15 Ways to Make Reading FunAmber Brandt
Reading provides countless benefits including increased vocabulary, stronger analytical thinking skills, improved focus and stress reduction. But for some, it can also be a source of frustration. Here is a list of 15 ways you can help eliminate obstacles for your child and make reading fun!
- Celebrate their interests. Is your child going through a big dinosaur phase? Or really into fairies? Encourage those passions or preferences. Bring home a stack of books from the library on the topics they care about. Playing to their interests will help to draw them in.
- Think outside the box (or maybe on it!). Reading doesn’t have to happen just between the pages of a book. Let your child read on an iPad or Kindle, listen to an audio book, pick up magazines, comic books or even the cereal box!
- Create a special reading space. Who wouldn’t love a cozy little reading nook? Add pillows, floor cushions, a cute lamp or create a fort in the corner of your child’s room, a place that’s just for reading.
- Give them some ownership. Let your child pick out books he or she would like to read. Simply set parameters that you’re comfortable with.
- Connect books to real life. Have you recently visited a museum, musical or zoo? Reinforce your child’s learning with a book about it!
- Bring the story to life. Reading a book your child knows by heart? What about changing up the voices you use or acting the story out together instead?
- Provide variety. Expose your children to a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction.
- Practice sight words. Bolster your child’s vocabulary by posting sight words around your house. Review them together each day and rotate new ones in every few weeks.
- Use the five finger test. Reading can become exceptionally frustrating if a child doesn’t experience small victories. Using the five finger test to determine if they’re reading books at their appropriate reading level can help. Have your child open the book to any page and begin reading. Anytime they come to a word they don’t know, have them hold up a finger and continue reading. If they come to the end of the page and have 0-5 fingers in the air, it’s an appropriate challenge. If they’re beyond five, it’s too hard and needs to be saved for later.
- Set a good example. Reading in front of your children or sharing conversation around something you learned or read can have a positive impact on their relationship to reading.
- Follow along with your finger. When reading aloud to your child, begin pointing out the words as you read. This will help your child follow along and can help them begin to learn to read for themselves.
- Talk about the people behind the book. It’s easy to skip right to the title page when sharing a book with your child, but take an extra beat to read the title and names of the author and illustrator aloud as well. Children often find it fascinating that someone actually wrote the story and drew those pictures! This can also pave the way for later discussions on literary devices, themes, genres and plots.
- Give books a good wrap. Giving books as a gift communicates their value to your child, they can be just as fun as a toy! Avoid associating reading with punishment at all cost.
- Be your child’s advocate. If you recognize signs that your child has difficulty reading, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The sooner you can have them tested or connected to a tutor the better. It’s nothing to feel shame about. Talk to your child’s teacher and find out how you can help.
- Read together every day. Children find security in routine and will appreciate the time with your undivided attention, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Choosing a chapter book or series to read aloud to your child can make this especially fun, as you’ll both begin to feel curious about what your character will do today.