When children are small, reading can be made so much fun for them that this alone can insure they become readers for life. It isn’t hard to make reading a fun activity for young children, because at these ages they are eager to learn and to experience new things.
Reading can become a contest, a game, a lesson, or a starting point for an artistic or creative activity. Don’t look at reading a book as the totality of the experience. Expand it and find ways to make it a week-long activity, rather than a half-hour one.
When reading for pleasure instead of for a school class, a child can be shown new ways to learn while having fun. As long as reading can be entertaining, a child will develop a great reading foundation and love for books. As they mature, the event will be replaced by more learning and less activity created for fun. But the love of reading will continue since it already has been established.
Read in costume:
What fun it would be to create an atmosphere where reading books in costume helps develop an understanding of the person or place we are reading about. For example, when reading about the west, why not dress up as cowboys and cowgirls? Understanding what the real purpose of those hats and bandanas were might bring some life to the story. Dressing up as a princess will add a fun element to the book the Princess and the Pea. Kids love pretend and dress-up, and costumes is a large part of that game.
Make a craft project:
While reading about Native Americans, a child could make a headdress of feathers, a bow and arrow, or a Native American drum. While wearing gloves they could design an igloo with ice cubes for an Eskimo story or a log cabin while reading about Abe Lincoln, pioneers or Daniel Boone. Help them make an oriental fan while reading about the Chinese people.
Help them to become an artist:
Ask your children to recreate a picture in the book using paints, markers or crayons on plain or construction paper. Color pictures in a coloring book to go with your topic, such as one featuring birds for a bird book. You might use a coloring book about a character from TV, the movies or cartoons when you read the book from that character’s series or movie.
Look for puzzles about your subject:
After reading books on this great country, you may find puzzles which, when put together, depict a landmark or famous sightseeing location. There are puzzles about fire trucks which might go with a book you find on fire safety or firehouse dogs. Maybe a puzzle depicting Victorian dolls from the time of Little Women would help them feel the time and see the era better.
Kids love contests no matter how tiny or silly the prize. The prize could be a piece of candy, a treat, another story, or an extra half hour staying up. The contest could be to find and count certain words or items in the illustrations. The contest might be who can answer the most questions correctly about the story after reading the book.
After reading the book, have your children spend the next few days writing a play based on that book. The storyline can be exactly the same or they can do their own adaptation of the book. They can actually write or type the play out with scene instructions and dialogue. They can even prepare sets, costumes and props. Your children can rehearse it and at the end of a given time, they could present it to family or friends.
These are just a few ways that you can make reading more exciting for kids. They will have fun and learn a great deal at the same time.