I love literature. My high school English teacher would call this a "water is wet" statement (in other words, stating the obvious). But because I like reading so much, my kids have fortunately picked up the habit as well-- at least the ones who know how to read.
Here are a couple of fun things we've done to encourage reading, and some other great ideas I plan on using soon:
-My young daughter just learned to read her first "long" book, "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. So what did we do to celebrate? Well, she read it to the family and then we had to celebrate with (of course) green eggs, ham, and potato casserole. All the kids had a great time.
-We have Harry Potter parties. We actually copied this idea from some family members. My two oldest kids (8 and 10 yrs. old) are reading Harry Potter. After they read a book, we invite friends, pop some popcorn, and watch the movie together. It's been a fun, easy way to celebrate our children's accomplishment.
-Poetry night at the Cafe (got this one from a friend who posted it on her blog). Each of the kids picks a favorite poem and then one they've written themselves. They get to read this at our own private coffee house. And you can't have a poetry reading without hot chocolate, coffee cake, and other homemade goodies.
-library day. This one is easy because almost every library already has programs in place to encourage reading. Just check out your local library and see what's going on (most bookstores have a children's hour too). If there isn't anything, start your own. Give kids a reward for every book, chapter, etc. that they read.
-Look online. We were looking into the State Fair and discovered they have a reading program. For every book your child reads (there's a form to download and fill out), they get a free ride at the fair. What a great deal. For my kids, that means twelve rides total!
Well, that's all I have time for right now, but there are many other great ideas out there-- you just have to look.
Hands down the best way to get your kids to read is for them to see you doing it. I have a general policy that I read everything my children do-- especially as they get older. It's an easy way to see what they're getting exposed to, and provides a great opening for conversation with your kids.