliette says:

    I’ve found that being a part of a bookclub has really helped my son finish books. He likes to read and picks up books easily, but sometimes doesn’t finish them. The encouragement of other kids really helps him get through to the end.

  78. Molly says:

    I don’t have kids, and my nephews (5, 3, and 4 mos) don’t know how to read by themselves yet. We read lots of stories together, and they love to hear me make up fire stories and stories about naughty little girls. I love to read, and I just hope that enthusiasm gets them interested. The worst case scenario books sound awesome.

  79. RzDrms says:

    Sorry, but I gasped at the hint of the one book you can’t finish. It’s my favorite book of all time ever, second only maybe (maybe!) to “Swan Song.” Interesting to read that someone dislikes it so much.

    My plan to get my 10-yr-old almost 11-yr-old Godson to read (more than he already does…hi Diary of a Wimpy Kid) is to buy him one of the above books right away! :)

  80. Amanda O. says:

    I would love these books for my boys!

  81. Camille says:

    Well, my idea is something you mentioned in your video clip. My younger boys aren’t really ready for chapter books like some other kids are - but they love nonfiction books full of facts. So we try to have a lot of those kinds of books around. They can read what interests them, a little or a lot, and look at the pictures over and over. Right now my first grader is all about sharks. My 2nd grader can’t get enough of Ripley’s Believe it or Not (some freaky people in those, I will admit). I love the big vocabulary words in these books, too!

    I have to laugh that you mentioned that you never saw Lost. I hadn’t either, and last spring I decided to watch Lost on Netflix and became so obsessed that I watched every single episode in about a 2 month time frame. That was 5 seasons worth of hour long shows. Yeah - kind of embarrassing.

  82. Jen says:

    My kids love to read before going to bed at night. We’ve also started doing NO technology Sundays. So, no kindle, ipod, tv, etc on Sundays. They play outside or read an actual paper copy of a book.

  83. Bridget in Minnesota says:

    I am one of the lucky ones. I love to read and so do all of our children. Everywhere you look in our house is an overturned-open book, a dog-eared book or a child or five with nose/s buried in books.

    Thankfully, I don’t have to encourage reading.

    I hadn’t heard of these books…my clan would love them!

    All the best to you and yours…

  84. Heather S says:

    I just hand my older daughter a new book that’s a 75% words, 25% graphics book. My younger daughter is not quite into reading, so I have to read to her. I don’t mind that too much!

  85. AlissaE says:

    How? Because I still have a little one (2), we have mandatory quiet time every day right after lunch while the baby naps. The only thing they’re allowed to do is A. Sleep or B. Read. It works.

  86. Kathy says:

    We have a simple solution to turning off tv and video games… we don’t have them in our house! If they’re not present, there’s no temptation to use them. :)

  87. Bethany says:

    I have four kids ages 12, 10, 8, and 6. The interest in reading for pleasure dimishes as you go down the line. My oldest takes a book with her everywhere; the next is pretty interested in reading but is also very active and gets bored “just sitting there.” My eight year old enjoys checking books off her school list as she reads them but really doesn’t pick up a book just for enjoyment. And my six year old, a boy, is still on the fence as he is a beginning reader anyways. I think they biggest encouragement they get around here is that daddy still reads with them at night, EVEN THE 12 YEAR OLD. They are reading aloud the Harry Potter books. She has read the series 3 times through but now she and dad are starting again with the first book reading it aloud to each other at bedtime. It’s so sweet.

  88. Sherry says:

    I am so lucky that my 12 year old son got my love for reading. This is the third year in a row that he has gotten more than 300 accelerated reader points at school!

  89. Sherry says:

    I guess my suggestion would be for them to see you read. Sit down with them and spend time together reading. Read the books they are reading so you can discuss them.

  90. JP says:

    We do weekly trips to the local library. We read to my son from infancy and I think it also helps that I love to read, and he constatly sees me with a book. He now loves reading as well. I try and pick up books I think he might like at grage sales too. I think it is having the time to read (every night before bed and whenever else he can sneak it in) and loads of material to pick from.

  91. RzDrms says:

    I bought him the Everest book yesterday…I hope he loves it!!! Thanks for the recommendation!

  92. Laura says:

    During the summer months, we take a couple of airplanes around to air shows. This means our daughter is forced to go with us and spend entire weekends outdoors. She makes up for it by refusing to go outside much in the winter, but at least she gets that Vitamin D in during flying season. ;)

    For the record, I am exactly like you; the stack of books as a kid, only child, all of it. Even if a book isn’t great, I still have to know how it ends. I also can’t stand it when people read the last chapter halfway through to see how it turns out. What a way to destroy a good story line. Why bother??

  93. Leeann says:

    Hoping I am not too late! I also have two older kids who are readers and one (10 year old boy) who doesn’t love it.

    I have eliminated electronics on school days and that has been a tremendous help. I also decided that I don’t care WHAT he reads (comics, graphic novels, books, whatever!) as long as he is reading.

    Things are improving but he still doesn’t love it.

  94. Kris says:

    I give them a limited amount of screen time (one hour a day) and I make 20-30 minutes of “book basket” time a requirement. I put books in there I want them to read for school. Also, I research and give them books that I think they will really love.

