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How to get kids to read — let them pick their own damn books

Lauren Katz is a project manager at Vox, focusing on newsroom-wide editorial initiatives as well as podcast engagement strategy.

Many parents identify a multitude of benefits reading can provide for children, but getting their kids to read is an uphill battle. In Scholastic's biannual Kids & Family Reading Report, 75 percent of parents with kids ages 6 to 17 said, "I wish my child would read more books for fun."

As children age, the study of 2,558 parents and children points out, kids' activities shift toward using a cellphone, visiting social networking sites, and playing games on electronic devices. Seventy-one percent of parents with children ages 6 to 17 said, "I wish my child would do more things that did not involve screen time."

So what can parents do to encourage children to read more? For children ages 6 to 17, 91 percent of kids said, "My favorite books are the ones that I have picked out myself."

Kids & Family Reading Report, 5th Edition


Humor is another important factor when it comes to choosing a book to read for fun: 70 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 said they want books that "make me laugh."


While humor is a popular choice overall, what kids look for in a book varies depending on their age.


These illustrations, populated by children's favorite books or series, demonstrates the age-driven theme preferences when selecting a book for fun. There are many more characters who are in love, for example, in the favorite books or series of children ages 15 to 17.


No matter what kind of books they're reading, 86 percent of kids in the study agree: "I feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when I finish reading a book."

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