Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Ideas to Motivate Kids to Read

In my last blog entry I offered up a couple ideas on how to encourage less motivated readers into the fabulous world of books. Today, I’ll throw out a couple more ideas. Here they are:

How about a book chat?

Getting kids to ask and answer questions about books can be fun and encourage more involvement in reading. Often, if readers know that they are going to talk about what they are reading, they will pay a bit more attention and get more involved in that reading. What a lovely thought, right?

Let's say that there are two or more kids reading the same title on their own. After they finish the story, they could come together to talk about it. To begin, each child could share his or her opinion of the book. Next, why not give the readers some fun and specific questions to chew on? If children have read Dog Gone, for example, they might discuss how they would each describe Dill or how her buddy, Cub, influenced her as she dealt with her wayward dog, Dead End. Students could also talk about how they might describe Dead End and how he complicates life for both Dill and Cub and the other characters in the story. If children read Buck Fever, they could talk about how Joey wants to impress his dad. What advise would they give Joey when he finds out about the bet that his dad has made? What would children say to Joey or one of the other characters if children were to meet these characters on their own turf, say on the way home from school or in the lunchroom?

Book conversations can get really interesting as each reader brings his or her own experiences to the discussion. As an added bonus, lots of writers, including me, offer discussion questions for their books on their websites. So, often, book chat questions are just a click away. Why not use them in classrooms, at home, or for author-student discussions when an author visits a school or library?

Ever try a book graffiti wall?

It’s easy and can also be fun and motivating. My local bookstore tried this after I talked about it during a presentation to teachers and librarians. Everyone at the bookstore had great fun with this graffiti wall, I'm happy to report.

To make a book graffiti wall, spread out a large sheet of poster paper or butcher paper. Have children draw a pattern of bricks on the paper so that it looks something like a wall. Next, attach the "wall" to a real wall, bulletin board, or flat surface. Whenever someone has finished reading a book, he or she can draw book-related pictures, write a book recommendation, something about the author. . . Anything the reader wants to put on the wall is acceptable as long as the graffiti has something to do with the book. For example, someone who read Buck Fever might want to draw a picture of Old Buck or jot down a get-well soon note to Joey. Putting up graffiti on the wall can be fun for the person who read the book, but this graffiti also advertises elements of the story that might entice others to read it.

So, there they are--a couple more ideas for writers, teachers, librarians, and anyone interested in getting readers more involved with books and to (hopefully) make reading even more fun than it already is.


  1. Thanks for these posts, Cynthia. I'm doing five High School talks and two libraries this week for Teen Read Week. Great ideas on these blog posts.

  2. You are most welcome, Andrew. Busy week that you have. Good luck with all of your talks and visits!