I know, sounds impossible, right?
Reading is already So Much Fun, how could we make it funner?!
Well, not everyone agrees with that. In fact, my beautiful husband would disagree entirely. So might some of your littles. So how do we engage them, make them want to follow through on those 24, 240, or 863 pages of Awesome Fiction? Well, I have some ideas.
Make Reading Fun
Creating activities to go along with reading is a great way to engage your kids in a book outside their own heads. And that can lead to appreciating the more solitary act of reading alone. And kids who appreciate reading grow up to be adults who love to read. And people who read can’t help but learn things as they go. Win!
Because you want your kids to retain their insatiable curiosity, right?
Dress up as characters from the book you’re reading
This one might seem a little hard if you’re reading Watership Down, but c’mon, Mama, a couple of rabbit ears and a cotton ball tail are plenty to make your little feel like a rabbit. Likewise, if you’re reading Little House a dress and bonnet or a pair of boots and suspenders will suffice. Get creative. Look it up on Pinterest. Google it. Your kiddos will truly find themselves more engaged if a little play-acting is involved. And then you can implement the next tip with gusto.
Choose a character and read his or her spoken lines
Say you’re reading Peter Pan and you have 3 littles. You assign your oldest little the role of Peter, the middle little the role of Wendy, and the youngest the role of Captain Hook. Then whenever one of those characters speaks, the assigned child reads the line. Kind of like a play, but with prose. Dare your kids to make their voices like they imagine the character’s voice would be. You have no idea how much More Fun kids can find this than just reading aloud in the normal fashion. In fact, my boys would tell you it is the Best Way to read a book together.
Include a craft
And no, I don’t mean just doing a craft at the end of the chapter, though that rocks, too. Make the craft While You Read The Chapter. You’re reading A Year Down Yonder and Grandma Dowdel is stealing pumpkins from the Pensingers? Mama can read while the littles make paper Jack-o-lanterns. Or let the littles take their regular turns reading as they craft. It might take a little longer to finish the chapter. Who cares? This is fun.
Make a recipe related to the book
Using the same chapter as an example, scoop out the innards of a pumpkin and roast the seeds. Mm hmm, you even get a reward at the end of this chapter, so that kind of rocks. The boys and I read while we’re cooking all the time. I tell you, it can be done, and it is certainly fun, and (well, I’m going to stop rhyming now), it truly does help them stay engaged.
Middle pointed out to me that his favorite thing about our read-aloud time is when we come across a political or social issue in our book. Because we don’t just keep reading; we stop and talk about the issue. Sometimes for a minute or two, sometimes for half an hour with props. We get pretty into our politics and philosophy in this house. It took us a really long time to read Johnny Tremain (as you can probably imagine), and Watership Down was almost as bad. The Grapes of Wrath is now proving to be another one that is going to spur major rabbit trails. (And they’re so cool, as soon as they heard Tom Joad’s name, they started singing The Ghost of Tom Joad. And admitted they don’t have a preference between the Springsteen and the Rage versions. Because these kids Rock.)
The point is, if an interesting issue comes up, don’t ignore it. Your littles will appreciate a fuller explanation and the chance to offer their opinions.
Do one, some, or all of these things to get your littles engaged in reading. When I create a novel study for our read-alouds, I offer these ideas and more.
And we Always enjoy reading together. You and your kiddos will, too. So have fun.