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How to Motivate Kids to Read

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Did you read to your kids a lot when they were little? We did, but when my son learned how to read, we sort of just stopped. I bought fun early readers that I thought he would choose over screentime. Instead, the books collected dust on the shelves.

It took us a few years, but we changed our tactics and now we find our son reading in his room constantly—even when he should be sleeping! With school starting back up soon, you might be wondering how to motivate kids to read. Here are 5 things you can do.

Keep reading aloud to them.

Something I realized in quarantine is how much my son still loves being read to. His teacher began reading aloud to his class every day. I knew he loved it when he was actually remembering to get on the video conference each day. Reading aloud to your child instead of watching another rerun of his or her favorite cartoon could be the golden ticket for how to get him or her interested in reading. It might even end up being the highlight of a child’s day.

Let them choose the books.

Forget about loving to read—a big step is figuring out how to motivate kids to read in the first place. I bought my son so many books I was sure he would love! I bought easy readers and small chapter books that I thought had a great storyline. Turns out, I was just buying books I wanted him to like. Save your money, take your children to the library, and let them choose whatever they want off the shelves. It’s a great way to learn what they find interesting. You can make suggestions, but if it doesn’t spark any interest, let it go.

Model it out.

If you really want to get your children interested in reading, you’ve got to show them that you’re also interested in reading. Last year, my husband challenged himself to read a bunch of books and explore different genres. He was reading all the time! While he didn’t exactly intend to, he spurred an interest in our kids also to read more often. Your child will do what you do more often than what you say.

Start your own book club with them.

Reading the same book as our kids has been a fun way to get them to explore books that are different than their normal “Diary of So-and-So.” It’s also worked to get us to read books that they are interested in too. My kids now will leave books around (my favorite home décor) for us to start reading while they’re in bed. I love that we can share discussion about what we are reading together. It also has sparked many great character-building conversations.

Let them read in bed.

My kids think they’re being sneaky when they read in bed. Don’t tell them, but I know what they’re up to! I usually let them read in bed for half an hour after we say good night. In fact, we keep their bedtime a little earlier on purpose to account for reading time. There’s something about reading a book by flashlight in a dark room that screams childhood. Let them think they’re getting away with something while they venture out into the world of books.

How have you fostered a love for reading in your kids? Need help beyond reading? Check out these 10 Ways to Motivate your Child.


What is your favorite book to read right now?

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