How Do I Get My Kid to Read? Finding the Right Independent Reading Book for Your Child

A rectangular image of a desk with a stack of books on the left-hand side, a neon green cup of colored pencils, a red alarm clock, reading glasses, with an out-of-focus silhouette of a masculine-presenting child.
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In 2010, Google determined that 129,864,880 books exist on Earth. Think of how many more books exist 11 years later! Feeling dizzy just thinking about it? Thankfully, narrowing down the amount of books by your child’s interests and reading levels is much easier to do.

Still, it can be hard to know where to start. But I promise that while finding the right book for your child can be a long process, it’s not an impossible one. See some of my own techniques for finding books your kid can connect with and finally fall in love with reading.

Find books based on their favorite tv shows

One of the best things about children’s books is that there is probably a book adaptation or even extra stories created just for their favorite media. If your child loves everything to do with Disney, try some books from their Twisted Tales series. The books are retellings of their favorite stories in alternate universes.

Teens may love graphic novels or comic series that were the inspiration for shows such as The Umbrella Academy or Invincible. I’ve found that in recent years, manga has soared in popularity. Manga are graphic novels that are typically multi-volume and is often adapted into anime. While they can be pretty pricey per volume (to be fair, that’s a LOT of drawing to make just one book), the craze has inspired local libraries and other media services to have copies readily available with less wait time (and money saved for you!).

Listen to audiobooks together in the car

Look through descriptions of audiobooks through Audible, Libby, Overdrive, or Hoopla. Choose one that you believe you would like to listen to as a family. That way you can react to the book in real time while also having moments to talk about what you’re listening to. Remember to not force your way through listening to it if it doesn’t appeal to either of you, but especially for your child.

HEad to the library

Libraries are truly amazing places. Free Wi-Fi, classes, and other programs are all available to you and your community at no cost. Well, actually, some of your tax dollars, but hey, that’s all the more reason to go. You prepaid in advance, so take advantage of all it has to offer! Over a billion Americans do it each year, so you’ll be in good company.

When it comes to using the library to help find a good book for your kid, that’s what librarians are for! They have the latest knowledge on new releases and can recommend books for any kind of reader. You can also ask their teachers or school librarians for suggestions as well.

Read Kid Lit Blogs

“Kid Lit” is the affectionate term for children’s literature. They often have posts on the latest books, review of books, and so much more. Blogs by specific grade levels are listed below and I’ll add more as I find them. There’s always something new out there, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for with these blogs, keep checking!

Elementary age book blogs

CeCeLibrarian’s Book Blog

This Picture Book Life

Blazer Tales

Middle grade book blogs

Teachers Who Read

Books in the Middle

Books. Iced Lattes. Blessed.

Young Adult Book Blogs

The YA Shelf

Girl + Book

Inclusive Kids Books Blogs

We Need Diverse Books

Colours of Us

Disability in Kit Lit (no longer posting new blogs, but still a great resource!)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Don’t Give Up

I’ve mentioned before that it can be tough to find a book that resonates with some kids. Don’t be afraid to let kids read “below level” if they already have a hard time connecting with books. The more they read, the more words they know, the more books will be accessible to them when the time is right. I can guarantee you that if I didn’t have the foundation of plenty of chapter books, there is no way I would have enjoyed Jane Eyre when it was time to read it.

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