Sometimes it’s nice to change things up in your child’s reading routine. But what are fun ways to teach reading while staying on course? And how can you teach reading while also inspiring your child to love books?
Here are seven ideas that get you and your child moving, energized, and engaged while taking that next step in their reading journey.
What Are Fun Ways To Teach Reading?
1) Act It Out
One of the easiest ways to bring a little excitement and drama into your child’s reading time is to act out the story you’re reading together.
If your child loves to perform or play pretend with their toys, this might be a fun way to make the stories your reading literally come to life! If you want to try this idea, ask your child what character they would like to play and which one you should play.
This idea is also super customizable. You can keep it simple and perform in your pajamas right in your child’s bedroom. Or, if you choose to make a project out of it, you and your child can work together to pick out costumes.
Maybe they could even draw scenery from the story to tape around your performance area. It’s completely up to you! Choose whatever offers the most fun and functionality for your family.
If the book has multiple characters, you could also ask other grown-ups or kids to join you. Pick a short story to read in a round-robin fashion, and then everyone chooses a character to play.
Adding more readers into the mix can be even more fun and helpful for your child, as they’ll have the chance to join a special community of readers.
But, again, this is completely optional! You and your little one can have just as much fun with only each other goofing around, perhaps using silly voices and exaggerated motions to make the story and characters hop off the page and into your home.
By reading the story aloud and acting it out, your child can visualize the story and bring the characters to life. It will help them engage with the story on a totally new level and get their brain working!
2) Match Up
Those little plastic letter magnets that are probably hanging out on your fridge will come in handy for this one!
If you choose to do this activity, collect things around your house with names that your child may be able to read. Focus on items that are spelled with three or fewer letters — such as a cat stuffed animal, a toy car, a pot, or a baseball bat.
When children have experience with the game or are a bit older, you can increase the number of letters per word up to five or more, depending on their reading level.
Next, gather the plastic letters from the fridge that match the items you’ve chosen. Spell out the name of each item using the letters. You may need to start with one or two items at a time, depending on how many letters you have on hand.
Lay the names of the items out on a flat surface with plenty of space in-between each word so your child notices the distinction. Finally, have your child line up each item underneath the right word.
And when they’re finished, they can make a game out of playing with all the things whose names they read!
3) Rainbow Words
This exercise is great for children who may already have some words in their vocabulary vault but are still exploring how to read independently and need to familiarize themselves with a few more terms.
If your child chooses to try this exercise, ask them to grab a poster board and several different colored markers. For our example, we’ll use all the colors of the rainbow!
Ask your child what they really, really love but aren’t sure how to spell yet. For example, your child might really love certain species of dinosaurs, so you could pick the word “stegosaurus.” Or maybe they really love playing in the mud after a day of rain, so they could pick “puddles.”
Whatever they choose, aim for a word that is just a little bit outside of their current reading vocabulary but is something they want to know!
Once you’ve singled out a word to focus on together, you can help them spell out the word in huge, bubble letters, colored like the rainbow. They can then color in the bubble letters with their coordinating rainbow colors — or get creative with multi-colored designs!
This gives them the chance to exert independence, which can help build their reading confidence. It also gives you some insight into the words they can practice and what subjects you can use to motivate them to learn more words.
It’s a win-win!
4) Make A Book From Your Book
If you’d like to try this exercise, start by grabbing six or so pieces of paper. Write a number (1 – 6) at the bottom of each piece of paper. Then grab a (short) book your child loves and is familiar with.
This activity may take some getting used to, but once your child gets the hang of it, they can try the method with a new book they’ve enjoyed.
Next, work together to create your own version of the book with your child. Suggest that they draw the cover and a part of each scene (with your help if needed, of course!). As you discuss what happened in the book with your child, write down their narration on the remaining pages.
This book will be extra special to them. They already loved it before, and now they will have a version of their own!
This is a fun way to teach reading, as it lets kids get creative and artistic while developing their sense of reading comprehension. Visualizing the parts of a story on paper can help remind them what they just read and allow them to engage more deeply with the story.
You can also encourage your child to use this tactic as they grow older. If they ever need to recall the events of a story, they’ll have learned from you to visualize important moments and assemble them in the right order, “recreating” the book in their head.
5) Checkers With A Twist
For this activity, you’ll need your trusty Checkers game! Before playing, place a word on each square (or some of the squares if your child is younger). Sticky notes are great for this, or you can cut up small pieces of paper and tape them to the board.
Be sure to use words your child can sound out or sight words they’ve been learning. Play as always, but each player must read any word they land on.
This concept also works with Tic-Tac-Toe for younger kids!
6) Play The Imitation Game
Playing the imitation game is a great and fun way to teach reading that doesn’t require any additional materials.
If you want to give this activity a go, when you’re reading with your child, change up your voice and then ask them to imitate you while reading the same sentence you just read.
You can say certain things in a whisper, others in a yell, others in a Donald Duck impression — anything that gets your child giggling and paying attention!
Here are some ways this activity can help your child:
- Hearing what fluent reading sounds like (even in a funny voice) helps them develop their own sense of fluency
- Hearing the pronunciation of words, both new and familiar, helps them integrate the words into their vocabulary the right way
- Since they have to imitate exactly what and how you say words, this forces them to pay extra special attention to your reading
7) Find The Word
For this fun way to teach reading, make a list of six words that are at your child’s reading level — that means three-letter words for younger children and four- or five-letter words (or more) for older kids.
Make sure these are words your child can sound out or are sight words they’re learning so they don’t get discouraged. We want them to have fun with this game!
To play, write each word on a Post-It. While your child has their eyes closed, hide the Post-Its around the room. Your child’s job is to find (and read) all the words. Each time they find one, they get to cross it off the list!
Fun And Effective Reading
Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do as part of your child’s reading journey is to let loose and shake things up. We hope these creative ideas gave you some easy options for new, fun ways to teach reading to your child!
We want to leave you with a reassurance that every child is different, and different teaching methods may work better for some kids than for others. With time, you and your child will work out a balance, routine, and set of techniques that set them up for success.
And in the meantime, if you ever need an extra helping hand, consider signing up for a free trial of the HOMER Learn & Grow app! It’s full of interactive, personalized, and fun learning exercises for your child!