Are you tired of fighting your child on the importance of reading? Do you wish you could snuff the “I hate/can’t read” stubbornness and get them to read without having to “force” it on them? Use these five sneaky moves to brush up on your ninja skills and you can do just that. Turn your child into a reader by employing these master ninja tips:

1.      Put audio books on in the car. Listening to books is as good as reading them. This sneaky ninja move will be great for you and your reluctant reader because it is using time that would be spent traveling anyway. No extra time is taken out of your schedule or your child’s fighting over reading. Listening improves vocabulary, pronunciation, comprehension, and expands listening skills. Maybe the next time you ask for their room to be cleaned, they might do it! (Or maybe not, it is cleaning after all. Even the best ninja parenting tricks can only go so far.)

2.      Watch TV/movies together. You didn’t read that wrong. I mean it. This ninja parent move focuses on foreign films and television. Put the subtitles on and voila! Your reluctant reader is reading. This is a great way to improve reading speed and grammar. Your child will probably laugh at or mentally fix incorrect translations. Encourage your child to share these findings with you and you do the same. It’s an English lesson on the sly! There are lots of wonderful foreign films and productions easily accessible using services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Videos.

3.      Play video games with story lines. Many video games use narrative to explain what is going on during transitions in game play. Sit down with your child and pull out that controller. If the video game doesn’t read the text out loud, encourage your child to do so or your do it. Insist on having to know what is being written so you can figure out what to do next in the game. Do it even if you or your child understands what to do due to intrinsic play design. This sneaky ninja parent move in addition to reading encourages one-on-one interaction and bonding and teamwork. What kid would say “no” to video games?

4.      Go to the zoo or aquarium. Explore your local zoo or aquarium and read all the plaques on the different animals. Depending on your child, make the trip one big grand adventure. Consider making a documentary scrapbook. Go as wildlife explorers with all the gear. Bring a camera, a drawing pad, a notebook, crayons, pencil, pen, and tape (to stick interesting objects into your notebooks/drawing pads). Have your child draw or photograph the animals and write down interesting facts about them. Interview zookeepers/marine biologists and write down their responses. You’re ninja parenting will conquer reading and writing at the same time. Plus you’ll have a lot of fun doing it. When you’re done, your scrapbook will be full of great memories!

5.      Go to the museum. Pick a museum – any museum: art, science, history, etc. Pack a lunch for you and your reluctant reader and get ready to put your ninja skills to the test. Turn your museum trip into a quest with a gift shop souvenir as a prize. What you will need to do: Read up about the exhibitions beforehand and come up with a treasure map with a fill in the blank message. Then give your child a key to unlock the message. (Think National Treasure, where the little boy is running back and forth to look up particular alphabet letters in Ben Franklin’s letters to a newspaper to spell something.) All the clues should be findable on the plaques for the exhibitions. Before you know it your child will be happily reading and exploring.

What other ninja parenting moves do you have up your sleeves? Share what has worked for you!

Photo Credits: brunkfordbraun


by First Mate Keira

Title: C.Y.A.: The Case of Tangled Love (A Covert Youth Agency Novel, Book 1)
Author: Jason Ancona
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 258 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 8-14

Summary: The Covert Youth Agency (C.Y.A.) is the brainchild of Peter “Pi” Samuels (sophomore), a kid born on March 14 (which explains the math nickname 3.14). He and his two friends, Delilah Lightman aka “Lightman” (a freshman) and Ben “Tollhouse” Gaw (sophomore), are the club’s only members. Together they use their skills to solve the problems of Trenton High School Students. Their newest case is one of tangled love, where Vera, Pi’s crush, wants to know if her boyfriend Jack “JackO” Orton cheated on her at a party.

Why I started this book:

The author offered a review copy.


  • All three main characters are fun, quirky, and intelligently drawn. I don’t always agree with the vernacular used (on the rag) but I find their thoughts, narration, and communication funny.
  • Pi in particular is very noble. I am proud of his final decisions regarding The Case of Tangled Love and Operation Jack Attack.
  • Ancona’s updated high school stereotypes: PDAs – Prescription Drug Addicts, Duhs – Diligent Underachievers, Big Sticks – Jocks (lacrosse and hockey in particular), Noble Nerds – The Underdogs, Indies – Independents,  Reality Show Wannabes – Popular Girls.
  • The C.Y.A. spy techniques and adventures. Super cute and occasionally filled with disasters that require some epic strategizing to pull off… I’m thinking of the golf cart here. Haha.


  • The party crowd/scene. How are they getting access to that much alcohol? Or the PDAs and all those “legal drugs”? I was disappointed in Tollhouse for succumbing to peer pressure to fit in and drink to the point of vomiting. Gross.
  • Deeks and the jocks hazing of the nerds. Yikes! Here’s hoping the C.Y.A. nips that in the butt and soon. I smell a new case.

Final Thoughts: The use of pop culture will make the books accessible for kids now, but might limit and date the books in the future.

Buy: C. Y. A.: Covert Youth Agency: The Case of Tangled Love

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

Online Stores


Review: Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 6) by Jennifer Estep

by First Mate Keira December 16, 2014
Review: Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 6) by Jennifer Estep

Reviewed by First Mate Keira Title: Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 6) Author: Jennifer Estep Format: Ebook Page Count: 368 pages Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+ Summary: Gwen Frost feels it. She knows the end is coming near. The final battle between Vivian, Agrona, the Reapers, and Loki is around the corner. What will happen? […]

0 comments Read the full article →

5 More Reasons You Should Read Books before Seeing the Movie

by CaptainYarr December 15, 2014
5 More Reasons You Should Read Books before Seeing the Movie

by Captain Lyaf Yarr As I revealed last time, I’ve done both scenarios: read the book first and seen the movie first. I am a firm believer now of reading the books first and I hate it when people see a movie before reading the book that it was based off of! It’s like cheating. […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Movie Review: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never directed by Jon M. Chu

by CaptainYarr December 14, 2014
Movie Review: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never directed by Jon M. Chu

by Captain Lyaf Yarr Title: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director: Jon M. Chu Run Time: 105 Minutes Rated: G Summary: This movie is basically a documentary of Justin’s life and his experience going from a kid living in a small town in Canada to the world’s most famous teenager and how life is insanely […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Review: The Field Guide by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black

by First Mate Keira December 13, 2014
Review: The Field Guide by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black

by First Mate Keira, guest reviewer Title: The Field Guide (Book 1: The Spiderwick Chronicles) Author: Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black Format: Hardcover # of pages: 107 Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12 Summary: The Grace children are moving into their crazy aunt’s ramshackle house. It’s so rundown it’s practically falling apart. Of the three, Jared […]

0 comments Read the full article →