Reading activities for kids
In a world that is slowly but surely turning away from books and getting glued to monitors or television screens, the importance of developing a passion for reading cannot be overlooked. Reading is a habit and should be established when the child is
relatively young. What can you do to foster this habit?
Enroll your child for reading classes:
There are many well structured after school reading classes that aim to draw the children to books. They help kids with diction, idioms and phrases. For young children, these classes can be fun with animated characters and pictures. Illustrated picture books, rhymes, silly songs and pretend stories all attract the young child. Use creativity tocapture the child's vivid imagination.
Pique your child's interest:
If your child has a favorite character, pick a series of books that features this character. For my son, it was Spiderman. Thanks to friendly neighborhood spidey, my son latched on to comics fairly early in his childhood.
Build a home-library:
A skill like reading cannot be learnt in isolation. Do not leave all the hard work to the after school program. Pick up books that you think your child will like. The Internet is also a rich resource of reading games that will attract little children to the fine art of reading.
Doing activities with your children allows you to promote their reading and writing skills while having fun at the same time. These activities for pre-readers, beginning readers, and older readers includes what you need and what to do for each one.
These activities have been developed by national reading experts for you to use with
children, ages birth to Grade 6. The activities are meant to be used in addition to reading with children every day.
In using these activities, your main goal will be to develop great enthusiasm in the reader for reading and writing. You are the child's cheerleader. It is less important for the reader to get every word exactly right. It is more important for the child to learn to love reading itself. If the reader finishes one book and asks for another, you know you are succeeding! If your reader writes even once a week and comes back for more, you know you have accomplished your beginning goals.
We wish you many wonderful hours of reading and writing with children!
Activities for birth to preschool: The early years
Activity 1: Books and babies
Babies love to listen to the human voice. What better way than through reading!
What you'll need:
Some books written especially for babies (books made of cardboard or cloth with flaps to lift and holes to peek through)
What to do:
Start out by singing lullabies and folk songs to your baby. When your baby is about six months old, choose books with brightly colored, simple pictures and lots of rhythm in the text. (Mother Goose rhymes are perfect.) Hold your baby in your lap so he/she can see the colorful pages of the book. Include books that show pictures and names of familiar objects.
As you read with your baby, point out objects in the pictures and make sure your baby sees all the things that are fun to do with books. (Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt is a classic touch-and-feel book for babies.)
Vary the tone of your voice with different characters in the stories, sing nursery rhymes, make funny faces, do whatever special effects you can to stimulate your baby's interest.
Allow your child to touch and hold cloth and sturdy cardboard books.
When reading to a baby, keep the sessions brief but read daily and often.
As you read to your baby, your child is forming an association between books and what is most loved – your voice and closeness. Allowing babies to handle books deepens their attachment even more.
Activity 2: Tot talk
What's "old hat" to you can be new and exciting to toddlers and preschoolers. When you talk about everyday experiences, you help children connect their world to language and enable them to go beyond that world to new ideas.
What you'll need:
Yourself and your child
What to do:
As you get dinner ready, talk to your child about things that are happening. When your 2- or 3-year-old "helps" by taking out all the pots and pans, talk about them. "Which one is the biggest?" "Can you find a lid for that one?" "What color is this one?"
When walking down the street and your toddler or preschooler stops to collect leaves, stop and ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer. "Which leaves are the same?" "Which leaves are different?" "What else grows on trees?"
Ask "what if" questions. "What would happen if we didn't shovel the snow?" "What if that butterfly lands on your nose?"
Answer your child's endless "why" questions patiently. When you say, "I don't know, let's look it up," you show how important books are as resources for answering questions.
After your child tells you a story, ask questions so you can understand better. That way children learn how to tell complete stories and know you are interested in what they have to say.
Expose your child to varied experiences – trips to the library, museum, or zoo; walks in the park; or visits with friends and relatives. Surround these events with lots of comments, questions, and answers.
Talking enables children to expand their vocabulary and understanding of the world. The ability to carry on a conversation is important for reading development. Remember, it is better to talk too much rather than too little with a small child.
Activity 3: R and R – repetition and rhyme
Repetition makes books predictable, and young readers love knowing what comes next.
What you'll need:
Books with repeated phrases (Favorites are: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.; Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss; and The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.
Short rhyming poems.
What to do:
Pick a story with repeated phrases or a poem you and your child like. For example, read:
(Wolf voice:) "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
(Little pig:) "Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin."
(Wolf voice:) "Then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!"
After the wolf has blown down the first pig's house, your child will soon join in with the refrain.
Read slowly, and with a smile or a nod, let your child know you appreciate his or her participation.
As the child grows more familiar with the story, pause and give him or her a chance to fill in the blanks and phrases.
Encourage your child to pretend to read, especially books that contain repetition and rhyme. Most children who enjoy reading will eventually memorize all or parts of a book and imitate your reading. This is a normal part of reading development.
When children anticipate what's coming next in a story or poem, they have a sense of mastery over books. When children feel power, they have the courage to try. Pretending to read is an important step in the process of learning to read.