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Would you like some fun reading activities to do at home with your child? These tips will work for even the most reluctant reader.
As a mom who is a speech/drama and English teacher, I longed for the days when I would catch my children up too late reading a good book under the covers. Unfortunately, that never happened.
My kids were too busy playing outside during the day. In fact, when they hit the sheets at night, they were out cold. No reading sneakers at my house.
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There are some kids who are naturally drawn to books like I was as a child. You know, the kind of kid with a flashlight under the covers reading way past bedtime.
For those of you who have that kid, you can skip this blog post. I am talking to those of you who have kids that would rather be doing anything but reading.
In this post, I am going to give you fun reading activities to do with your kids. Don’t worry! It’s not hard. Before we do this, let’s do a few pre-reading activities so your child is excited about the book.
What Are Five Pre-Reading Activities?
Before you start reading, try one of these five prereading activities so that your child’s interest is piqued. When you finally open the book, your child will be excited and ready to listen to the story. You only need to spend 5-10 minutes doing this before you read.
1. Pictures-draw pictures about the subject. If you are reading about alligators, have your child draw an alligator and talk about it. The shape, color, size, and what sound it makes.
2. Videos-watch videos about your subject before you read the story so your child will have a better idea about the subject. This is one of the best fun reading activities that will get your child’s attention.
3. Brainstorm– talk for a couple of minutes about the book cover. Ask your child what he thinks might happen in the story. Make inferences when looking at the pictures on the front and the back of the book.
4. Storytelling-let your child tell you a short story about the book just by looking at the cover. You can help him out. Compare and contrast your story with the real story after you are finished reading. It is a fun way to see how close your story was to the real one.
5. Title-Come up with a different title to the story. Create some funny ones. After you read it, discuss whether your title is better.
How Can I Make Reading Activities More Fun?
Check out these twenty-five fun reading activities to help your child be more interested in books. These ideas are not only fun, they are tried and true. These techniques have worked for many other kids and they will work for yours too.
1. Showcase the books in your home. Put books in a place of prominence. You want your children to know books are important. Teach them to treat books as a treasure because they are just that-a treasure.
They are expensive! Don’t let them throw, tear, chew, or deface them.
2. Only put the holiday books out at the holidays. This will make your books special. I used to put the holiday books out in the living room as decor.
It made it easy to pick up and read them out loud when we had downtime. This is a fun reading activity to do with your child and special during the holidays.
3. Create a special reading area. Both of my kids had beanbag chairs in their room. This made it a nice place to plop down and read comfortably. Make reading fun by creating a cozy environment.
4. Read out loud to your kids. Reading out loud to your kids will make reading fun. It is important to read through elementary school or even beyond if you can get away with it. I stopped too early.
I wish I had read chapter books out loud longer. We did read devotionals out loud periodically even through high school. I guess that counts…
5. Read alone. Make time during the day for your child to read alone. Start with a small amount of time when in preschool. (Use picture books until the child can read.)
Increase the time as the child gets older. This directly works on your child’s ability to sit and concentrate. We did this all the way through high school, especially in the summer.
6. Make your own book. This is so cool! You can create a Chatbook using the pictures of your own child. Suggested themes such as the child’s birthday party, visiting grandparents, vacations, outings to the zoo or park, etc.
There is nothing like being the star of the show. Great gift idea, too. This is one of the greatest fun reading activities to do with your kids.
7. Teach character traits when choosing books. I utilized a church library for books on character. The public library will have them, too. Look for ones with a problem/solution theme. These books will help prepare your child for real-life scenarios.
Pick books on sharing, picky eating, toilet training, including others, whining, friendships, kindness, love, clean-up, pouting, good/bad behavior, lying, etc.
I honed in on character issues I was seeing with my child at the time. It is a non-threatening way to reteach good behavior.
8. Use the library as a fun field trip. Go to the library weekly. We attended on the day they had storytime. Many times my kids sat in my lap while we listened to the story.
When they got older, I was able to look for books while they sat quietly by themselves. You are training them to sit, listen, and have self-control while hearing a story. This is one of the most fun reading activities to do with your kids.
9. Read over or skim the book before you get it. I found many books that were not appropriate for my kids. They had things in there I was not ready to discuss with them at their young age. Protect their innocence.
10. Get soft cloth and plastic books. These books are safe for a baby or toddler. ((Check the label to make sure.) They can take a little more wear and tear. My kids often chewed and drooled on them.
No harm at this age. Book care can start when they are a little older.
Introduce board books (small cardboard books) when they are ready to start taking care of them. They are a bit more sturdy than regular books.