  95. suburbancorrespondent says:

    I make sure there is no video-type thing available to the kids. When given a choice between staring at a wall and reading, they tend to read. I have heard of other parents giving video credits for pages read. I might do this if I were more organized. Also, I already bribe them to do their schoolwork. There is only so much bribery I can fit into our day.

    Audio books in the car can help, too - it gets them hooked on a series and they will pick up the actual books.

    I don’t know many kids these days who would voluntarily opt for a book when some type of video is available (generally speaking). It’s just easier and more entertaining to watch than to read. Back when we were young, Chris, there was less to watch on the screen (and fewer screens!). We had to work to entertain ourselves.

    Lord, I sound old.

  96. s says:

    with 2 of my kids, its easy - we just have a quiet time to read - during the school year, that is right before bed. summer is harder, but if its super hot or the kids are waiting for me to finish up work before we head out, I’ll say all electronics off and read for 30 minutes…but with my one reluctant reader, its still usually a battle. Would love to give these books a try.

  97. Tonya W. says:

    I give my kids reading time every night and in the summer will institute a silent reading time, just like they do at school. I also try to set a good example by spending much of my free time reading and reading books aloud to them at night. I want my kids to feel that same hunger for reading, like you describe. These books would be fun to try!.

  98. Sarah Lemire says:

    We listen to a lot of books on CD in the car (30 minute commute each way to school and home) but lots of book series only seem to have book 1 on CD (or at least that’s what I tell the kids)…so then we read the rest of the series together (now that everyone can read, we trade off pages). I usually fall asleep when the children are reading and they wake me up to read my page. Maybe that is why they enjoy reading in the evening so much :)

  99. Amanda says:

    When they start getting too plugged in we implement a 45 minute reading time before bed. They can read or go to sleep. 90% of the time they choose to read. It seems to make them remember how much they love it and its another 6 months or so before we have to do another round of unplugging.

  100. Laurie says:

    The best thing that I do is to turn off my computer and do something, anything with them.

  101. kris (lower case) says:

    basically i just make him turn the tv off or the computer off and read. he has no choice.

  102. vermontmommy says:

    I am lucky that my kids really do love to read. I can place a book on the coffee table, on the stairs on their bed and if they spot it that is where they will be till finished.

    Sure there are times that the TV calls them but I know that it won’t be long before a book will do the same. :)

  103. Maggie says:

    I have one enthusiastic reader and one reluctant reader. For my reluctant reader, I let her check out many books at the library and buy her many books, but she really struggles to find books that she gets sucked in to. I hate to force it upon her, but I just keep at it and make sure she reads something everyday.

  104. Fad says:

    My kids are still too little to read on their own, so I do all the reading now, and hope that next year, my eldest will be reading on her own.
    I am so so happy that I am not the only one who couldn’t finish “that” book. Although I tried and tried and tried.

  105. Brigitte says:

    Mine also can read just 20 pages or so, then put the book down and forget about it. I’m as baffled as you, as I’ve only ever hit a few books that I just couldn’t slog my way through.

    She’s just discovered the joy of graphic novels and is very proud for having read a 97-page one in one day, so maybe we can continue that “high” with these books, boyish though they look!

  106. Lisa says:

    My kids are mostly bedtime readers, so I don’t necessarily have to force reading time on them. My boys enjoy reading so much more than my daughter, which amazes me! I was (and still am!) an avid reader. These Ultimate Adventure books look great!

  107. Rebecca says:

    Spending the day at the beach always helps, can’t bring electronics to the beach they could get ruined but if a book gets sandy that’s okay.

  108. Cara says:

    I will be reading the comments to see how other people do it because I can’t get my (almost) 7 year old son to read without a lot of teeth gnashing and crying (mostly me). My daughter, however, will not put a book down long enough to eat. I think these books would be right up his alley though.

  109. Jamie says:

    My son is only 18 months old, but anytime he brings me a book and “asks” me (read: grunts and says Mama) to read to him, I stop what I am doing and snuggle with him and read the book. I want him to learn that reading is a priority in our home, and that Mom and Dad treat it as such. We have the TV on in our house quite a bit, but I don’t let him play with my phone or iPad if at all possible to limit his screen time.

  110. Michele says:

    My kids do not get any screen time on school days and 1 hour of screen time on non school days. That gives them more time to pick up a book and read!! Those books look great, I think my son would love them!

  111. KristenM says:

    This sounds like my house — I love to read and have tried hard to instill the same kind of love in my 8yo daughter. She’s kind of into it but not as much as I’d like. I encourage her by reading with her, taking turns reading to each other out of a book. Then I’ll read ahead by myself, and she has to catch up to me before we move on together. I also let her read whatever she wants and try not to push on her the books I loved at her age. I’m always surprised by the kinds of books she picks out. I do think she’d like these adventure books, though. (I really love your idea of making them read a book before they see a movie version.) Thanks for the suggestions!

