If you’re like most parents, then you’re wrestling with how to make reading fun in the classroom.
Or at home.
Or on vacation.
Kids today don’t read as much.
The answer? You’ll have to get tricky.
You’ll have to apply a little bit of psychology.
And it’s going to change depending on how old your kids are.
Fortunately, we’ve got all the tricks you’ll need to make reading fun for first graders, for 4th graders, and even for high schoolers or for college students.
1. Make a Special Reading Spot
Age Group: A great tip for students of any age!
Here’s a big reason so many kids don’t enjoy reading today.
Many parents make them sit at the kitchen table for their prescribed reading time.
Some of them even set a timer.
Is it any wonder so many kids think of reading as a chore? Or even a punishment?
Think back to your own childhood. Did you ever have a favorite spot to curl up with a book?
The bay window? That one special chair?
Under the covers with a flashlight?
You need to give your child that, too.
Habits are important, and so is atmosphere.
Take some inspiration from your favorite decor blogs, and make a cozy spot for your child to curl up, just like you used to.
Don’t force it, but let them know that when they want to read, they can go there.
You’ll probably find that they jump at the chance.
2. Use Art
Age Group: For first graders through sixth grade!
Here’s an idea you can crib from the schools.
When you’re in the middle of a book, or after, have your child draw a picture of it.
Or make a mobile, or a papier-mâché sculpture, or a comic strip.
Although the idea of learning styles has been debunked, it’s still obvious that kids love getting hands-on.
Putting the story into another medium is a great way to make sure it sticks, and to keep your child interested.
Help your child out by pointing out scenes that would make for good art projects.
Do it well, and they’ll start looking out for themselves.
Sparking their creativity on several levels like will ensure that your child gets the very most out of the book.
And even more important, it will make the reading fun, and make sure they stick with it.
3. Talk About It
Age Group: This works even for high schoolers!
One of the best things about getting really into a story is talking about it after.
Reliving favorite moments, sharing favorite characters, figuring out together what the twist ending really meant.
School English classes are built around this.
It’s also why book clubs are so popular.
Make sure to incorporate discussion into your reading with your child, too.
Talk about the book together, both during and after finishing it.
Even better, encourage your child to talk about the book with their friends.
You can get together with a few other parents and make your own book club for your kids.
Once one of them gets really into it, the rest will follow suit.
Pretty soon, they’ll all be acting out scenes, wondering what the sequel’s like, and most importantly, getting excited about reading.
You just provide the snacks.
4. Use Technology
Age Group: Perfect for 4th graders and younger!
We live in a digital age.
Technology is everywhere, and it’s easy to lose hope when you see your kids glued to their devices every chance they get.
After all, how can a good old-fashioned book compete with the latest video games?
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to.
You can use technology to make reading fun. To make reading something your child wants to do, every day.
Play your cards right, and technology and reading are like peanut butter and chocolate.
For example, there are loads of augmented reality education books available today.
Read a few pages, then point your phone at the book, and watch the characters come to life.
It’s fun, and it’s surprisingly effective at keeping your child engaged.
Give it a try, and you might be surprised!
5. Try Audio
Age Group: Works with everyone. It’s even great for college students!
There are plenty of times that might make a good reading moment, except for one little problem.
Maybe you’re snuggled up on the couch at night. It’s just too dark!
Maybe you’re on a long road trip, and reading will make you carsick.
Those occasions are a fantastic time to try an audiobook.
Studies have shown that although listening uses a different part of the brain, it’s just as good for you.
Of course, you should still make time to read with your kids.
It’s a skill that needs practice like any other.
But as far as retention goes, audiobooks are just fine.
So fire up that Audible account, and listen away.
6. Car Games
Age Group: For elementary school kids!
Sitting on the couch with a book doesn’t need to be the only reading time.
It’s easy to forget when you’re focused on teaching your child, but reading is everywhere.
Remember those games you used to play on road trips? I Spy? The License Plate Game?
If you have a 2nd or 4th grader, now might be a good time to introduce them.
And if you’ve forgotten how they work, there are plenty of easy guides online.
Like so many of the best tips to get your kids reading, these games make reading fun.
They’re a great way to pass the time on long car trips, and your kids will forget that they’re reading at all.
As long as you can pry the tablet out of their hands, of course.
But that’s a whole other can of worms.
7. Fun with Voices
Age Group: Perfect for the younger crowd!
With younger kids, reading aloud will be the norm rather than the exception.
As your children are still learning confidence in sounding out letters, you’ll be sitting next to them taking turns, line by line.
Or will you?
There are other ways to divide up the reading duties, and one thing you can try is splitting it up by character.
If you’re reading all of Hagrid’s lines, and your child is doing all of the kids’, then you can have a lot of fun making the characters true to life.
Yes, I’m talking about doing funny voices.
You’ll have to start it off, of course.
But with encouragement, most kids will have a blast coming up with their own voices before long.
Their eagerness to get out their lines will help reading stop feeling like a chore, and more like a fun game.
And that’s where you need to be with them.
8. Variety is the Spice of Life
Age Group: Absolutely everyone, even adults!
Remember that your child doesn’t have your breadth of knowledge.
Especially at younger ages, but it’s true well into high school.
They don’t know everything that’s out there.
So if they tell you they’re bored of reading, there’s a simple answer.
“How about something new?”
Give them new genres. New authors. New subjects.
If they’re sci-fi junkies, try asking them to read a mystery.
If they’re Jane Austen nuts, try them on some Ray Bradbury, or Harry Potter.
There are so many books out there, and so many ways to read, that they’re sure to find something they like.
It’s up to you, even more so than the schools, to help them find just what that is.
9. Read What’s Popular
Age Group: Everyone can benefit from this one!
Fine literature doesn’t always get the job done.
Although your instincts might tell you that your child needs to read only the most edifying classics, it’s not always the best choice.
Save that for when they’re older.
In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with letting your kid read the latest YA book.
Or those awful movie novelizations.
Or even a manga.
The point is, they’re reading. Keep them reading, and they’ll
Letting your children dive into the latest fad novel means they’ll have plenty to talk about at school.
And as we saw, that kind of discussion is really how to make reading fun in the classroom.
It will form a reading habit that will last a lifetime.