11. Read nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes teach rhythm, fun sounds, letters, vocabulary, and creativity. Make sure to read the classics. Even adults refer to these works. These are such fun reading activities for your little ones.
12. Use picture books. I love the Carl books. There are no words in the books. You and your child can make up your own story as you go along. My kids thought they were reading when we looked at them. This will make reading fun for your kids.
13. Find ways to get books cheap. We were on a tight budget. I never bought a book full price at a bookstore. I found books at garage sales, Half Price Books, I traded with friends and family, and we received them as gifts.
Now there is Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor app, etc. Utilize these avenues so you can keep your library fresh but inexpensive. You can also sell them to buy more.
14. Read books aloud in funny voices. Ok, so I realize I am a Speech/Drama teacher, but you can do it, too. Kids think this is hilarious. Even I got confused with all the voices when there were too many characters.
Don’t worry. Your kids won’t care. They will be too busy laughing at you and the story. This is such a great way to make reading fun for your kids.
15. Put books back in the bookcase. You can teach clean up skills by always putting the books back when reading time is over. This will help keep your books from getting torn up. And it reinforces how special they are to the family.
16. Cut out the iPad. Ashley, a reading specialist, said it is causing not only reading problems but behavior problems. When she goes into homes to tutor, one of the things she sees on a consistent basis is that the child who has reading issues is on the iPad way too much.
The iPad is a babysitter. Use it sparingly.
In fact, if you take it away and your child throws a tantrum, he is addicted. She said to slowly cut back the time and either wean your child off of it or only use it for a short period during the day.
The fun reading activities online can not be substituted for book reading.
17. Snuggle when you read. My kids were always in my lap snuggled up to me, or we were lying in bed together reading. (Unless we were at the dinner table.)
You want to create a warm and loving environment. Make it a fun time to look forward to every night. Reading in a parent’s lap is one of the most fun reading activities you can do together.
18. Encourage your child’s gifts. Know your child well enough to pick out books he is into at that time. My son was into diggers, construction, tools, and dozers for a very long time. I found every book (and videotape) on the subject.
19. Capitalize on dead time. You can read at mealtimes, before naps, carpool, or bedtime. Mix it up. My kids had board books and those cloth books with them in the car when they were little. Fun reading activities are the best when you do it at the spur of the moment.
2o. Trade out your books. Keep some of your books up on a shelf where your kids cannot reach them. Trade out your books when you see your kids are getting tired of the ones they have. This way the books will feel new.
21. Save special books. I have about 15-20 special books I have saved to pass down to my grandchildren. I will probably keep them at my house for them to read when they come. This will be so fun to pull them out.
Some of the books are ones I had when I was a child. They are fragile and very special to me. I told you I was a book freak.
22. Get educational books. Make sure your home library includes books on colors, counting, shapes, and letters. You want your child to be working on this as early as possible. This will help them to be school-ready.
23. Trace with their fingers. When you are reading letters and numbers, have your preschooler trace them with his/her finger. Use as many senses as possible when reading. When writing or tracing, start letters and numbers from the top.
Don’t let them trace starting at the bottom of the letter. You will develop a bad writing habit that will have to be broken later.
24. Experience what you read. If you are going or just went to see airplanes on vacation then check out books about airplanes. If you are going to the zoo, pick out books about animals you will see at the zoo.
Read about different cultures and then eat their type of food afterward. Make your books come alive in real life. This is one of the best fun reading activities.
25. Create your own stories. My kids loved it when we made up stories that included them. My husband was especially good at making the funniest bedtime stories.
He once made up a story about Indians scalping my father-in-law who is bald. The next time my son saw his grandfather he asked him about it. My father-in-law was hysterical. We still laugh about that today.
What Are Some Reading Activity Pointers?
- Don’t get discouraged. Remember, both of my kids wanted to be outside. They didn’t love reading when they were younger. I had to learn how to create fun reading activities so they wanted to read.
- Don’t let your kids talk you out of reading alone. It is a skill that needs to be learned in order to move on to higher-level thinking. They will try to talk you into reading aloud to them only. They have to learn how to sit quietly and concentrate. Don’t skip it.
- Kids appreciate books more as they mature. Be patient. It takes time. Be consistent and create good family habits. You may not get a thank you until college. That is okay. One day they will appreciate reading.
I hope these tips will help you teach your child to read. Stay consistent and have fun while you teach. It should be a natural part of your day to include books. In fact, if you miss storytime before bed, your kids may even complain!
What fun reading activities do you do with your kids?
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