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Unique ways to get your child reading

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Sneakily encourage your kids to read

This school year, your child will be expected to practice reading at home. If your child struggles with spending quality time with books, try these unique ways to get in reading time.
Family playing a board game

Running out of ways to encourage your child to practice reading? Try these unique ways to get in reading time. Don’t get mired in the expectation that your child should read picture books or chapter books each night. Any words count as long as your child is practicing.

Play a family board game

CLUE board game

Game instructions are an excellent way to practice reading. When you play a board game for the sake of reading, try to choose a game that involves reading cards, such as Clue (Hasbro, $20). A game with a good mix of reading and other activities will keep your child engaged during reading time.

Suffer through their jokes

Knock-knock joke book

Listening to endless knock-knock jokes isn’t the most glamorous part of parenting. But if it means your child is practicing reading, it’s worth taking one for the team. Pick up an age-appropriate book of knock-knock jokes (Barnes & Noble, $5) or puns. Your child won’t realize he’s reading once he’s laughing.

Map it out

World map

If your child isn’t interested in stories yet, think outside the box with maps. Using maps to promote reading can happen a variety of ways. If your child is more imaginative, draw a treasure map for her that involves reading or finding objects in the house that begin with a certain letter. Kids with a natural love of geography can spend time with a map poster (All Posters, $9) looking for real destinations.

Get digital

Kindle ereader

For kids who have grown up playing games on your tablet and smartphone, screen time may be a solid enticement. If it means getting your child enthused about picking up a book, try offering the book in e-book format on your e-reader (Amazon, $200) or tablet. If you go this route, be familiar with your device’s parental controls. You don’t want your child playing Angry Birds during reading time.

Complete a science project

Science set

For kids who love experimenting and science, a science project can sneak in reading time. Look for a ready-made science set (Toys 'R' Us, $20) with instructions. Tell your child that you’ll help out with the grown-up parts as long as she reads the directions out loud. Embracing science is the perfect way to create a rounded but fun lesson at home.

Start role-playing

The Oregon Trail game

Nerd parents, you’re in luck. If you’re already familiar with role-playing games, or RPGs, you’ve got a tool that can help your child practice reading. Whether you’re trying tabletop gaming or a video game that’s appropriate for younger kids, reading is part of succeeding at gaming. Try classic RPG The Oregon Trail (Broderbund, $20) for beginners.

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