Make Reading Fun for Your Kids!

“Listen to this, Granny!”, Kayla, my nine-year-old granddaughter, would exclaim before diving into reading, aloud, a section of her very own subscription magazine to me. She usually read the stories silently, then read them again so I could share her excitement with such wonderful stories. For two years, that “Listen to this, Granny” was a common refrain from the back seat as I drove us thirty miles to school where Kayla was a student and I was a school psychologist. The trip home was just as eventful as the morning ride.

Magazine subscriptions can motivate kids and make reading fun. When they get their own magazines through the mail, kids feel special and may be more eager to read their own special journal.

Reading is an important lifelong skill for your child.

Reading helps to develop academic and professional success in the future… But a child who is forced to read when (s)he’d rather play outside isn’t going to thank you for his or her future success!  Thinking out of the box and finding fun ways to implement reading in their daily schedule can make a huge difference. Here are a few more suggestions on how to make reading fun.

For very young children, read to them multiple times a day.

Let them pick out which books they want to read, then get into the story – use fun voices, add your own sound effects, grab something nearby as a prop… mix it up and be silly!  (If you are bored when you’re reading to them, imagine how bored they probably are!)

Take time to make reading fun every day

Do this yourself to set the example and ask them if they’d like to read with you. Even if they don’t, they’ll see you enjoying reading and making it a priority. You are the biggest role model in your child’s life, and (like it or not) they can’t help but be affected by your approach and attitude toward reading.

Young children can feel anxious about reading aloud. 

A great way to get them more comfortable with reading is to have them read to their stuffed animals or to a pet.  Consider the fact that they will most likely, at some point, have to read aloud in school. This read-aloud practice helps ease children into storytelling in a judgment-free zone. When your child is comfortable with reading to their pet or animals, start reading with them. Read a paragraph, then ask them to read the next paragraph. Let them pick the book and set the pace. And be sure to give them praise and positive feedback. If they are too young to actually read, you can make reading fun by asking them to tell you the story if it is a familiar tale, instead of reading it.

Start reading from a children’s series at nighttime.

Find a long adventure story, or something else that appeals to your child, and read it every night. Stop at a cliff-hanger whenever possible. Engage your children. Ask them what they think will happen, or what they would do in the situation. They’ll learn to look forward to your nightly readings and you’ll both enjoy a stronger connection. 

Don’t put all the books away. 

Keep some books out and within easy reach and swap them out for others every now and then.  Buy fun books with silly facts, animal books with beautiful pictures, joke books, kids’ magazines… they’ll pick them up without you having to ask!

For older children, make reading fun by letting them stay up an extra half hour or hour to read – but only to read.  

Keep their bedtime the same every night but allow a little extra time if they want to read in bed. Reading at bedtime has the added benefit of giving them time to relax and unwind. And may actually help them fall asleep.

Encouraging your child to read can be harder for some than others, admittedly. But keep it light and fun. And offer multiple genres and types of reading materials. You might just be surprised at how much they love reading when it’s their idea, not yours!