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7 tips to turn kids into readers

A lot of cultivating a reader consists of sitting back and letting them show you which way they want to go. But these tips will help you know how to sit back and how to step up.

1. Don't push your kids. "There's pressure that they should be at a certain point, that it's time for them to move into chapter books, and [parents say] no, you can't go back to that picture book," said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association. "I think maybe the education system has done that to parents — put a pressure on accountability and that's not what reading motivation and enjoyment is all about." Let them spend time with picture books if that's what they want. They will get to the chapter books when it's time, and they'll do it because they want to.

2. Sick of reading the same book over and over? Don't stop, Stripling said. Kids like to be the experts and predictors, to "know what's coming," she said. "There's a reason this book is a favorite book to them. And they continue to enjoy it and it deepens their love of reading if you keep reading it." So, here we go again, "Library Lion."

3. Don't shun graphic novels or comics, advises Heidi Powell, manager of the children's department at Washington's Politics & Prose bookstore. The books offer various reading levels, help children understand story form and, of course, promote reading.

4. Children are never too old to be read to. A family reading night, or family book, will help encourage reading. Children will want to be a part of it, and sometimes they can get more out of a book by listening, rather than reading, because it can spur discussion.


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