HowTo Make Reading More Fun For Your Child
There are some kids who looove to read, and some kids who just. don't. If you are a parent of the latter, don't lose hope! There are ways to make reading more fun so that you can get those book-lovin juices stirred up, and then you can watch your child in time grow into a lifelong reader.
Enjoy these tips on how to make reading fun by our guest writer, Ryan Howard. Ryan runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
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"As a parent, it’s natural to want your child to learn to read, and to do so at a high level. But, if you push them too hard, you might risk causing a rebellion, or at the very least making them think of reading as a chore than an enjoyable way to pass the time.
A better strategy is to try to make reading fun. By taking this approach, your child will end up wanting to put their energy into reading. Before you know it, they’ll be reading better than you.
Start Early, And Read Often
One of the best ways to make reading fun is to start early. If you’re reading to a baby or a toddler, you can do all sorts of things to enhance the experience. After all, you’re the one doing all of the actual reading at this stage.
You might make funny voices while you read, and point to different pictures as you turn the pages. For that matter, you can get a toddler in on the act by letting them hold the book and turn the pages themselves.
Get Them Involved, But Don’t Make Them Struggle
As your child gets a little older, you can start pointing to different letters and asking them to tell you what the letter is. I did this a lot with my son shortly after he learned the alphabet.
One thing that I found particularly effective was to ask him to identify just a few letters here and there. I discovered this approach through trial and error.
When my son first learned to recognize letters, I would ask him to read each one in the title on the cover of the book, and maybe the first word of every page. This proved to be a bit too taxing for the little guy though. He didn’t seem to enjoy exerting so much effort, and preferred for me to simply read each page.
So, after a little experimentation I toned things down a bit and just asked him about one letter every two or three pages. This was the perfect amount of participation for him at that time. It helped him learn but kept things light and fun.
Over time, I started asking him to identify more and more letters, and before long he was reading all of the letters in most words. Things naturally progressed from there as he learned to sound out words and pronounce them.
A Time For Everything
From a relatively early age, my son liked reading. He liked it, but he didn’t love it. GIven the choice between coloring, riding his bike, and reading a book, reading would come in third place every time.
So, I decided to stop offering a choice between reading and playing. Instead, each night after dinner, I would say “Ok, it’s time to go upstairs to brush your teeth... Unless of course you want to read a little.”
Now, with excitement in his voice, my son would opt for reading every time. And so a routine began.
Let Them Choose The Book
Sometimes your child might have to read a book for school, and there may be little choice involved. Other times though, you can let them make the choice.
Now, I’m not exactly suggesting that you just turn them loose in the library and let them pick anything they want. Instead, you might do a little research to find a few well reviewed books on a few different topics, and then let them make the final selection. If they’re interested in animals, find a book about cats or dogs. If they love outer space, pick one starring an astronaut. You get the idea.
Or, Read Something Other Than Books
When most people think about reading, they think about books. But, there are all sorts of things to read out there. If you want to make things more fun, you might try reading a play where your child reads one part and you read another.
Or, you might go online and find a bunch of jokes to read. Let your child read the set up out loud, and then you can deliver the punch line.
If you can help your child learn to enjoy reading, they will be way ahead of the game later in life. Those middle school book reports will become a breeze. Reading is also a vehicle for learning. So, kids who love to read often become kids who love to learn."
Remember to head over to Ryan's website at smartparentadvice.com to read more. These are great, actionable steps you can take to encourage your child to become a great reader!
A few more notes and ideas from mythreereaders.com on how to make reading fun for your child:
How to make reading fun for students in the classroom:
If you are a teacher in the classroom (and I'm talking any age at all!), you may have struggling readers in your class. Even though kids in school do at some point need to just sit down and do "the work", it is well worth your time to try to find ideas on how to make reading fun for students in your class.
It will depend on the age of your kids. If you have younger children, make the building blocks of reading (phonics, sight words, etc.) into games for fun. But for any age, here are fifteen ideas that can work. (And by the way, these can be used at home in the evenings or during homeschool, too!)
15 Ideas on How to Make Reading Fun for Students
- Read aloud to your kids. EVERYONE (adults included) love to be read aloud to. Just do it! And daily if possible.
- Let your kids eat a snack during read aloud time.
- Have the children act out the story, or incorporate a reader's theater.
- Invite an author into the classroom.
- Create a field trip centered around the theme of a story you are reading.
- Foster a "book club culture", where children are asking questions and giving opinions.
- Make reading a social experience for the students. (More details on that idea below)
- Let your kids illustrate a story.
- Get kids to expand on an existing story with their own. (Fanfiction, anyone?)
- Let your kids read to a younger group, one on one. (Book buddies)
- Audiobooks. Have them on during indoor recess, or times when the kids can sit still and enjoy.
- Get parents involved! Focus on read aloud in the home, and not just student reading every night.
- Compile a class book. Have each child write a chapter of your own story.
- Set the atmosphere. Let kids read under their desk, in the corner, or wherever they want to plant. Maybe even consider a pajama reading day with hot chocolate and popcorn while reading.
- When reading aloud, always make sure to leave a cliff-hanger so that everyone is EXCITED to hear what happens tomorrow!
Games to make reading fun
These ideas are mostly for the young ones, but GAMES are the key to a kid's heart! Why not incorporate it into our reading instruction?
Of course, when your child is a beginning reader or struggling reader, you'll want to find ways to include phonics, sight words, and vocabulary into games to make learning to read joyful and fun.
And - if you are a teacher of older kids, consider:
How to make reading fun for high schoolers
Kids in high school who struggle in reading have probably become adept at hiding it. So knowing how to make reading fun for high schoolers and kids of an older age who struggle just makes you that higher caliber of a teacher!
We all know that lots of kids these days just aren't into reading as much as they used to be. Digital space rules the day. But we want our kids to become lifelong readers! So it's a challenge accepted.
To make reading fun for high schoolers, and older kids, you simply have to get them engaged. Get them out of their seats, up and moving, talking, discussing, debating. Come up with activities that force the kids to think about what they just read and deliver an informed opinion.
You can be as dramatic, spontaneous, or planned as you want, but you need to find ways other than just pen and paper to get kids of today to relate to what they are reading in class. Asking leading questions and hearing what they think about the text is a great way to start.
What makes reading a chore
In order to make reading more fun, it might benefit to take a look at what actually makes reading such a chore for kids. You might consider these things if your child feels like it's a chore:
What makes reading a chore? Here are 7 possibilities:
- Your child has a reading struggle that has never been addressed.
- A possible vision impairment has not been diagnosed.
- Your child is reading boring books. (Help them pick out the good stuff! Books that HE is interested in. Books with a great storyline and rich characters. Books with a great plot.)
- You never read aloud to your child.
- You force your child to read only to get books on a book log for school.
- You never enforce a "screen-free" time and let your kid get bored.
- It's just a muscle that has atrophied. The more you read, the more you enjoy it!
Since our kids are social creatures, making reading into a social experience is a smart way to pull in a love of reading and books. Listed as one of the ways above, I wanted to expand on that and get us thinking about social ways to get kids to read.
To help make our social teens engage in reading, you might want to focus on the activities listed above that include group dynamics, such as hosting or facilitating a book club, having groups of kids "act out" parts of a story, including group reading games in your study, or even heading to the library with partners.
Hopefully some of these ideas will stir up your student's love for reading and make it more fun. If you have additional ideas, be sure to include them in the comments below!
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