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14 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark

14 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics

2 minutes

Many parents today seem to have trouble getting their kids to read the classics. But I think I may have stumbled across an idea that just might work. We need to rename them. (Not the kids. The books.)

Like so many other things in life, presentation is everything. And we parents have to understand the world our children live in. It’s a Candy Crush Saga-playing, Doctor Who binge-watching, anything-but-book-reading world. Face it, with so many wonderful entertainment choices today, a dusty old book has a lot to compete against.

In that world, you have to make your point quickly, which means that titles are everything. Today, without a good title, writing is lost. How do I know? The answer lies in blogging, the most popular writing form today.

I’ve learned a lot from blogging. Not to brag (which, of course, means: to brag), but in the past year or so, I’ve had over 150,000 blog clicks (of which, roughly 75,000 were mysteriously generated from my own Macbook). Which isn’t bad, considering that I’ve yet to write a single blog about Khloe Kardashian.

Here’s what I’ve learned about titles:

  1. Titles should be intentionally overly descriptive—to the point where reading the actual text is futile: Christian Education Benefits Society
  2. How-To” columns seem to attract a lot of attention: How to Start a Homeschool Writing Workshop in 5 Steps
  3. Numbers (“12” is infinitely better than “Twelve”) are good. They are the (please forgive the literary reference) siren’s song of the internet. Who can resist? 12 Reasons Why You Should Watch The Twilight Zone
  4. They should ask (or answer) a question—the more obvious, the better: Don’t Trust My Homeschooling? Tips to Shut Down the ‘Quiz Masters’
  5. Certain words and phrases (“’Tolkien”, “diet,” “detox” “holidays” “free,” “tips,” “how to get the girl of your dreams,” “Do’s and Don’ts”) are good: 5 Homeschooling Do’s and Don’ts I’d Tell My Younger Self

Based on these writing rules, I suggest that the way to get a new generation to read the classics is to simply rename them, repackage them, and re-gift them to the Millennials with titles such as the following.

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | The Hobbit: How to Make Yourself Invisible to Haters And Trolls

Bilbo Photo Copyright New Line Cinema

The Hobbit

How to Make Yourself Invisible to Haters And Trolls

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | Fellowship of the Ring: How To Get Other People To Fight Your Battles For Free

Cover photo copyright New Line Cinema

Fellowship of the Ring

How To Get Other People To Fight Your Battles For Free

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | The Two Towers: The 2 Towers

Tower Photo Copyright New Line Cinema

The Two Towers

The 2 Towers

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | Return of the King: How to Melt Down Unwanted Jewelry

Ring photo copyright New Line Cinema

Return of the King

How to Melt Down Unwanted Jewelry

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | A Christmas Carol: What to Do When Uninvited Guests “Drop In” for the Holidays

Scrooge image copyright Disney

A Christmas Carol

What to Do When Uninvited Guests “Drop In” for the Holidays

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | The Screwtape Letters: 33 Ways to Write Letters That Get Attention

The Screwtape Letters

33 Ways to Write Letters That Get Attention

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | Shakespeare’s Sonnets How to Get Your Point Across in 14 Lines

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

How to Get Your Point Across in 14 Lines

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | Old Man And The Sea: 5 Survival Tips for Your Next Caribbean Vacation

Old Man And The Sea

5 Survival Tips for Your Next Caribbean Vacation

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark |

Dorian photo Copyright Ealing Studios

Picture of Dorian Gray

How To Get Your Artwork Noticed

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark |

Alice Photo Copyright Disney

Alice in Wonderland

Diet Drinks That Really Shrink Your Belly

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark | Jekyll And Hyde: DIY: How To Compartmentalize Your Life

Jekyll And Hyde

DIY: How To Compartmentalize Your Life

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark |

Sherlock Holmes photo copyright BBC

Sherlock Holmes

Why “Elementary” Ideas Can Solve Big Problems

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark |

The Divine Comedy

How One Guy Made His Way Out Of Hell (And Got The Girl Of His Dreams!)

13 Crazy Ideas to Get Your Kids to Read the Classics - by John Clark |

Frankenstein

Home Workshop Do’s and Don’ts

Read the Classics

I know that some of my ideas are a little crazy, but I think this concept is a real winner. In fact, I may have just developed a cottage industry of producing and selling book jacket covers for parents.

So which books would you retitle to get kids to read the classics? And which of mine are your favorite?

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About John Clark

John Clark
John Clark is a homeschooling father, a speechwriter, an online course developer for Seton Home Study School, and a weekly blogger for The National Catholic Register. His latest book is “How to be a Superman Dad in a Kryptonite World, Even When You Can’t Afford a Decent Cape.”
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