It can be challenging to keep school-going children interested in reading, especially with the distractions of modern technology. Sometimes it helps to find creative reading ideas or phonics activities to help children become faster, better readers. Good readers enjoy reading more, helping them developing a love. You can encourage them with several activities at home.
Reading aloud is an activity that you should continue to do throughout elementary school, even teachers have stopped requiring the activity as part of the homework lessons. Keep this activity interesting and fun by trying different things, such as taking turns. Start off by reading a chapter or a section of the book yourself and then have your child read. Have a discussion about the story each time the book changes hands and this will give you a good idea about your child's reading comprehension. Another idea is to have your child read out loud to a favorite pet, a sibling or a close friend or neighbor.
Favorite Subject List
Have your child sit down and make a list of some of her favorite things, such as her favorite animal, favorite singer or band, favorite TV personality or movie star, favorite sport or hobby, favorite holiday, etc. Don't make the list too long, keep it down to three to five subjects at most. Then, take your child to the library and look up a book on each of her favorite things. Make sure each book she chooses is appropriate for her reading level. If you can't find an appropriate book on one of her favorite subjects, help her research it on the Internet. Pick an appropriate online article on the subject and print it out for her to read. After your child has read about each of her favorite subjects, have a discussion about what she learned.
Summer Reading Contest
If you have more than one child, have a summer reading contest. First, you will need to choose a start date and an end date. Then you will need to take your kids to the library and let them choose the books they would like to read for the contest. Make sure each child chooses books that are appropriate for his reading level. You may also want to set a minimum and a maximum number of pages for eligible books.
Buy or print a calendar to keep track of how many books each child reads. Each time one of your children completes a book, have him give you an oral review of the book. Then you can give him a sticker to put on the calendar, marking another book read. (Buy different stickers for each child so you can easily keep track of how many books each one reads.) The winner should receive some type of prize when the contest is over. Consider having second and third place rewards (or however many you need, depending on how many kids you have) to keep everyone motivated.
Many public libraries have this sort of contest during the summer vacation, which can be a great way to stay in touch with reading while not attending school.
Chapter Books in a Series
Encourage your child to take on chapter books in a series, such as the Harry Potter books, Junie B. Jones, or Magic Tree House series. This will also help hold your child's attention to the story line and hopefully she will want to continue on to each subsequent book to see what happens next.
Reading Logs and Reading Journals
A reading log can further be developed into your child's own reading journal. Your child will have a sense of accomplishment when looking back over his reading record for the year. Keeping notes about his favorite type of books or authors will help when choosing books to read in the future. You can also challenge your child to beat last year's reading log by offering a reward for reading more books in the upcoming year, creating a sense of competition for your child without having to compete with other children.
RIF Reading Activities
Parents may remember RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) from when they were in elementary school. RIF is one of the largest and oldest nonprofit organizations dedicated to the literacy of children in the United States. This organization delivers free books to children in public schools, homeless shelters and community centers. RIF also has a website where parents can find activities, inspiration and incentives for reading.
In today's fast-paced world of intricate video games, 24-hour-a-day TV channels programmed specifically for kids, cell phones and the Internet, getting a kid to read a book can seem almost impossible. However, if parents use creative activities, online tools and set a good example by sitting down with a good book themselves, there is hope for a new generation of book worms.