12 ways to get children reading without opening a book

12 ways to get children reading without opening a book

One of the biggest challenges for teachers (and parents) is getting children to read. These ideas should make it easy for reluctant readers to get involved, without even realizing it. Top marks all round!

1. Signs and Notices

Brighten up the walk to school by reading the street names and road signs that you pass. It’s a great way to learn words not commonly used in books. And gives children an awareness of where they are and how to get from A to B, if needed.

 2. Shopping

Supermarkets and shops are bursting with words. Ask children to read labels as you put groceries in the trolley. Better still, give them your shopping list and see if they can read and find the items. You might even end up with extra treats.

 3. Toys and Games

From musical alphabet games for toddlers, to Top Trumps cards, crosswords and word searches; toys and games make reading fun and exciting. Board games are great too, even the simplest of games like Guess Who? have a small element of reading.

 4. Television Subtitles

Next time you accidently switch the subtitles on, leave them on for a while. Let children read what’s being said. It can help to develop their language and vocabulary. It can be good for adults too. Subtitles over documentaries and travel shows help you pick up place names and detailed information more easily.

 5. Comics and Magazines

For lots of children (and grown ups) reading a book can seem a daunting and mammoth task. Images, short articles, facts and jokes make comic books and magazines easily digestible and appealing to read. Try National Geographic Kids for an educational subscription.

6. Menus

Feeling independent and having some freedom is very important for children. Next time you’re eating out or ordering a takeaway, let children peruse the menu and choose what dish they would like. They might learn some new words, and you can all have fun pronouncing quinoa.

 7. Birthday Cards

All too often are birthday cards thrown aside, barely glanced over, so that eager little fingers can get to presents without delay. Next birthday, take time to read cards properly together, or ask children to read them aloud and savour the happy messages written inside.

 8. Travelling

Waiting for buses, trains and planes can be dull for even the most patient of us. Make it fun by reading the destination board to see where other people are going. Let children guide you to the loos by reading the signage. Sit down and plan your route the old fashioned way with a paper map, reading place names and circling points of interest along the way.

 9. Writing

A great way to improve and encourage reading, is through writing. Letters to relatives living away, postcards to grandparents while on holiday, short stories that allow imaginations to run wild. Children will happily read out what they’ve written, proud of their work and keen to share.

 10. Make it a game

Treasure hunts are fun and inexpensive (depending on the treasure). You’ll have a great time writing the clues and seeing their delight. The clues have to be read and understood to get to the prize. Once children get the idea, why not let them have a go at creating the clues themselves?

 11. Make it a treat

Lots of books have been made into films. Why not get children to read the book first, then make a night of watching the film and talking about what was better (always the book). Or better still, visit a place related to the book, or try to find platform 9 and ¾.

 12. Build a flat pack together

Building flat packs can be stressful, tense and argument inducing, for adults. Why not lighten the mood and get children involved with reading the instructions and finding the right parts. It may take longer, but children will feel immense satisfaction seeing their work assembled and ready for use.

If you’ve been inspired by how a little free thinking can make a difference to children’s lives, why not consider completing a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Development and Learning degree at CU Scarborough, CU London or CU Coventry?