Kids LOVE being read to! We (the parents) like reading to them. Sometimes I’m all for sitting down and reading a whole basket of books with my 2 1/2 year old. We snuggle up, and I get to see her excitement listening to the stories. Other days, though, I’m tired or just don’t want to read the same book for the 5th time in a row.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying “Yes, I would love to read with you later, but right now I need some time to do XYZ” and then letting your child look at books on their own. It is, however, important to follow through later on and read with your kids daily. By following a few of my tips below, you’ll be making reading to your kids fun in no time!
Do you ever feel like saying “…not againnn” after your child brings you a book to read for the millionth time?
It’s Saturday morning and the family has been awake for a couple hours. Everyone has had breakfast and cleaned up. Your kids are playing, so you sit down on the couch to
relax supervise, and here comes your little munchkin ready to hand you a book to read. The same book you read before you made breakfast this morning, after brushing teeth and getting into PJs last night, and every.single.time. she’s asked you to read to her for the past week.
As adults, this can feel boring and monotonous. It can drive you crazy! For kids, listening to the same book over and over offers many benefits including: strengthening comprehension, building vocabulary, and understanding story elements. (AND in the future when they learn to read, repeated reading helps develop fluency) I’ve written the guide below to help you navigate the scenario above with ease.
Top 8 Tips for making reading to your kids fun!
OK, so how do we make reading with our kids fun? A lot of the tips below serve double-duty. They’re helpful for making reading with your kids enjoyable in general and also when you’re reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 12th time. 🙂
Here we go.
- Tip 1: Make a cozy reading nook
Having a comfy spot to read with your kids will have your whole family wanting more storytime! You can keep it simple or go all out. It can be anywhere in the house, but I like to have it in the kids’ rooms so they are also likely to look at books and read on their own throughout the day or during quiet time. Here’s a list of some items you might want to use to create a cozy reading nook for children:
Soft Rug: A shag rug can help define the reading nook area and adds a soft place to sit in a room with hardwoods or dimension to an already carpeted room. Choose a neutral color to create a calm atmosphere. (Children’s book covers are often brightly colored and will add lots of interest to the area. You can also bring in color with other items on this list.)
Pillows: Here is an area that you can get creative with and add some personal style! Choose pillows that add character to the space. Have your kids help you pick out a few they like. The more you all enjoy the atmosphere, the more likely you are to read together everyday!
Book Shelf: The MOST important part of the reading nook–the bookshelf! I like the style that has the books front-facing for younger kids.
Fairy Lights: Lights like these will add a cozy glow to your reading spot.
Wall Art: You can use reading themed prints or other pictures that make the reading nook a place you and your kids want to spend time!
Tip 2: Share some of your childhood favorites
When you think of reading as a kid, which books come to mind? For me, it’s Strega Nona, Thundercake, and Little Ducks Moving Day. Share these books with your children. They’ll love hearing your favorite stories, and you will hopefully be reminded of some great memories and happy times!
Tip 3: Use all the voices
Sure, using a low, slooowwww voice when reading a story from a whale’s point of view can feel REALLY silly. Do it anyway! It draws you in, brings the book to life, and helps kids keep track of characters.
Tip 4: Make props to retell the story together
Is this the 50th time your child wants to read Goldilocks this week? Try retelling instead of reading it again. Retelling is an important literacy skill and Kindergarten students are expected to be able to do this with some support. You can get a head start by retelling favorite stories at home. Some things you’ll want to include when retelling stories are: characters, setting, events. You don’t need to make it feel like a lesson at school. Have fun with your child trying to retell the story from memory. Use transition words like first, next, then, last. If you want, you can use a felt board, store bought or DIY like this one from Buggy and Buddy, to make it hands-on and engaging. I’ve also seen people use paper cut-outs on popsicle sticks. Whatever works for you!
Tip 5: Listen to audio books
Listening to audio books is another great way for children to hear stories. On nights that you are running behind, trying to make dinner after a long day, listening to a story on CD or online is so helpful! Here are some of my favorite sites for listening to stories online:
- Storyline Online
- Story Nory (The Fairy Tales Small Stories section is great for younger kids)
- Mrs. P’s Magic Library
- Just Books Read Aloud
Tip 6: Talk about the story or information
You can use reading time to connect with your kids. Reading is more than just reading the words on the page. Talking about the books you read together with your kids helps develop their comprehension skills. Which parts were their favorite? How did the story make them feel? What did they learn from an informational book? Do they want to find other books about the same topic to learn more? You’ll be amazed at the connections and curiosity!
Tip 7: Have a basket dedicated to weekly library books
Changing up the books you read can keep things fresh and interesting. We love going to the library each week. First we go to storytime. Then we look through the bookshelves and fill our library bag with new stories, and old favorites, to take home for the week. I try to keep track of books that my kids particularly enjoyed and do a quick search before library day for books by the same author or books about the same topic. Suggesting books in this way can teach your kids that they can read stories similar to ones they already love and that they can find more information on a particular topic.
Tip 8: Sign up for Imagination Library
Easy, free, and fun! The Imagination Library is an awesome program created by Dolly Parton. Check availability for your area. Once approved and registered, your child will receive one book per month in the mail, for FREE! It’s always exciting to see which new story we will get, and even more fun that it comes in the mail addressed to your child.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Making Reading with Your Kids Fun.
Reading to your kids everyday is important–a must do. It’s totally understandable that parents don’t always have the energy or want to read the same book for the millionth time. Using the tips above can help you renew your energy and find ways to keep reading with your kids enjoyable!
Do you know another parent who could use these tips? Please share this post with them!