Using Movies as a Motivational Tool to Get Kids Reading

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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

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