How to make kids read books?
A friend recently reached out to me with this question, sparking a conversation that led to the compilation of these 37 creative ways and activities to encourage kids to engage with books.
As a parent or teacher, one of the most rewarding challenges can be fostering a love for reading in children. Whether you’re a parent or an educator, these strategies can be tailored to suit your needs. And if you’ve found success with other methods, I’d love to hear about them!
37 creative ways and activities to encourage kids to read books
1. Read Along: Share the experience of reading with them.
2. Special Reading Sessions: Organize reading gatherings with friends and family, accompanied by snacks. Create an environment that celebrates reading.
3. Peer Influence: Encourage friendships with other children who love reading.
4. Incorporate Current Affairs: Draw their attention to articles and images related to topic of their interests in newspapers and magazines.
5. Persistence and Politeness: Avoid sarcasm and pushiness; instead, be patient and encouraging.
6. Alternative Proposals: Suggest reading as an alternative to other activities without making it a trade-off. “We watched that amazing show at noon. So at this time, how about reading some stories?”. This should be used instead of “You will watch TV only if you read these pages”.
7. Native Language Reading: Introduce reading in the child’s first language. If you are speaking Oriya at home, introduce reading in Oriya only, and not in English.
8. Shorter Books: Start with shorter books to build confidence. Even a book of 20 pages is good enough. And it’s okay if they finish it in one week. Will improve gradually.
9. Avoid Quantifying Reading: Focus on the joy of reading rather than the number of pages or minutes spent reading.
10. Avoid Comparisons: Understand that every child’s reading journey is unique. You and Amitabh Bachchan are different, no? So your and other kids too.
11. Interests and Reading: Combine reading with their personal interests. A fan of cricket is more likely to read books explaining cricket, history, and biographies of cricketers.
12. Project-Based Reading: Assign projects that require reading. For example Give them a short science fiction and ask them to collect photographs of 10 different science things mentioned in the book. Or dress up like one character of the book for younger kids.
13. Reading the newspaper for you: Sometimes ask them to read the newspaper for you. Like you are driving and your kid is sitting beside you, you can ask them to read business or sports headlines for you. Yes, I know you can ask your AI agents for that but you need to train your kids too, and not just an algorithm, isn’t it?
14. Reading challenges: I have done reading challenges and have got very good results. In which I would ask participants to pick a book and read that in a specific time. Like I have done that during Navratri. So they will finish reading the books in nine days and will present them on 10th day. That has worked very well.
15. Join reading communities
16. Visit library: Spend some time reading in the library.
17. Don’t over do anything: Know their interests and limits. They are having a good time with a few good pages should be enough.
18. Personalised books: Try to get personalised story books if possible.
19. Create your own book: Yes, you can work on a book project. Everyone in the family or class will share the content creation task on a specific topic. First of all, to write, everyone will have to read. And then reading the portion of friends and family will be fun.
20. Gradual Introduction of New Topics: As kids start showing interest in reading something of their interest, slowly explore other topics. For example if a kid is regularly reading exploration stories, then you can try to provide a travel experience book too. And so on….
21. Relate book with movie: You can watch a movie and then read the book to explore the real sides of that book. You can also take printouts of articles related to that incident on which the movie is based upon. And you can do vice versa too. I mean read the incident first and then watch the movie.
22. Narrate the story: Encourage younger kids to narrate a story from the book.
23. Rewards for reading: You can have a reward for reading. Remember that there is a difference between trading and rewarding.
A: I will give you chocolate only if you read 10 pages of this book.
B: Let’s all five of us read together. Here are five laddus in a bowl. As each of us finishes reading our chapter, we can pick one laddu. Okay
Do they sound different?
24. Act out story: Make kids read the story and ask them to be one of the characters and narrate the dialogues. It can be a team play or a solo performance.
25. Meet the author: Especially if they like someone specific.
26. Group Discussion: Make everyone in the group read the same book and then discuss it.
27. Creative writing: Do a project of writing a sequel or prequel of a book. Everyone would read the book first and then will write it.
28. Audio books: Listen to the audiobooks while on road trips.
29. Travel companion: Carry a few books during travel, keep them on the back seats where kids are sitting and don’t keep any screens there.
30. Record: Record their reading/ narration/ act of a story in audio or video. That will motivate to read.
31. Reading in a new language: Reading a simple book in a new language they have been learning can encourage them to read.
32. Arrange book themed birthday parties.
33. Choose picture books to begin with.
34. Repeated reading: Don’t ask to stop if they are reading the same book again and again. It’s okay as a kid to repeat.
35. Accessible: Keep books within their reach so they can just pick easily.
36. Let them choose: Let kids choose their book to buy from the store.
37. Read aloud: Don’t always tell stories, read aloud the stories to them. This will connect them with the book and they will build interest in reading.
Inspiring children to read is about creating a world where books are not just educational tools, but gateways to adventure, knowledge, and fun. By implementing these strategies, you can help foster a lifelong love for reading in your children. Remember, every child is different, and what works for one might not work for another. The key is to keep exploring and stay patient. Happy reading!