By Elisabeth Schmitt
Whether you are a parent or professional educator, the odds are that you have wondered how you can make reading more interesting to the children in your life. In a world filled with endless entertainment, how can you make something like reading more fun?
Ever since I was a child, I have loved reading. I loved experiencing each protagonist’s adventures in new and exciting worlds. As much as I loved reading, though, I also loved interacting with the stories in my own special way.
One way to get children involved in and excited about reading is by doing fun reading activities with them. Most children are naturally curious and hands-on learners. With that being said, a reading-centered activity is sure to satisfy this curiosity and give your child a different way to interact with the stories that they read.
Here are 5 fun reading activities kids are sure to enjoy!
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1.Make a Book of Your Own
When I was a child, I would always finish reading a book and wonder: How can I make a book of my own? A simple activity like this one will show your child how.
After reading a book or story with them, discuss it with your child. Ask them open-ended questions about what they thought about the story. This will encourage them to become engaged with the story after it has already been read. Just because you’ve finished reading, it doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!
Fold a plain piece of construction paper or notebook paper using an accordion-folding method and create something resembling a small book. The internet is filled with more detailed instructions on how to do this. Then, have your child design the cover with the title of a book they have recently read.
Your child can then design each page with drawings and sentences depicting the events of the story they have just read. This gives them a way to retell a story in their own words, which will prove to be a valuable skill in the future. While they are drawing pictures of the book’s characters, they will be using their imagination to show what they believe the characters look like. This is a perfect exercise to emphasize reading comprehension while also stimulating your child’s imagination!
Once the tiny book is complete, have them present it to you. They can read their version of the story aloud to you and explain each decision they made throughout the process. This is the most rewarding part of the project, and your little student will undoubtedly be so proud to show you what they’ve done!
2.Take a Field Trip
One of the best experiences is seeing something you’ve imagined come to life! Luckily, there are many ways you can allow your child to experience this wondrous feeling.
First, research places in your area where you and your child can go and see something exciting. These can be museums, aquariums, zoos, or even your local park!
Next, find a book or short story revolving around one of those places. This could be a book about anything, for example, a book about dinosaurs.
Then, read that book with your child. Watch their excitement and curiosity grow as they learn about prehistoric creatures that lived long ago. Talk to them about what they may have looked like, sounded like, or smelled like. Allow their imaginations to run wild!
Finally, the truly magical part can begin. Using the example of dinosaurs, take your child to a nearby natural history museum. Show them the fossils and dinosaur displays and help them compare them to the ones you’ve read about. They will see real-world depictions of the creatures they read about. It will be like the book came to life!
3.Create a Dress-Up Book Report
This activity is my favorite!
Have your child choose a book to read with a strong character as its protagonist. Once they are finished reading the book, help them search for items to create the perfect costume!
When your child is dressed up as the character, they will naturally embody them. Have them present a book report on the book while they are dressed up as its main character! This is a great practice of improvisation, acting, and presentation skills!
In the making of this book report, your child can choose to come up with a script, use a visual aide, use props– anything! They will love having the freedom to present the story in any way that they want to. They will also have fun getting to play pretend as one of their favorite characters!
4.Jumbled Story Time
This activity is as fun to create as it is to do!
We all remember the game Mad-Libs, well this is a new take on that. This activity allows you and your child to come up with unique stories. They can use characters and actions from stories they have read or come up with their own.
You will need three separate bowls. The first one will be labeled “Character”, the second will be labeled “Setting” and the third will be labeled “Action”. These three bowls represent different parts of a story.
Next, you and your child will come up with random bits to put into each bowl. After writing them down on small pieces of paper, you will then sort them into their proper bowls.
Once that part is done, you can continue on with the next part of the activity. You or your child can pull one random piece of paper out of each of the bowls. When you put them together, they will create the beginning of a wacky and fun new story! You and your child can then come up with the ending to the crazy story you have created.
This method of making up stories can lead to some exciting and hilarious outcomes. For example, your child could end up imagining a story using the lines, “Henry the Octopus, who lives on a farm, loves to eat mac and cheese!” Depending on how crazy the individual phrases can get, the possibilities with this activity really are endless!
5.Read a book together
This activity, while it may seem like an obvious one, is the simplest way to get your child engaged with reading.
Of all of the fun reading activities out there, reading a book with your child is the easiest and most effective. By modeling a love of reading yourself, you show your child that being engaged in something like reading is fun and exciting and something that they can do for their whole lives. Children naturally love to do what the grown-ups do, and reading should be no exception.
Reading a book with your child, whether it be a short fairy tale or an entire novel, can really help them to become more engaged with the action of reading as well as enjoying the stories themselves.
When you read a book with your child, you can see how they interact with the stories, asking them questions or answering their questions throughout. This is a perfect learning experience for them. It allows them to interact both with the story and the person they are reading it with, and it will undoubtedly show them just how fun reading can be.
In discovering new ways to keep your child engaged in reading, you will find that the methods are endless. These are just a few of the many fun reading activities you and your child can engage in to show them the joy that can be found in reading!