Make it enjoyable! Reading Can Actually Be Fun!
We, as human beings, have been conditioned to want to do those things that we love, and ignore the things that bore us or make us feel uncomfortable! I know that I tend to put off the things that don’t motivate me in favor of the things that I totally enjoy doing! Who doesn’t?!
For many children, regardless of age, reading is something they would rather avoid…like the plague! These children have most likely never been given the tools necessary to become successful readers. So, they see reading as a tedious chore, or as something they would rather not do. They need to learn that reading is actually something fun to do!
Once they are equipped with the right learning techniques, they eventually learn that they can be successful and that reading can become something new and exciting! They will begin to see it not as something they have to do, but rather, as something they want to do.
And believe me, when you, as the parent of a struggling reader, see this positive change in your child’s attitude towards learning, life at home will become so much more pleasant! Your child’s self esteem will begin to flourish, and homework time won’t be such a struggle! I don’t think I know of any parent who wouldn’t want this!
It all starts with the ABC’s
Learning how to read always starts with the basics, and that includes learning the ABC’s. There are so many ways to help your child learn their letters and sounds the “fun way!” I would love to share a few examples of some activities that you can do with your child at home!
1. If your child is just starting to learn the letters of the alphabet, why not make it more interesting by making letters out of cookie dough or even play dough? They can get the “feel of the letters” as you say the sound that each letter makes. Then, have your child repeat each letter and the sound that corresponds with it. In addition, they will have a good time forming each letter out of dough! This will, in turn, help put the images of the letters into your child’s mind. This is one activity they won’t easily forget!
2. Another fun and creative way to learn the letters of the alphabet is to spread shaving cream or pudding on a wipe off table or board. (Many times, home improvement stores will be more than willing to give you small, white wipe off boards that they have left over from other projects they have done!) Once you have your board or table ready, have your child practice writing the letters in the pudding or shaving cream with his/her finger! They can always wipe it away with their hand and start again with a new letter. My kids used to love this, especially with the pudding! It’s a yummy way to learn the ABC’s!
3. When I taught kindergarten and 1st grade, I would always buy cereal shaped like the letters of the alphabet. Then, I would call out a letter, and the kids would have to search for it and hold it up. We would then say the sound that each letter makes. They absolutely loved this activity because they got to eat the letters afterwards! Yet, another fun way to teach the alphabet!
There are so many creative ways to draw your child in and make him/her want to learn their letters and sounds! Imagination is the key! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your child will never notice that you “meant” to do one thing, but instead, created something different. That’s the fun of it! Sometimes, mistakes are the best things we can ever do! That’s how we learn new things:)
Believe it or not, that’s how I learned many of my teaching techniques!
Things You Can Do If You Don’t Have Much Time
If you’re a single parent and don’t have much time to spare for these activities, don’t worry! Reading ABC books, as well as other books, to your child is another awesome way to help them learn and grow in literacy.
In fact, this may the single most important thing that you can do to help your child be prepared for “reading readiness!” This is also a fantastic way to show your child that you love to read! If you’re interested, I have included banners of my two favorite new and used online book stores. They have a wide variety of children’s, as well as adult books.
I would like to be open and transparent with you, as parents and caregivers. When you buy something from the websites listed on my site, I may receive an affiliate commission. I never recommend poor quality products, or create false reviews to make sales. The opinions I express are not representative of the companies that create these products. It is my intention to explain products in such a way that you can make informed decisions on which ones best suit your needs.
In addition, both of these bookstores are major philanthropic companies, putting books in the hands of those who would otherwise never have the opportunity to read. Please feel free to check them out!
Reading to your child is also one of the best ways to create those “special memories” that your child will carry with them forever. One of my favorite memories is of my mom sitting on the edge of my bed reading books to me before bedtime. I think I had her read my favorite book, How Fletcher Was Hatched! by Wende and Harry Devlin, every night for a year! It probably drove her crazy, but she never showed it!
It’s amazing how after all these years, I can still remember the sound of her voice, as she tried to imitate what she “thought” the characters’ voices might sound like! That has stayed with me for over 45 years, and it’s something I hope I never forget.
I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts and help you with any questions you may have. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and I would be more than happy to get back with you. And, as always…Happy reading to you and your child!
15 Replies to “Reading Can Actually Be Fun!”
Wow, what a lovely and truly informative site! I have 7 children and have home schooled most of them. I have always made reading a huge focus. Kids can learn so much from reading books.
Some teachers at school (my 12-year-old is attending school for the first time after being home schooled her whole life) tell her she can’t learn from fiction books.
To me, that is not accurate. Kids increase their knowledge an vocabulary through enjoyment reading books. It’s a win win.
Thanks again for the info!
