1. Read to them. JJ and I just finished reading Hatchet by Paulsen. Perfect for 10 year old boys--it's about a 13 year old boy who crashes in an airplane and must survive alone in the Canadian Wilderness. Try to make reading time a special time-not just torture! (For one book JJ and I played tag with the book. We read together and I always stopped at an exciting part then left the book. Often I would find him reading it. Then I would try and catch up by taking the book from his room...)
2. Let them see you reading. Example just can't be over stated! Make the time to read. (this is frustrating for me - I want to keep doing things!) When the kids see their father read it is 10 times more powerful. (This was an actual study!)
3. Talk about things you've read at the dinner table. We give book commercials - advertising works for TV, why not for reading - tell about a favorite book or article you read.
4. Kids go through phases! Each of our kids has gone through a comic book phase, where all they wanted to read was Garfield and Calvin and Hobbs books. I am enduring this phase but keep reading them books I want them to hear.
5. Get the whole family involved - have aunts, uncles and grandparents tell what they've been reading or ask them to encourage your kids to read. Is there someone in the ward or neighborhood your kids respect and admire - ask about what he or she likes to read.
6. Go to the library or bookstores. Our kids get Christmas money from grandparents - and we always use it for books.
7. Do activities that remind you of the book. After reading Hatchet, we watched Swiss Family Robinson. We also tried making a fire without matches. We talked about getting our son a pocketknife for Christmas, etc.
8. Use thought-provoking questions to make kids think more about what you are reading. Avoid the worksheet approach. This can pretty much kill any enthusiasm over reading (coming from an elementary teacher, I should know!)
9. Books on CD. We listen all the time. One of our favorites: Peter and the Star Catchers. - its very well read and a great story!
10. Tumble Books - kind of for the younger set, but we all stop and listen when they start reading a book. Most libraries have a subscription.
11. Brain Pop (ok, it's not a reading site, but it is a favorite of ours.
12. Buy them a bedside lamp. You’d be amazed at the reading that happens at night. They can turn off their own light.
13. Buy informative magazines for kids. There is a lot of them out there. Go to the library and check them out.
Don't expect your kids to jump right into reading. They sometimes don't do things just to spite you or irritate you. Just keep reading - they will follow suit!
The most important thing about reading for us is to learn to love it. Books can take you anywhere and teach you things, but only if you open them up! Encourage that love of reading and you've accomplished more than you know.
Need a great place to find good books? Read "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease (I think that this should be required reading for every parent. It lists great books to read aloud in the back.) Ask the librarian, or friends. Also, Book Adventure has a great way to look up books. Have your child look up the kind of books they like.