There is no doubt that reading for pleasure is a great way to improve children’s reading skills. Therefore, it is essential that parents know how to encourage reading by making it fun from an early age, especially for little ones who are a bit reluctant or who have difficulties learning how to read.
Having fun is the best way to encourage reading
A study carried out in the United States showed that the early onset of reading is decisive in the child’s relationship with books and texts for the rest of their life.
Read for pleasure, read because you’re interested, read different genres, and search various sources to learn about a subject. These types of reading are fundamental in childhood; they assist you to develop vocabulary, build knowledge, and acquire fluency to understand complex texts in the future.
It’s already proven that fun makes all the difference in learning! That’s because dopamine, the happiness hormone, stimulates the brain’s memory centers and improves attention span. In other words, the child is much more likely to understand and remember what they learned while having fun and playing.
When parents and teachers use strategies to encourage fun and reduce the stress of reading-related activities, children gain emotional resilience and learn more efficiently, developing higher levels of cognition.
How to make reading fun for kids
In addition to helping the child learn and have better development, promoting fun moments while reading improves the family bonds between the little one and those who read with them, giving the opportunity to experience magical moments that will remain in their memory forever!
To get the most out of books and encourage reading, take a look at the below 10 tips. You’ll have super special experiences together as a family!
1. Create a reading corner
Having a special place in the house to enjoy reading helps your child disconnect from other activities and really dive into books. Try to create a “reading area” that’s fun! Spread cushions on the floor, place stuffed animals nearby, build a tent with sheets and chairs, or add some Christmas lights to decorate.
It’s also cool to invent a magical name for this place together with your little one: Tent of Imagination, Ninja Readers Hideout, or The Reading Cave. You will live unforgettable moments there.
2. Explore the book from start to finish
Before you start reading, try to talk about the book cover first to get the conversation going. Ask the child what they think the story is about, what they imagine will happen. For older children, make this a challenge! They’ll like it if they get it right, and be surprised if the story is very different from what they imagined.
3. Bring characters to life
Nothing amuses the little ones as much as role-playing and having unexpected reactions. Let your performing arts skills emerge by creating different voices for each character, without fear of exaggeration. This helps to encourage reading by never letting it grow boring!
4. Divide the roles
If the child already knows how to read, let them choose a character to play. Children love to imagine that they are other people, and they will feel part of the story for real.
If the child still doesn’t know how to read, ask them to repeat the lines of that character the way they imagine it. Involving young people from an early age and choosing books suitable for children of every age helps to spark interest in reading.
5. Play with sound effects
You can use plastic cups, aluminum foil, even whistles. Try to give the child control of these different sounds. They will need to pay attention to the story to get the right effects at the right time. This makes them feel like they are in control of the moment, encouraging creativity and imagination.
6. Relive the experiences they saw in the books
Ask the child to choose the moment they liked best in the book and recreate it at home. For example, in the book A Journey Among Dinosaurs, the main character runs through the forest holding a dinosaur egg. Why not do the same? Go to the backyard with a ball and lots of imagination and have the time of your life with your little one.
7. Invite the whole family
Making reading time an experience for the whole family is something very remarkable for children. Try to involve everyone around – dad, mom, grandparents, cousins. Give them roles, set a stage, and act a play together that tells the story of the book. In addition to creating an enjoyable moment, children and adults alike can explore all of their creative bones.
8. Discuss the story
After finishing reading, ask if the child liked it or not. Try to understand the reason and ask them to suggest a solution for what they didn’t like if the answer is no. As well as stimulating the imagination, you will also be instigating problem-solving in a very playful way.
It also works to bring events from the book into daily experience. Ask the child, for example, how their favorite character would solve or react to a particular situation and see how they would do it themselves.
9. Explore the customization
Explore all possibilities of the benefits of having your own personalized books from Playstories. Use the child’s name and custom character printed on the book and ask them to point out where their name is in the text to engage reading.
Personalizing their own book is an excellent tool for building identity and self-esteem. Get the child to describe themselves, asking things like “whose eye is this?” Praise them when they do so.
Read more: 5 benefits of personalized books for children
10. Celebrate diversity
Use books to celebrate diversity. Especially if the book is personalized, make the child describe themselves and then describe other characters. In doing so, they will realize how we are all different, making everyone special in their own way.
Reading is a life-long legacy
Reading to a child is one of the best things we can do for their literacy. Reading is much more valuable than just a way to calm them down at bedtime, but it can also really make a difference in developing socio-emotional skills that will be important throughout life.
Fun reading experiences help children acquire language in different new ways, such as recognizing and creating narratives and even performing better in school.
Reading in childhood turns many children into young and adult readers. And a good reader is a good learner for life!