Book Love: How to Make Reading Fun!

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We love to see kids reading! We librarians are thrilled to see a little one leave the library with a stack of books in their hands eager to dive into a good book. But sometimes kids need a little motivation to read. We are loving this list from Brightly on How to Make Reading Fun. They have 25 ideas for parents & caregivers to try. To head over to Brightly and read the full article, click HERE.

How to Make Reading Fun:
25 Ideas Kids Will Love

by Jean Reagan

You might wonder what expertise I have. Nope — I’m not a trained teacher. Rather, I personally struggled to learn how to read, and so did my son. Also, when my kids were little, I fussed at them more than I care to admit. But when we sat down on the couch with a stack of books, we entered a magical world together. All the “shoulds” melted away, and “time” became suspended.

So, in no particular order, here are some random suggestions of how to make reading fun that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some are from my own experience; others are from my librarian and author friends.

  1. Change where you read. When my kids and I read an Antarctic survival story (Mawson’s Will), we bundled up and read outside in the snow. Brrrrrr. Halloween books we read in the dark with a flashlight.
  1. Have the child read a stack of wordless books aloud to you. Mark Pett (author/illustrator of The Boy and the Airplane) says he creates wordless books in part because they empower kids. Kids are just as competent at reading them as adults, perhaps even more so!
  1. Show pre-readers how to recognize a particular letter or simple word like and. Then have them find the word in magazines or newspapers. (My friend was given The Wall Street Journal!) Give them stickers to mark each find.
  1. Start a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together. (An author friend cherishes the memory of poring over the comics with her dad, who died when she was just six years old.)
  1. Make treats mentioned in books. Because How to Babysit a Grandma mentions snickerdoodle cookies, a grandmother asked me for my recipe. Sadly, I had to explain that I’d changed “oatmeal” to “snickerdoodle” simply because it was more fun to read. Sorry, no recipe.
  1. Read aloud books with words you find difficult to pronounce. Barbara Joosse included Inuit words in Mama, Do You Love Me? partly because she saw value in kids watching adults struggling with new words. Kids learn that reading isn’t about being perfect.
  1. With older kids, try a book club. Book clubs should be fun, not “highbrow.” Our mother-daughter book club giggled uncontrollably when we extended the book discussions with questions like, “When have you lied and not gotten caught?” Hilarious confessions erupted.
  1. Keep book characters “alive.” As your family faces different situations, ask how Olivia, the Pigeon, Batman, or the Little Snowplow would handle this.
  1. Plan field trips as extensions of your shared readings. Visit construction sites, museums, festivals, music events, or perhaps something somber and soulful. After reading My Brother Has AIDS by Deborah Davis, my family went to an AIDS quilt exhibit.
  2. Kids love to voice opinions. (Don’t we all?) After a book, do a simple thumbs-up, down, or in between. Or be more elaborate with a book review notebook and star stickers. Also ask, “Would you change the story at all? What should happen next?”

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