readinginafortVideo games. Hoverboards. Cell phones. These are the things kids are interested in—reading books falls somewhere between doing homework and helping Mom with dinner. The proof of this shift is in the stats: 66 percent of eighth graders tested below proficiency in reading in 2015.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The important thing to remember is that kids have become accustomed to taking part in more engaging activities, whether they’re playing games or sharing on social media with their friends. You can use this to your advantage and make reading more fun—more engaging. Here are a few ideas to try in your home this summer and all year round.

Find Funny Books
Yes, it can be as simple as buying a few new funny books to keep around the house. A whopping 70 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 say they want books that make them laugh, according to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report.

What’s more, 91 percent of kids 6 to 17 also said that their favorite books are the ones they choose themselves. Give your kids one day a month to pick out a new book of their choice, whether it’s online, at the library or at a local bookstore.

Make It a Challenge
Gamification is a growing trend in the classroom for a good reason—the basic principles of games, including challenges, leveling up, and earning prizes keep kids engaged, excited and motivated.

Create your own at-home book challenge for your kids. Each week, set a goal and offer a prize if that goal is met. Prizes will depend on what motivates your kids the most, but you could choose simple things like a pint of ice cream, a new pair of shoes, a trip to a nearby amusement park and more. Kids can use this reading log to keep track of the books they’ve read.

Make a Book-Reading Fort
Kids love tearing the living room apart and turning it into a cozy fort of their own making. Spend a Sunday creating the coolest fort you can and declare it the reading fort. No need to buy anything, just use pillows and blankets you have around. Whenever anyone is inside, they have to read at least one book. You can even read together as a family, which 83 percent of kids said they love, according to the same Scholastic report. Even better: turn all the lights off and read with a flashlight. This simple activity can make reading a special adventure rather than a boring task.

Read in Different Voices
Turn bedtime reading into an acting opportunity. When reading aloud with your kids, take turns doing so in different voices. You could talk with a certain accent or read the words with extra emphasis. Whatever your kid will love most is the best option for you.

Take turns reading the same character’s words, each of you creating your own voice for the same person. It will be fun to compare your different accents or voices and laugh about the silliness of both.

Include Comic Books
The best part about comic books is that most of the time kids read them because they want to. This can be attributed to a number of things: in many cases, kids are already familiar with the characters and plot line, the text is fun to read and the imagery jumps off the page. This makes comic books an exciting literary ride for most kids. Encourage yours to find comic books they love and buy a few for the house.

You could also turn to graphic novels, similar to comic books in that visuals are used to guide the story, adding text only to fill the gaps. Not familiar with this genre? Explore this list of kid-friendly graphic novels by Reading Rockets.

Making reading fun for kids is easier than it may first seem. Remember: they just want to be engaged, whether they’re working toward a prize or reading their favorite book in funny voices. Bring these ideas into your home and see if your little ones start reading more.

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About Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is the editor of Whooo's Reading and an education blogger, who's been featured in publications such as EdTech Digest and Daily Genius. Her favorite books growing up were "My Side of the Mountain" and "The Giver," and she hopes to inspire a similar love of reading in students and educators.

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