7 Practical Ways to Minimize Cost of Reading Materials for Your Book Kids.

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Oh, how we wish books grew on trees. The reality is that they cost dollars and cents. Let’s face it, times are difficult economically for many.  Buying books then becomes one of the last things on the minds of many, especially when it has to compete with meeting the bare necessities. Books can become costly, however there are ways to minimize the cost. Here are seven:

1. Create it. Have your kids create their own books. This is highly advantageous on so many levels. Creating the books allows your kids to exercise their sense of creativity; to sharpen up on their writing and illustration skills; to dig deep and utilize their ever-expanding imaginations; and to take pride and joy in their new creations. Not to mention, your book kids now have new books to add to their home library, without you having to break the bank.

2. Borrow it. Borrow books from your local public or school library. Libraries have numerous titles from which to choose, and they are free. Take advantage of this opportunity to ensure your kids always have reading materials available. We cannot emphasize this enough.

3. Swap it. Organize and host a monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual book swap party for kids. Collaborate with other parents and have the kids gather books they are willing to get rid of, compile these books and swap them. Everyone then ends up with free books. Can’t beat that! A great way to make the party unique is to organize and display the books as they would appear in an actual bookstore. Give the kids artificial money and have them purchase the books. This is a great way to sharpen up on math skills as well. Alternating locations (various homes, library, park, etc.) will work as an added bonus.

4. Download it. The online resources are endless. There are tons of free children’s books online that are only a click away from your home computer or printer. Your child can either read them online or download and print them. If you don’t have access to a home computer, check with your local libraries. They usually have them available for your use. Here are some great sites to explore: Children’s Storybooks Online, Storyline Online, Free Kids Books, Children’s Books Online, Magic Blox International Children’s Digital LibraryWe Give Books, and many others.

5. Request it. Ask for free books for your kids. There are numerous literacy organizations that help provide free books to families in need. You can contact them directly or through your local library or children’s schools. Here are a list of a few: First Books, Heart of America Foundation, Kids Need to ReadLibrary of Congress Books Surplus Program, The Literacy Empowerment Foundation, Books for Kids Foundation, Scholastic Book Grants, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental. For a list of more programs click here.

6. Win it. Interestingly enough, your book kids can win free children’s books through various reading programs at school, online, or at your local libraries. Many require your kids’ participation in their reading programs. Sign them up, have them read the required number of books, and they win free books. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is one of the largest reading programs currently underway. Check your local listings for others.

7. Buy it. There are times when there may be no other way around it. You may have to buy some books. For such a time as this, know that there are many bargain bookstores that sell discounted children’s books. Check your local listings for them. Some local libraries sell used books for little to nothing. Scholastic Book Fairs is also another great resource for obtaining great books at a very reasonable cost. Again, check your local listings, kids’ schools, and local libraries for information on these book fairs and discounts.

All in all, while books may not grow on trees, these penny-pinching tips, put to great use certainly will make them appear as if they do. Let’s do all we can to make sure our kids have sufficient reading materials, without us having to break the bank in the process. Happy Reading!

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids




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Does the phrase “I’d rather watch the movie” or “I’ve already watched the movie” sound familiar? Kids have a way of trying to bypass reading, especially when it involves a lengthy book.  Some parents succumb to the idea while others dismiss it totally. We suggest parents compromise. In other words, do both. Incorporating movies into the reading process can be a great motivational tool to get kids reading. Here’s how:

1. Use the idea of “watching the movie after the book is read” as an incentive to reading the book. Let your child know that you will reward his or her effort by treating him or her to the movie adapted from that particular book. Kids get excited knowing that they will actually watch a movie made from the book they are reading, especially if it is a new release that they can watch at the movie theater.

2. Participate, not just delegate. Read the book, along with your child. This is particularly encouraging for children to see their parents reading the same books as them. Furthermore, they gain a sense of assurance knowing that they have you to count on or come to when they have questions regarding the book, and that you will be able to answer their questions, since you’re reading the book yourself.

