Would you like some fun reading activities to help your child love books? 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 in bed 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. Boo hoo!
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 have no idea how lucky you are! For the rest of us, I’ve got the goods on how to get your child to love books.
In this post, I am going to give you 40 fun reading activities to help your child love books. Don’t worry! It’s not hard–anyone can do it. You do not have to be a teacher to have great success. After you get into a rhythm, your kids will actually EXPECT you to read to them–often!
What Are Some Fun Pre-Reading Activities For Kids?
Before you start reading to your child, try one of these five pre-reading 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. Discuss the shape, color, size, and sound it makes. Your child can continue to draw while you read if you want.
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 for the story. Create some funny ones. After you read it, discuss whether your title is better.
What Are Fun Ways to Teach Reading?
Check out these 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 during 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. This is an important activity to help your child be school-ready.
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 your 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. Activities in reading can be used to accomplish several goals at once.
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 a good preschool literacy activity.
9. Act out the stories-have your kids act out one of their favorite stories. You can do this with your child alone or have multiple kids do it together. I can’t tell you how cute it is to see them act like the big, bad wolf, Peter Rabbit, or Cinderella. This is a fun reading comprehension activity to help you know if they are understanding the stories you read.
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.
Get your FREE KINDERGARTEN SCHOOL READINESS CHECKLIST PDF and help your kids be prepared for school!
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. This is a fun reading activity for 4th grade. Really any grade…
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.
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 video) 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 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. These a fun reading activities for kindergarten.
Get your FREE BIBLE WORDS GAMES and practice the alphabet at the same time. These two games will help your child to understand God’s character and know they are loved by God.
24. Experience what you read. If you are going to see airplanes on vacation then check out books about airplanes. If you are going to the zoo, pick out books about the animals you will see at the zoo. If you read Blueberries For Sal, go pick blueberries.
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 laughed hysterically. In fact, we still laugh about it today.
26. Purchase 3-D books- find books that have things that pop out, eyes roll, scratch and sniff, furry patches, etc. The more senses involved, the better chance for your kids to learn the concepts.
27. Purchase clay- some kids are wiggly and don’t like to sit still and listen. Let them play with clay while they listen to the story. He or she can form something from the story like a worm, apple, or whatever you are talking about.
28. Theme week– have a theme week in conjunction with the holidays, weather, shark week, PJs, birthday, vacation, other cultures, etc.
You can even plan meals, movies, and casual conversation around your theme.
29. Scavenger hunt- have a scavenger hunt that focuses on some of the themes in the book. If you are talking about nature you would collect leaves, acorns, grass, and sticks as part of the items needed in the hunt.
30. Create a game– make a game out of the story you read. Hide a golden ticket if you read Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “I Spy” for a detective/mystery book, or yarn words if you read Charlotte’s Web.
31. Make treats– Pick food-themed books and make whatever it is talking about. Example: If you are reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie then make cookies. Fun reading activities can also include food!
32. Make a craft- after you read the book, find a complimentary craft. You can cut, glue, paint, or whatever to create something from the book. Pinterest is a great resource for kid’s crafts.
33. Chalk- read your story outside and let your kids illustrate it on the sidewalk.
34. Family stories- kids love to hear about when they were little(r), or when you were young. This is a great way to pass down family values in a casual way. Fun reading activities are not hard when you get creative.
35. Story rotation– start a story and have your child tell the next part. Go back and forth telling parts of it. This usually ends up being very funny by the end.
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How Can I Make Reading Fun: 5 Tips to Ensure Success
When you are creating fun reading activities for your kids, you need to be excited about the activity too. This isn’t supposed to be painful. You want to create something that is worth your kid’s time to sit, listen, and learn. Here are some tips you can do to make sure you succeed:
- Have a happy voice-kids are smart. If your voice is monotone and you are trying to cram in a book before bedtime, they will know it. Make your voice sound excited when you read the words. Smile! Have fun!
- Take your time-plan ahead to make sure you have enough time to read before nap and bedtime. You don’t want to do fun reading activities when you or your kids are tired. They will be less likely to be engaged.
- Read over or skim the book before you get it. I found many books were not appropriate for my kids. They had things in there I was not ready to discuss at their young age. Protect their innocence.
- Don’t quit-your kids may not be excited at first. Keep working at it. Try different things to see what works. Don’t give up. Reading needs to be a lifelong skill that starts when your children are young.
- Empower your kids-get your kids to pick out books, give them a choice between two fun reading activities, let them pick out which book to read at bedtime, or let them choose a book to give another child. All these things give them ownership. If they have the idea, they are more likely to be engaged.
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? Comment below!
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