I totally agree with you, Joy! I believe that kids should be reading different types of literature. It serves to enhance their vocabulary. If children read only expository, or non-fiction material, many of them would lose interest fast! Good luck to your 12 year old! I hope she has a more positive experience this year;)
I know as I grew up, I hated to read. I cheated when I had to do book reports for school. It just didn’t excite me. So when I had 3 boys, I did the same thing you did. I read to them all the time, and kept a variety of them on hand. I paid attention to what they liked and stuck with those. Those days will always stay with me and my kids still enjoy it.
I know exactly what you’re talking about! You really have to find that one book that truly inspires your child, and then stick with that author, or that particular series of books! My kids love to read now that they’ve discovered that reading can take them to places they’ve only dreamed about! Thanks so much for your comment:)
Oh Suzi, you took me back in time to when my father used to read to me from a Micky Mouse collection I had. It did not happen regularly, but whenever I was poorly, having my dad sitting by my side doing the reading of my favourite characters was most reassuring.
And again, when my son was little (he’s now 16!!), I’ll never forget how every evening we had reading time together before bed time. And, like your mum, I used to read making up voices and doing a bit of facial acting to make it more fun for him. I hope it’s a memory that will stay with him in the same way it’s stayed with us. I think it’s bonding reading times like these that make a child a better reader.
Thank you for the lovely and most informative post.
Thank you so much, Guilia, for your sweet comment:) I agree that it’s the simple moments like having a parent read to us when we’re young that stick with us forever:) I’m sure that your son will carry that memory of you reading to him as he reads to his own kids same day! Thanks, again, for leaving a comment:)
Thank you so much, Mary, for the encouraging comment! I’m glad that you’re back to reading again:) I think if I had the time, I would read a majority of the day!!! I teach children to read for a living, and I get so exited whenever the “lightbulb” goes off, and my kiddos realize that reading can actually take them to worlds they have only imagined:) I only pray that they won’t ever lose their love for reading. Thanks you, again for your comment:)
Depending on what it is I have to read, I love reading; especially fiction.
When it comes to getting children interested, I think part of the battle is just getting them to try reading something that’s really interesting for them. Once they do most will be hooked.
You offer some great tips and insight here to get children interested. It’s vital that they both learn to read and actually enjoy. It’s such an important part of life and learning.
Thank you so much for your comment, Darren:). I agree with you that reading is extremely vital for childrens’ success! The challenge is, like you say, trying to find something that each child is interested in! I really appreciate you stopping by:). Best wishes to you:)
This is so true. I found that kids who are being read to when they were young are more attracted to books and reading in general. They like visiting bookstores, choosing their own topics and knowing which book is better than the other.
I also want to point out that even though it’s convenient to read from mobile devices, you still can’t replace the experience of reading an actual book. There’s something about holding a real book that makes reading more joyful than using electronics.
Thank you so much, Cathy, for your sweet comment! I totally agree with you that kids need to be read to from a very early age. It seems that, in this day and time, parents are finding it harder and harder to spend time reading to their children due to busy schedules, etc.. However, I still think that it’s extremely important! Many of my best readers are the ones whose parents actually took the time to read books to their kids. Hopefully, these same kids will carry this tradition to their own families:) Thank you, again, for your kind words!
Hi Suzi, I enjoyed reading your article on how to make reading for kids fun. Some excellent ideas in there. My favorite is the cookie dough one. 🙂 I am fortunate that my three children ( 6, 10 and 11 years old) love reading. I never had to force them to pick up a book. It must be my side because I come from a family of vivid readers.
I used to read a lot of bedtime stories to my children but also found the singing and reading of nursery rhymes enjoyable for all of us. I guess that helped to develop my kids love for books as well.
Thanks again from Anke
Thank you so much, Anke, for taking the time to leave a lovely comment:). You sound like you would have been a wonderful teacher! It’s no wonder your kids love to read:) It’s because you took the time to read to them, as well as singing and reading nursery rhymes. I have found that parents who spend more quality time reading to their kids actually instill the love of reading that will last a lifetime:). Thank you, again, for your sweet comment:)
Very useful tips for reading for kids in a fun way, anytime you can make something fun for kids they will do it much more often.
Starting to read to your children when they are very young is a good habit to start, I never liked to read as a kid even when still in high school. I have learned to enjoy reading as an adult, but I have missed so many good opportunities in the past by not forming reading as a habit as a kid.
I am so sorry, Jeffrey, that it has taken me soooo long to respond to you! I’ve been trying to relocate, and it hasn’t been easy.
Thank you so much for your kind comment about my website! I totally agree with you that reading to kids at an early age is one of the most helpful habits to start. This not only helps in teaching kiddos to read, but it also seems to make them lifelong learners;) I’m so glad that you have learned to enjoy reading, as well! As with anyone, if you can find a few great authors that you really love, you’re set! Thank you, again, for your wonderful comment, and for sharing part of your story with me! Have a blessed day:)