3. Discuss the book. Having a book discussion is a great way to encourage kids to read the book. They love and look forward to spending time with family anyway, hence the book discussion is an added bonus. Note, this works perfectly well alongside a book club for kids. If you don’t already have one, this a great opportunity to start one.

4. Watch the movie. Remember, your child has been looking forward to this from the moment the idea of reading the book came about in the first place. This was one of the motivating factors to reading the book. Needless to say, the movie can also serve to revitalize, clarify, simplify, and summarize the book. Follow through. Reward your child to a great movie to the book you both have just completed, and consequently, you end up rewarding yourself.

5. Start the process all over again, with a different book, of course. Your kids are now excited and motivated and can’t wait to dive into another book. Note, while movies cannot substitute books, they can supplement them. Here’s a link to other great movies that were inspired by or adapted from children’s books. Happy reading and watching!

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids

5 Reading Tips to Ensure Your Book Kids Are Achieving the 20 Minutes a Day Reading Recommendation


Research (Nagy & Herman, 1987) shows that students who read at least 20 minutes daily have a clear literacy advantage over kids who read less or don’t read at all. This infographic by the Perry Lecompton School District, Perry KS depicts an alarming illustration of such findings.


Twenty minutes of reading per day may seem simple and doable. However, be ever mindful that the busyness of life can easily creep in and rob our book kids of these crucial 20 minutes of valuable reading time; and if we are not vigilant, they can easily slip into the student “C” category. Here are five simple time saving reading tips to ensure that your kids are reading at least 20 minutes a day.

1. Too much homework? Order a kid or teen magazine subscription or check some out from your local library. These make quick, fun, and easy reads, especially when everyone is crunched for time.  Kids can easily grab one during snack time or homework break and read a quick short story or two. Two of our favorites are Highlights and Stone Soup. Their beautifully illustrated short stories, great poems, excellent articles, and amazing artwork are bound to captivate your kids’ attention. Highlights is especially  jam packed with wonderful games, jokes, puzzles, riddles and other activities. 


2. Too many sports or extracurricular activities? Have lots of mini books available at all times.  These are quick, fun, and easy reads that your book kids can breeze through in a flash on the way to basketball practices or football games. Some great examples of these are the Steck-Vaughn Adventure and Mystery Books: Smoke, A Bone To Pick, Don’t Look Back, Forgotten Treasure, Stolen Bases, Buying Trouble, Please Call Back!, Modem Menace, Video Quest, Road Rally, and many others.  My kids particularly love them because they are full of suspense and adventure; and I love them because they are great on-the-go-books.


3. Too much time with technology? Incorporate technology into the reading process. We live in an age where kids and technology seem to be almost inseparable. While technology can be a major time thief, using it as a reading and educational tool can be another great way to squeeze in that 20 minutes of reading. There are substantial amounts or reading and educational materials on the internet; and with some supervision and monitoring on the part of the parent, everyone benefits ultimately -your book kids are excited that they get a technology break, and you are thrilled that they get some reading done in the process.



4. Too many chores? Whip out those flash cards or vocabulary words. Chores are inevitable and can take up an incredible amount of time on a daily basis. If we are not observant, they can easily zap up a tremendous amount of valuable reading time. If you can’t minimize the chores, maximize the time by having your kids read their flash cards or study their vocabulary words while tackling their chores. Ultimately, they end up accomplishing three things all at once: reading, homework and chores. It doesn’t get any better or easier than this.

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 5. Too little interest or enthusiasm for reading? Stock up on some educational board games. Let’s face it, even our little book enthusiasts have days when they simply do not want to read. For such a time as this, these games come in very handy. Playing a quick game of Scrabble, Trivia Pursuit, Boggle, Jr. and others alike can easily expose your book kids to hundreds of words within minutes; and they actually get to have fun playing with words. They may not have the urge to grab a book to read at the moment, but they certainly wouldn’t mind joining in on a good game of Scrabble.

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All things considered, there is no substitute for a good book. Ideally, every child is reading at least 20 minutes per day; realistically, not every child is. These five effortless, time saving tips will help ensure that your kids are at least achieving the 20 minutes a day reading recommendation. Anything more is an added bonus.  Happy quick, fun, and easy reading!

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids