This week we are celebrating Read Across America Week. Today, March 2, 2022 is Read Across America Day. Wait, it gets better, March is National Reading Month! Yay for all my fellow book worms out there! This article is about how to make reading fun for children.
Why Read Across America?
Read Across American was started by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to get children excited and interested in reading. The day coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday which is March 2 and is sometimes called Dr. Seuss Day.
Typically, on Read Across America Day, parents, teachers, librarians, and grandparents are all encouraged to read with a child, and this year is no different! Reading is fun and important for children’s language and cognitive development. So, this year, celebrate Read Across America 2022 with 7 tips for making reading fun.
The Importance of Reading to Children
Research shows that children who are read to frequently at an early age begin school with a larger vocabulary and advanced comprehension skills (Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life, 2012). In the same study, children’s reading and cognitive skills were not related to their social-economic background but to the frequency of being read to before starting school. It was also found that children aged 4-5 who were frequently read to, scored higher on numeracy and literacy test at age 8-9 (Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life, 2012).
Additionally, children who choose to read books during their leisure time have larger vocabularies, better reading comprehension, and better technical reading and spelling skills than their peers who do not read as frequently.
Similarly, the impact of reading becomes stronger throughout a child’s development from early childhood to undergraduate level with advanced reading skills and intelligence (Mol & Adriana, 2011).
Reading as a Shared Experience
Reading frequently to children is beneficial and besides the improvements in their cognitive and reading skills, reading to your child from an early age could be the foundation of a lifelong love of books.
I love nothing better than curling up in a comfy spot with a great book. I love to read and I am an avid reader. Reading transports me to a different time, place and culture. I love getting lost in the story, knowing the characters and being gripped with suspense at the turn of every page.
I developed my love for reading during my childhood from my mother and sister who were always nose-deep in a book. My mother loved to read a book by Sydney Sheldon or John Grisham while my sister was all about the classics, Mr. Darcy had her heart! During my school days, reading any other book besides a literature book was about learning not fun.
However, my sister was in the habit of reading her literature books during the summer ahead of the school term. It was during these reading sessions and having discussions with my sister about the books that reading became fun. We spoke about the characters as if we knew them and tried to decipher the symbolism and the authors’ intentions behind certain words. This shared experience of reading with my sister brought us even closer as our discussion always ventured into our own teenage lives, our hopes and dreams. Now, even as adults, we still have and share a love and passion for reading.
These experiences of reading with my mother and sister during my childhood encouraged my love for reading.
So, how can you make reading fun for you and your children? Try these 7 tips for making reading fun as you celebrate Read Across America Day 2022.
How to Make Reading Fun for Children
Whether you have infant, middle-aged or teenage children, there are many ways to make reading fun for children. Here are 7 ways to make reading fun.
1. The Choice is Yours
Let your children choose the books they want to read. This will enhance their reading experience. It will also show your children that their input is important and you trust them. However, if you are choosing your children’s books, be sure to choose books with bright colours, and large prints. Children love colours and images and this is particularly important for younger children.
2. Somewhere to Read
Find a cosy spot where you both can read without distractions. This can even become your special place for reading.
3. Bring the Story to Life!
You would be surprised to see how receptive children are to the changes in your voice and your body language. They notice a lot more than we realise. So, when you are reading next time, try bringing the story to life by changing your voice to fit the mood and the characters of the book. For example, you can use a scary voice for a monster, or facial expressions to convey emotions, and you can act out certain scenes. Or, you can make animal sounds when there are animals. You definitely will not be short of characters to play.
Children love a good sing-along. Can you turn that storybook into an awesome jamming session? Many children’s books are written with a rhyming scheme, so all you need to do is just create a melody and voila! You have a sing-along.
5. Picture This!
While reading, show your children the pictures, point out the shapes, and colours and count the numbers too. Doing this will not only spark your children’s interest, but it will help them to associate words and objects. It is also a great way to build numeracy skills.
6. So, What do You Think of the Book?
Another great way to make reading fun for children is to discuss the story and the characters with them. You can ask your children who was their favourite character, what they loved most about the book and why, what they did not like and so on.
7. Read to Me, Please.
You can ask your child to read to you if they are old enough to do so. This is a great opportunity for children to build up their storytelling skills. It is also an opportunity for you to assess their reading skills and support them.
Whatever way you plan to celebrate Read Across America Day, be sure to make it fun!
And why not add a new book to your child’s library?
A beautiful, well-illustrated poem follows a baby and her adoring parents as they marvel at her growth and development. This book is truly heart-warming and takes you to those early days when your baby starts meeting all their milestones. Or, your baby, like this happy baby is just meeting all their milestones!
Mol, S. E., & Adriana, B. (2011). To Read or Not to Read: A Meta-Analysis of Print Exposure From Infancy to Early Childhood. Psychological Bulletin, 137(2), 267-296. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49740676_To_Read_or_Not_to_Read_A_Meta-Analysis_of_Print_Exposure_From_Infancy_to_Early_Adulthood
(2012). Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life. Development, Department of Education and Early Childhood. Retrieved from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/documents/about/research/readtoyoungchild.pdf
4 Replies to “Read Across America Day 2022: How to Make Reading Fun”