Guest Post by Dawn Little

When children are motivated to read, it shows.  They find pleasure in reading that comes from within.  Here are five ways you can help motivate children to read:

1.     Choice

Choice is so important when motivating readers.  If a child doesn’t feel as if his reading choices mean something, then why will he want to read?  Allow a child to choose his own reading material (magazines, graphic novels, books, informational guides, etc.), places to read, or time to read.  

2.   Read Alouds 

Twenty-five years ago in Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) reading aloud was called “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (p. 23).  Reading aloud to children (whether our own or our students) provides an opportunity for children to hear what good reading sounds like.  It also allows for adults to entice children with wanting to hear or read more. 

3.     Be a reading Role Model

As adults, it is our responsibility to be a good role model in life for children.  It’s also our responsibility to be a good reading role model for the children in our lives.  That means they need to see us reading.  Children learn to value reading when they see the adults in their lives value reading. 

4.     Book Talks

Book talks are advertisements for books.  When a parent or a teacher talks up a book and reads aloud parts of a book, it tempts children to want to read that book.  Read an exciting part, a scary part, any part of the book that makes the child want to pick up that book and read it himself.    

5.     Interests

I began this list with choice, which is so important for a child to be motivated to read.  Equally important is allowing children to choose reading materials related to their own interests.  When children feel validated in their choices based on interests, they will want to read more. 

Dawn Little (@linkstoliteracy on Twitter) blogs at where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing.  In addition, she blogs at where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children.  She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families.  Find out more at