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As no child or youth is the same, these are simply ways we have inspired our children to love or at the very least want to read. If you are feeling a little blank on finding another way to reach your child, I hope you can find something in these suggestions that help.
A little Mystery
When a couple of my daughters couldn’t get into all the book suggestions I gave them, I went with a little mystery. Nancy Drew, Boppsey Twins, Sherlock Holmes, the Sugar Creek Gang books, Lassie mysteries, Cherry Ames, Vicki Barr, Alfred Hitchcock, The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Boxcar Kids, the Mandi series, or the Encyclopedia Brown series.
The Westing Game
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
For older kids (Scholar age): The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Agatha Christie, Father Brown, anything by Ann Radcliff and Charles Dickens, and any of the above titles.
TJED for Teens
I have a daughter who loves to cook and spent all of her reading time reading cookbooks. She had no interest in pursuing deeper books than Paula Deen or Betty Crocker. After hearing a talk by Dr. Shanon Brooks, she pulled out our copy of TJED for Teens and read it cover to cover. She came to me one night solemn and serious to tell me she was ready to be a full scholar and actually read. She was so inspired by the book TJED for Teens that she made a commitment then and there that she wanted an education. I pulled out the booklist and she’s been reading hundreds of books each year since.
Feeding a Passion
One of my sons has had a variety of interests. No matter what I do, I’ve had a hard time inspiring him to read outside of those interests, so I find classic books that are in the same vein as these interests. At first it was knights and castles…and now it is architecture. He is studying Medieval architecture and others by David Macaulay and is getting interested in cowboy classics.
Getting my kids a Goodreads account (used with supervision & no message boards) has been fun and inspirational for the kids 13 and older. They love to see how many books they’ve read, what they like to read, and suggestions within their favorite genres and from their like-minded friends and family.
When we’re in the motivation phase I have them listen to audio books, talks with me (see this article), read magazine articles from National Geographic, Caliope, Cobblestone, or the Smithsonian. My main goal is to expose them to as much information and a print-rich environment while we are looking for the spark of inspiration.