Bond over books: eight ways to make reading more fun 5 years ago

Bond over books: eight ways to make reading more fun

There’s something magical about seeing and hearing children getting to grips with letters and reading.

Whether your child is just learning the alphabet, or is already hooked on phonics, there are lots of simple ways to make reading fun.

1. Bond over books

Reading aloud is a great way to get a child ready to read for themselves. It’s also one of the best ways of preparing a child for school and boosting their vocabulary and ability to name their feelings, experiences and the world around them. You can encourage pre-readers by beginning to point out particular letters – use the sounds, rather than the letter names – and getting them to turn the pages of the book for you.

2. Real-world reading

It’s important that kids don’t associate reading with school only. The more they can see how reading applies in real life, the more motivated they’ll be to learn. Learning expert Dr Naoise O’Reilly advises using school holidays to keep reading and other skills up to speed.

3. Scrapbooks and flashcards

Get out the glitter glue and scissors and get the kids to spend a few rainy afternoons creating a letter scrapbook. Encourage the children to find and cut out individual letters and then to find images of things which start with those letters. You could encourage the kids to make their own set of flashcards – a great way for older children to help introduce reading skills to younger siblings.


4. Fun with letters

While writing out letters might quickly loose its appeal, kids will still enjoy creating them in more innovative ways. Cookie cutters which make letters of the alphabet will give an educational twist to baking time, as will using icing to write someone’s name. Kids will really enjoy making letters with squirty cream or shaving foam (just don’t let them get the two mixed up!). Alphabet pasta is widely available and Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti is a kitsch classic that all the family will enjoy once in a while.

5. Treasure hunt

Another rainy day option is to have kids follow a trail of clues to find a hidden ‘treasure’. For new readers, write one or two-word clues like ‘go upstairs’ or ‘look up’.

6. Letter hunt

Getting kids to hunt for letters and words when they’re in the car with you or helping with the shopping really helps them to understand the value of reading. Build in variety by deciding to look for a different letter of the alphabet every time you go out and work your way from A to Z.

7. Educational apps

There’s a huge choice of early reader apps for Android and iOS platforms. Big Bird’s Words from the makers of the legendary Sesame Street comes highly recommended. It uses the device’s camera as a ‘Word-o-Scope’ to find letters and words around the house. This app is ideal for ages four to six. Fans of Dora the Explorer will also enjoy her apps for pre-readers and new readers.

The BBC also has a great list of short clips for those learning to read. These are designed for the classroom, but work really well in any setting. Kids will enjoy seeing some familiar CBeebies faces. These short stories and games are great for helping children get to grips with letter patterns like ‘-ay’ and ‘-ry’ endings as well as common combinations like ‘ee’ and ‘a-e’.

8. New book nostalgia

While apps can be invaluable for supporting new readers, there’s noting quite like the look, feel and smell of a new book. Classic authors like Dr Seuss are as popular as ever and there’s something really special about introducing your child to books that you loved at their age. There’s also a wealth of highly recommended new titles that will really captivate and motivate junior readers. Elaina Ryan of Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) shares her favourites here.