  112. Jenny says:

    A friend suggested I do what she does….in the summer, for every hour of reading, your child gets an hour of “screen time” (TV or computer). My kids are younger (emerging readers) so 1/2 hr shows are still big with us so this is a good incentive. In additon, we also have one family “movie night” (no reading required ahead of time) but a movie we all pop popcorn for and watch together….gives us common things to discuss afterwards too!

  113. Magpie says:

    My children love to read. They consume books to the point I can barely get enough from the library to last us the week on all four of our library cards! Here are my hints to get little book lovers of your own: Read to them. Read to them for as many hours a day as you have to spare, or voice to last. Read to them from birth right up through graduation. Have them read to you, read to their siblings, etc. As they get older and can read on their own, if they think they don’t like a book (particularly if it is one you think worth reading), start reading it to them. A voice bringing the characters to life is sometimes all it takes to jump-start the interest. Recorded books are good, too, and although I usually would say read together as real people first, there are a couple of recordings I think are done so well they are worth listening to right off ~ especially Peter Denis’ performance of Winnie the Pooh.

  114. PastormacsAnn says:

    We read out loud to each other.

  115. Laura says:

    My daughter is five years old and we have read to her since she was an infant. She has developed a love for stories on CD’s which is a substitute for watching tv.

  116. flowtops says:

    Our key to success may well be the fact that we like to read while eating breakfast or lunch. As we all eat all meals together, this means the kids are now also reading whilst eating. We regularly read bits of our newspaper, novel or comic book out loud for the others to enjoy.


  117. Nikki says:

    I LOVE reading with my children. They’re 8 and 10 and will still listen when I read. We turn off the TV and read together often. Our next book was recommended by a teacher friend - I think it’s called The Journey of Edward Tulane (kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit on steroids). Can’t wait to get started, but we have to finish the 7th Harry Potter book first!

  118. Carolyn says:

    The Chronicle books are EXACTLY from the movie Big (circa 1988). It only took 24 years for them to bring them to fruition.

    On the reading, I think the key is just finding what interests your children. I know that the second a book was assigned to me to read in school, I balked. All the way through college. I HATE reading if it’s something someone tells me to read. So I was always fine with whatever my kids picked up to read, yes, even Capt. Underpants. Because it’s a start.

    Chris…I also want to give you kudos for your promotion of the Dangerous Book for Boys. I started reading your blog around the that time and bought that book on your recommendation. My son LOVED it. Which brings up another interesting point. Books don’t have to be stories, either fictional or real. They can be how to’s or history or whatever…the key is to spark their interest and let them take it to the next level.

  119. Cassie says:

    My kids are never ready to go to bed, no matter the time, so telling them that they can stay up an extra 15 - 30 minutes if they lie down and read usually works well for us. And it has the added bonus of letting them wind down a little before they sleep!

  120. Margaret says:

    My daughter and I love to read. My three boys, not so much. I will buy them any book, about anything, to get them to read. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I just keep trying.

  121. min says:

    I find out what kind of stories my daughter likes by going to the library weekly and letting her choose the books she wants to take home. I also get her hooked on a series. That usually keeps her entertained for some time as she reads through all the books in the series. Audiobooks are also a good way to inspire love of stories. If we don’t have audiobooks on hand, I read to her either during lunch or before bedtime. I’ve been looking for books like The Chronicles! Thank you for the giveaway!

  122. Andee says:

    We love to read - it helps that both parents like to read and that they see us reading. Right now, the biggest thing we do is have the older 2 read to their little sister. They love that!

  123. Joe says:

    Like a few others above, we don’t allow any electronics during the week (other than schoolwork on the computer). And on the weekend, we tell them that they better regulate themselves, because when/if we feel they’ve done too much electronics, we’ll ban them for the rest of the weekend.

    My wife and I are and have always been readers, but only the middle of my three daughters inherited it. Even when electronics are banned, most of the time the other two will draw or do crafts or legos or whatnot rather than read. Sigh.

  124. MusingsfromMe/Jill says:

    I set reading time for my younger two. Both have ereaders. The youngest tries to use the games on the ereader so I have to monitor him more closely or ban him from using the ereader. He likes Star Wars books and Lego catalogs. The Lego catalog doesn’t qualify as a book, but on nights where I am exhausted by him the catalog is a book!

  125. Sara says:

    My kids love to read !!!! We don’t have the option to spend time watching tv anytime any more my hubby got rid of cable.Since we live near Lake Michigan our tv antennae doesn’t work.I have to say that I am the one that misses my shows the most!!!!LOL My youngest boys 10 and 14 love to read a variety of books and since we homeschool they have the option to read anytime of the day. My older two (now 21 and 23) had a harder time reading for fun. I found that if they found something that they found interesting they would want to read a book.Sometimes that meant just joke books,comic books etc. I figured as long as it made them read!!!! Luckily it worked and now they like reading heavier material.

  126. Summer says:

    I love to read, and I HATED that book. Loved Anna Karenina, loved Moby Dick, found Don Quixote interesting, but HATED that book. It’s only redeeming quality was that it gave me a renewed appreciation for my husband. That has got to be the lamest hero ever. I wanted to scream, “Get a job, get a pet, get a hobby, but please stop drinking her perfume. That’s just sad.”