25 Ways to Make Reading FunFeb 02, 2023
One of the greatest lifelong gifts is to support your child’s love for reading. If you have a child who already enjoys reading, these ideas will help to foster this! If you have a child who resists reading or is still in the early stages of learning, these ideas open them up to the joy of reading! If your child is unable to read, you can still use most of these ideas with an older sibling or parent reading aloud to them.
- Change Locations
Try reading in fun new places like in a hammock, at the park, or outside and use a flashlight! Usborne has a great series of books called “Shine-A-Light” and parts of the books only become visible once a light is shown through the pages!
- Try Popcorn Reading
Take turns reading out loud with your kid! You can split it up by sentences, paragraphs, or pages. This is a great way for you as a parent to be involved, while also observing how well they are reading and comprehending. Feel free to stop and ask questions about vocabulary words you think they may not know or check in to see if they understand.
- Read Books Without Words
This takes the stress away from reading accurately and allows you both to use your imagination. These are also opportunities to work on how to put together a story which they will need later for writing skills. Some favorites are:
- The Lion and the Mouse
- A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog
- Anno’s Journey
- Beaver is Lost
- Good Dog, Carl
- Sector 7
- Time Flies
- Unspoke: A Story from the Underground Railroad
- Take Advantage of Library Events
Most libraries offer public events which include story time, crafts, and even visits from authors. I still remember attending an American Girl doll tea party at the public library when I was a little girl!
- Make Food Mentioned in Stories
Whether a meal, snack, or sweet treat, try making something you learned about in a book. This can range from simple foods in The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Butter Beer from Harry Potter. For older kids, you can turn this into an activity where they look up the recipe online (or some books have them in the back), go to the store, and make it at home!
- Visit a Restaurant That Represents a Cuisine From a Book
Try visiting a restaurant that represents another culture from a book they read. Some books include Magic Ramen, Bella's Recipe for Success, or Dumplings for Lili.
- Have your Kids Read to Stuffed Animal or a Pet
As parents we can give lots of feedback, for kids it can be nice when pets or stuffed animals just listen.
- Explore Types of books
Magazines, comic books, joke books - they all count! Not only can these be fun, they give a quick reward of interest or humor.
- Plan a Book Club
For older kids, let them all decide to read a book together. They can then chat about it, or plan a night where they make food or visit a restaurant as a group.
- Be Silly
As parents we can often be serious, don't be afraid to use silly voices or read silly books. Try The Book With No Pictures, Everyone Poops, The Chicken Squad, or poems by Shel Silverstein.
- Let Kids Ready “Easy” books
We want kids to simply enjoy reading, as this will encourage their love for the activity. Easy books also help their fluency!
- Participate in Reading challenges
Check your local library, fast food restaurants, and ice cream shops - many offer a free treat for reading!
- Try Audio Books
These can be a fun option on their own, or kids can also have the book and follow along while they listen to the audio.
- Listen to Story Podcasts
These are great for in the car! There are many options that vary in length, even for just the drive to school. Some favorites are CircleRound, Stories Podcast, Mars Patel, Short & Curly.
- Create a Positive Environment
Research studies show a direct link between a parent's attitude to reading and their child's reading level and enjoyment. When we approach reading with our kids, check to make sure you are talking about books as enjoyable and positive!
- Watch the Movie Version After Finishing the Book
There are TONS of movies which were made from books! A great family activity and reward for reading is setting up a family movie night with popcorn and treats once the book is finished. This helps your child continue to push through in order to watch the movie!
For Younger Kids:
- Peter Rabbit
- Where the Wild Things Are
- The Gruffalo
- Horton Hears a Who
- The Cat in the Hat
- Chicken Little
- Curious George
- The Lorax
- The Night at the Museum
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The Story of Ferdinand
- James and the Giant Peach
- The BFG
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Romana and Beezus
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Harry Potter
- Artemis Fowl
- Charlotte’s Web
- The Tale of Desperaux
- Because of Winn Dixie
- The Spiderwick Chronicles
- Anne of Green Gables
- Ruby’s Bridges
- Where the Red Fern Grows
- The Call of the Wild
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- The Secret Garden
- Swiss Family Robinson
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- The Borrowers
- Harriet the Spy
- The Iron Giant
- A Little Princess
For older kids:
- The Hobbit
- The Hunger Games
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Boy in Striped Pajamas
- The Princess Bride
- Play a Game of Reading Bingo
Build a Reading Fort
Bust out the blankets and create a fun place for your child to snuggle up with a book!
- Act Out a Scene from the Book
Put on fun hats or clothes and act like a character while reading!
- Try a Book that has Won an Award
- Newberry is awarded to authors for the best contribution to children’s literature
- Caldecott is awarded to the most distinguished picture book for children
- Help Your Child Research a Book that Matches Their Interest
Whether it is motorcycles, animals, or planets, help your child learn how much knowledge can be gained from books!
- Visit a Place in the Community Related to a Book
From a zoo to a museum, find places in the community to visit. This is a great way to reinforce learning and discuss facts from the book.
- Visit an Online Museum
If there aren’t places close, there are so many options online!
MetKids - The Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org)
Museum of the World (britishmuseum.withgoogle.com)
Virtual Tour | Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (si.edu)
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Washington, DC, United States — Google Arts & Culture
- Try “Live Cams” to see Animals in Action
Most zoos now have live cameras to have sneak peeks of animals behind the scenes! Let your child see live animals after the read a book about one!
Live cams | Monterey Bay Aquarium
Webcams | Smithsonian's National Zoo (si.edu)
Animal Cams – The Dallas World Aquarium (dwazoo.com)
- Find a Series
Look for a series that will encourage your child to want to continue reading! Here are some favorites:
- The Magic Tree House
- Princess in Black
- Land of Stories
- Harry Potter
- Little House on the Prairie
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians
- The Boxcar Children
- Wings of Fire
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