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Books: Reading Activities for Children

Reading is both fun and educational. Make it part of your child’s life. The following tips can help.

Help your child learn

  • Keep books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Garage sales and thrift stores often sell books at low prices. Magazines just for children include Boys' Life, Highlights for Children, National Geographic Kids, Ranger Rick and Stone Soup.
  • Use a low shelf or a few baskets to make a small family library and allow your child to arrange the books.
  • Let your child ask questions when you read him a book.
  • Let younger children interact with the story by making sound effects for the cars, animals, or other characters.
  • Talk with your child about the characters and why they acted a certain way.
  • Talk about the problem or conflict in the story and how it was solved by the characters.
  • Ask your child about his favorite part of the story and why he liked it.
  • Turn off cell phones and limit distractions when reading with your child. Also limit TV, video games, and other screen time to no more than 2 hours a day. This allows more time for reading, homework, or other family activities.

Building a love for reading

With younger children:

  • Set aside a special time of the day or week just for reading activities. Read aloud to your child and talk about the pictures or adventures.
  • Choose books with colorful pictures or buy books that your child can color. Sturdy books made of cloth or thick cardboard can be cleaned more easily and will last longer.
  • Make sure your child has a library card. Go to the library together to check out books and listen to story hour.
  • Suggest your child dress up as a favorite storybook character while playing make-believe or preparing for Halloween.
  • Help your child make his own book. Select a theme such as jungle animals, changing seasons, or a day at the beach. Let your child pick out magazine pictures, photographs, or make his own drawings. Use sturdy construction paper for the cover, and write a simple sentence about the picture at the bottom of each page.
  • Record a story in which you and your child both participate either by reading or making sound effects.
  • Read a poem, and then have your child draw a picture or make a collage about it.

With older children:

  • Let older children and teens choose books based on their interests.
  • Encourage your child to use the school library. Many schools offer summer reading programs and offer students awards for reading books.
  • Let your child read out loud to you or show off his reading skills for younger siblings.
  • Read or suggest a book that was one of your favorites when you were your child's age.
  • Make bookmarks out of felt or colored paper and give as gifts.
  • Find books about things in your child's life. For example, books about where you will be going on your vacation. Learn about the geography, history, or current events.
  • Build or buy a book shelf and start a book collection based on your child’s interests.
  • Give a gift certificate to a local bookstore.
  • Suggest your child join a book club with friends or an online group based on your child’s interests or a favorite author.
  • Start a weekly family reading hour. Choose stories of interest to the whole family. Try poetry, humor, mysteries, adventure, and biographies. Read them aloud and talk about what you read. You could also set some time aside each week to talk about what each one in the family is reading.
  • Show your child the value of reading in daily life. Have your child read maps, menus, billboards, or news stories.
  • Avoid nagging, scolding and pressuring your child to read. Instead, be a role model and let him see you reading for pleasure. Talk about how reading can be a way to explore new places, become an expert on a topic, find new interests, or have a few laughs.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-05
Last reviewed: 2015-01-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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