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Helping Children To Read With The Best Kid Books

Updated on May 25, 2011

The Right Environment & The Right Books

For some kids, reading is a chore.  But, there are ways you can help children develop a love for reading.  From my own experience, I have found a couple of ways to help that really work.  Every child is unique but the following ideas should be broad enough that you will probably be able to use one of them with success.

To get kids interested in reading you simply need to take away all of their other belongings. Without anything else to do, they will have to love to read - right? Unfortunately, it's not that easy. If you still want to live with the child and have a good relationship, there has to be a better way.

It starts in elementary school. Your son or daughter is required to start doing some reading at home. Of course, this is all good since they will be expanding their vocabulary and reading is fun. It should be a piece of cake, you think. After all, you have been reading to him or her since infancy. Wrong! You happen to have a child that treats a book like a punishment. It only gets worse once they reach middle school. Now the books are longer chapter books and there is more at stake with comprehension and testing.

Things are getting stressful at home. Your child will pick up a book only to toss it down again with the usual "it's too boring!" or "I don't like it!" You may be at the point of pulling your hair out knowing that high school is just around the corner and then the books read will no longer be a choice but rather will be from a required reading list.

With all of today's distractions, it is harder than ever to get kids to read. Play Station, X box, Wii and television are just a few of the things that are grabbing our kids attention. It is a good thing that schools do require a certain amount of reading or some kids may never pick up a book.

I have three kids with three different levels of interest in reading. My oldest daughter liked reading in elementary and middle school and then gradually lost interest as her social life increased - pretty typical and average. My middle daughter loves reading and could devour a novel in a day. She is now interested in journalism. My youngest son hates reading. They obviously all come from the same family. I, myself, love books and read to all three of them constantly when they were young. My house is full of books. I am always reading. You would thing that my love of reading would have rubbed off on all three of them - so why doesn't my son like to read?

Well, I had to do some experimenting. Since he was required to read a certain amount of books per quarter in middle school, I needed to force the issue. The first thing I determined was that he had a difficult time sitting still. Choosing the right time for him to read was key. This ended up being toward evening after he had a chance to work out all of his energy.

I wanted to monitor his reading so I would meet him in the living room and we would each read a book for at least a half an hour. My goal had been to supervise him but it ended up that we both enjoyed our time together relaxing and reading. We stopped in the summer because our schedules were so crazy and he made a comment, after about a month, that he missed reading. I almost fell on the floor!

Another important factor was of course picking out a childrens book that he would enjoy reading. This was no easy feat! I would take him to the bookstore or library and suggest book after book. They all looked like they should be interesting. He would just say "nope, nope, nope, boring, not gonna read it...." It took a lot of patience but I was determined that we would not leave until we found something he liked.

Come to find out he was much more interested in real life stories about the military than he was about any fiction childrens books. Finally, we started making some headway. Another thing that perked his interest was reading a book that was also a movie. Because of that he read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and then went on to read the entire chronicles of Narnia!

Motivating children to read can be a little easier with the right children's books. The best kids books are going to be the ones that are relatable to your child or excite their interest in some way. I have come up with a guideline for some good books for children to start with and some tips for getting your child to read.

Good Books For Kids

  • A book with a strong character that they can relate to
  • How to type of books - boys especially like these
  • Real life stories of children their age in dangerous or challenging situations
  • Humor - almost every child likes a good laugh
  • Movie based books

Once you can lure them in with one book they like, it won't take too long before they are hooked! This is when they may be open to expand to more of a variety of books. I know it worked with my son. He probably will never be a reader to the level that my middle daughter is but at least he doesn't hate it.

Classic Children's Books

I grew up loving the classics and think this is a great genre to get your kids started with. There is such a variety but here a some of my favorites:

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: The eccentric owner of a chocolate factory, Willie Wonka, starts a contest for a tour of his factory. Charlie Buckett, along with four other children win the contest and their adventure begins. Charlie is the only one to follow the rules and in turn receives another reward.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The story is of four very different sisters all growing up together. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy encounter all sorts of troubles and lessons that anyone can relate to. They become very endearing to the reader.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien: The hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, goes on a treasure hunt with Gandalf and some dwarves. They run into all kinds of adventure along the way with giant spiders, a dragon, trolls and goblins.

