My 9-yr-old is a bit of a reluctant reader. He would much rather have me read to him! So I signed him up on http://www.bookadventure.com/ , which is a wonderful FREE site which encourages kids to read by offering short, multiple-choice quizzes on over 7000 different books, for which the kids earn points and prizes! Parents can choose the reading level for which the child can earn his points, and also create prize certificates. For instance, each book read earns 100-150 points. So I created certificates such as : an ice cream cone at DQ for 100 points; a movie from the video store for 200 points; lunch at his favorite fast food place for 200 points; going bowling for 1000 points; going to a Mudcats baseball game for 2000 points. Tonight Jason redeemed 2000 points and he and his dad went to the Mudcats game!
Although he's almost 10, I'm letting Jason earn points for books on the 2nd and 3rd grade reading level, because the important thing right now is volume! I want him eager to read every day, and if I made him read harder books, he'd just get frustrated and stop! The more he reads, the easier it will get, and then I'll push the reading level up a bit, until he has to read books at or above his grade level.
But I'm not in any rush to make him do that. I'm reading aloud great books to him, so he's getting exposed to rich vocabulary, more intricate plot lines, and wonderful stories. Eventually, his ability to read those stories himself will catch up.
Our bedtime read-aloud right now is "Black Stallion", by Walter Farley ( one of my all-time favorite books as a child!) Other books I've read aloud this year were "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH", "Rascal", "Little Britches", "The Silver Chair", Cheaper By the Dozen", and "The Indian in the Cupboard".