- 4 mins
How to Get Kids Excited About Reading
Reading is a skill we will need throughout our lives and it’s worth spending time getting kids excited about reading. Reading can be lots of fun, but it is also a daily struggle if it is not done in a way that works for your children. Adults play a significant role in teaching kids to love reading.
Tips on how to get kids excited about reading:
When a child enjoys reading, it motivates them to spend time reading and learn how to read. It creates an intrinsic motivation for kids to read. When there is no enjoyment, there won’t be motivation either.
Nolen (2007) writes that children can be motivated by different aspects of reading. Encouraging kids to read by providing interest-based texts is one way of getting them to read. Include stories about topics they love – whether it may be dinosaurs, trains, or princesses.
Let children create their own books
Letting children write their own stories is a wonderful way of empowering them to create their own interest-based texts. Encourage them to draw, paint or print pictures for their books and write simple words, phrases, or paragraphs to accompany the images. Children can even build up their own classroom library where they can read one another’s books.
Books are not the only thing to read
When children find reading challenging, it can be daunting to be expected to open a book and read. The mere thought of picking up a book and being bombarded with letters, words, and sentences can create a sense of panic! Don’t be afraid to present a variety of texts – poems, jokes, posters, advertisements, and even toy catalogs are filled with things to read.
Help them be successful
We want to prove to our kids that they can be successful in reading as this will encourage them to keep at it. Teach them strategies to figure out the text if unsure of the words. Teaching children to read pictures can be fun while providing support in pairing pictures with text.
Read to them
If you can only choose one strategy to get kids excited about reading, it should be to read to them! Short stories are usually preferred for young children, but for older children, it could work well to choose a chapter book and dedicate time every day to read a part of the book to the class. Share the excitement with the kids by asking questions, wondering what will happen next, and looking forward to the next part of the story. Make this reading time a positive experience by allowing kids to be relaxed while listening to the story – lying down or sitting on the carpet and even sitting on the mat with them.
Top books you need in your classroom (or homeschool) library to start the year:
According to Scholastic (www.scholastic.com), the following books would be good additions to your classroom library for pre-K to grade 1 students. Remember to involve your students by taking them to the library and having them pick out books for the classroom library. This can become an activity to be done at least once a month as it will help children to be part of planning their learning and developing reading skills at the same time.
- Clifford, the Big Red Dog (Norman Bridwell)
- Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Mo Willems)
- Dragons Love Tacos (Adam Rubin)
- Frog on a Log (Kes Gray)
- Pete the Cat (Eric Litwin)
- The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats)
- Wemberly Worried (Kevin Henkes)
Audio-books and storytelling for kids:
We don’t always think about audiobooks and storytelling as ways to improve children’s reading skills. However, there are many benefits to including storytelling for children of different ages. Yabe, et al. (2018) write that these activities can help develop a child’s imagination, improve vocabulary and communication skills, and even help children visualize spoken words. When listening to stories (whether it is being told in person or through an audiobook), children need to form their own pictures and sceneries in their minds. As the story progresses, the scenes change, and children have the opportunity to build these images without being told what or how to think.
Moshi provides a wide variety of stories to listen to and caters to children up to 10 years of age. These stories can be used individually and as a group for children. There are stories for different times of the day and stories to suit different emotions, events, and activities. It would be a good idea to incorporate these audiobooks as weekly classroom activities. Remember to keep children calm and relaxed during story time and keep them motivated by viewing class reading time as a highlight of the week!
Yabe, M., Oshima, S., Eifuku, S., Taira, M., Kobayashi, K., Yabe, H., & Niwa, S. I. (2018). Effects of storytelling on the childhood brain: near-infrared spectroscopic comparison with the effects of picture-book reading. Fukushima journal of medical science, 64(3), 125–132.
Nolen S. B. (2007). Young Children’s Motivation to Read and Write: Development in Social Contexts. Cognition and instruction, 25(2-3), 219–270.