Charlottes Web by EB White: A little girl named Fern convinces her father not to kill a piglet named Wilbur. The piglet goes to live at her uncles farm and befriends a spider named Charlotte. The two of them, along with Fern, come up with a plan to keep Wilbur popular.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This is a story about a neglected garden that no one is supposed to enter. It is found and restored by an orphaned ill girl and her new friend who is also ill. As the garden once again begins to bloom, the characters also hope to be healed.

Anne Of Greene Gablesby LM Montgomery: This is a humorous tale of Anne, an orphan, sent to live with an older couple who are brother and sister. The exchanges between Anne and Marilla are very humorous because Anne talks non-stop with an overactive imagination and Marilla is serious and practical.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: The story unfolds with a pilot who, while stranded in the desert, meets a little prince from a small asteroid. The prince has been visiting other worlds and tells the pilot of his adventures and his meetings with adults.

Winnie The Poohby AA Milne: The many stories of Winnie The Pooh and his adventures with Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl and Rabbit are truly a delight.

Peter Panby JM Barrie: This is about the boy who never grew up. Peter Pan is the leader of the Lost Boys in Neverland where they encounter many adventures with pirates and Indians and Captain Hook.

Some others: Old Yeller, Alice In Wonderland, Black Beauty, Stuart Little, Swiss Family Robinson, Tom Sawyer, The Last Of The Mohicans, Treasure Island and of course The Chronicles Of Narnia


Buy Children's Books - Classics

1. Find a classic that relates well to your child.

2. Purchase the book.

3. Set a specific reading time.

4. Talk about the story with your child.

Buy Award Winning Childrens Books

These award winners are sure to become favorites with your child.

Sam, Bangs and Moonshine is an extraordinary story about a little girl who loses her mother at an early age and copes with the loss by pretending it wasn't so. She tells many tales that get her into trouble but the book ends on a happy note.

Read the excerpts from all of the books and fall in love with them. The illustrations are also fantastic. When a child is given a new and well written book it helps to stimulate their love of words and reading.

Even when there are few words like First The Egg, a story is told through great illustrations and rhythm of words.

Children's Book Club

If you can find a series that your child enjoys, then joining a children's book club can be a fun way to get new books each month that keep your child eagerly waiting for the next shipment. This can and does keep an interest in reading alive.

The very first book club my children joined was a Dr. Seuss book club. I think I was just as excited as they were to get the next book in the mail. We had done this with Dr. Seuss, Magic Tree House, Box Car Children, and the Left Behind series for kids.

Most of the book fairs we joined were through Scholastic book fairs that were put on at the schools. The Dr. Seuss book club came about through an ad in a parenting magazine. Now there are all kinds of book club offers on-line.


childrens book
childrens book

Ten Most Popular Fiction Books For Kids

I found a great video, that was put together, listing the ten most popular animated movies and fiction books for children. It shows ten movies plus five runners up, all which most likely have been or will be made into a chapter book. Keep watching and it goes on to show the ten most popular fiction books for kids or adults for that matter.

I thought this was a great way to put a visual picture together with the book titles. This is something I am going to have my son watch and would recommend showing to your middle school or older child. I know that just seeing the visuals made me more excited about reading the books. I am sure it would do the same for our kids.


What type of books do your kids read?

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    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your comment megs! I'll bet your son will love CS Lewis when he is older too :)

    • megs78 profile image


      9 years ago from quebec

      I think you hit the nail right on the head with this hub. Good job. I too am an avid reader and read non-stop. I remember how I got hooked too. I was only 4 or 5 and my mother started reading us Waterbabies. I was so enthralled with that book and since then, have never looked back. She also read us the Narnia Books way before it was ever made into a movie. We absolutely adored CS Lewis. I think reading is really important so thanks for the tips. My daughters are both good readers, but they are still young, so who knows what will happen? And my son couldn't care less, but being 1, who can blame him? :) take care


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