Let’s Make Reading Come Alive!
1. Choose the Right Books to read.
Choosing the right book for reading with or to your child is the first step in making reading fun. Trying to read Pride and Prejudice to your child when she is more interested in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a sure way to dampen the spirits of any budding reader! Helping your child choose books that are appropriate for her reading level and not too challenging will take the frustration out of reading. Use the 5 Finger Rule and I-PICK reading strategies for help in choosing books that are appropriate for your child.
2. Let them choose their own books.
There are so many good books we want to introduce our kids to, but sometimes let him be in charge and choose the books he wants to read. What better way to invoke independence and a love of books than by letting your little one express himself through his book choices!
3. Read Aloud to your little (and BIG) ones.
Don’t let your TV, radio, and tablet be the only things your kiddos are listening to. Pull up your lap and have your little one climb on and snuggle up for a good old fashioned read aloud. Mix it up on them and let them read aloud to you too. Hint, hint, listening to your child read aloud is a good way to be able to follow his progress and help you stay aware of any struggles he may be dealing with.
And don’t forget your big kids! They are never too old for read alouds. Last year my two little love bugs, 10 and 12, set a reading goal that we would do a 10 novel read aloud challenge together. We decided to do a study on the Holocost and included some books on World War II and The Berlin Wall as well. I don’t know who loved the reading time more, me or them. I found that most nights they were begging me to read and when I was about to close the book I would hear, “Just one more chapter! PLEASE!!” Kids are never too old for a read aloud! By the way, we met the challenge!
4. Think outside the book.
Someone once asked me if listening to an audiobook counted as reading and the answer is, YES! Just like listening to a book a parent reads aloud, an audiobook helps build a wide range of reading skills. Here are a few skills being built as your child listens:
• Attention and listening skills
• Building background knowledge
• Introducing literary elements (plot, setting, characters…)
• Introducing literary techniques (imagery, metaphors, irony…)
Don’t forget about other reading options for children (and grown-ups for that matter). Think about magazines or reading books on your iPad or Kindle. Technology seems to have a way of captivating our children. Why not capitalize on that to enhance their reading?
There is nothing like holding a book in your hands as you read, but in today’s world there are so many ways for kids to enjoy reading it would be sad not to take advantage of them.
5. Make a Reading Oasis just for them?
Make a special place just for reading. Make it a cozy and inviting place to be. Think beanbag chairs, pillows, stuffed animals, twinkle lights, colorful throw rugs, overstuffed chair, a pint sized table, maybe even a pop-up tent. And of course don’t forget the oodles and oodles of books.
6. Mix it up!
• Use silly voices
• Read like a monster
• Stay up late just to read
• Act it out
• Partner read and alternate reading sentences, paragraphs, or pages
• Growing out of naps? Put the power in their hands and give them a choice. Let them decide if they want to take a nap or read books. If they choose books they will think they are getting out of something when actually, you are getting your way and getting them to read more!! Win win!
- Read to a grandparent, older or younger sibling, pet, or even a stuffed animal
7. Host an End of the Year Book Exchange
Make reading cool! If everyone else is doing it, it must be cool! Host an end of the year ice-cream & book exchange party with your kid’s friends. You supply the ice-cream and everyone brings their favorite sundae topping and favorite book to swap!
8. Build it and they will come.
Get creative and start building the perfect reading cave, or fort, or castle, or spaceship… You name it. Let your imagination go wild. Use the kitchen table draped with sheets as a reading cave. Build a reading fort using the sofa, chairs, and blankets. The sky is the limit with a reading spaceship built out of the giant cardboard box from your new dryer. You get the idea.
9. Take it on the road.
Most adults don’t consider environmental print actual reading, but think again especially when it comes to helping your young children learn about the written word. Environmental print is all around us; street signs, candy wrappers, cereal boxes, shopping signs. It’s a great way to practice the beginning stages of literacy development with your emerging reader. Think about all that a child can learn from signs; colors, letters, numbers, and shapes all pop to mind. The more you have your child interact with the written language, the larger their data base of background knowledge will grow of beginning reading skills; letter recognition, sounds, shapes.
10. Buddy Up.
Elicit some help from your friends with older kids. Let the big kids set the stage for reading and have them share some reading time with your little reader. When older kids read to their younger counterparts, they gain confidence while building their reading skills. And the little ones of course have a reading role model to look up to and emulate.
11. Play a Guessing Game.
Before opening to the first page of a new book, why not build the excitement by playing a guessing game? Make predictions of what you and your child think the book will be about. As you read see if your predictions are coming true. Comment about it throughout the book and make new predictions as the book goes on. This is an important reading skill and helps tremendously with comprehension.
12. Sneaky Reading!
Did you ever see those little finger flashlights? My kids loved them when they were little. I think they still do! Especially on nights that I let them stay up late to read. I would find them hiding under their blankets with their lit-up fingers reading their favorite books.
13. Let’s get writing.
Did you know that reading and writing are closely related skills? So why not help make that connection and write a story together. Write a new story about their favorite character. Rewrite the ending to her favorite fairy tale. Write a real story. If they are too little to do the writing, let them dictate and you can do the writing and then let them illustrate. Then read your stories with the family!
14. Bring the story to life.
Don’t just read the story to them, let them be part of the it. It could be as simple as repeating the repetitive text in a story like in “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Eric Carle to acting out the story or making a craft. One of my favorite memories is when my Kindergarten reading groups got to act out Jan Brett’s “The Mitten”. I cut out a giant white mitten (yes big enough for 8 children to crawl onto), passed out the animal face masks, and as the child’s character was read about, they got to crawl onto the mitten! Oh the giggles and shrieks. They LOVED it and of course wanted to hear and act the story out again!
Do you have any ideas to add to our list of Ways to Make Reading Fun? I can’t wait to hear some new ideas!