National Reading Month takes place in March every year. Here are 10 creative ways to bring literacy to life within the walls of your home! Not only will you have fun as a family, but you will be increasing your children’s interest in literature and adding to their developing reading and writing skills.
- Board games. Dust off some of your board games that infuse literacy elements such as Hedbanz, Scrabble or Zingo.
- Movie night. Read a chapter book as a family every night, then celebrate the end of the book by watching the accompanying movie. There are a lot of books turned movies; be sure to look into which would be age appropriate for your children. We started off with Disney books and movies like “Cinderella” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Our local children’s theater is offering the musical Snow White right now and that could be another option.
- Read a series. Spend the month reading an exciting series of books. For very young children, you can read Arthur or Biscuit books. “My Father’s Dragon” is a great beginning chapter book series and for preschool and elementary aged children. The Imaginary Veterinary series is a lot of fun! Reading a series of books really gets children excited and engaged. My husband once told my four year old he loved Arthur books, so now each time we go to the library, she gets excited to pick a new Arthur book our for her Papa to read to her.
- Start a family journal. Purchase a notebook (one from the dollar store works) and write letters back and forth to your children. We have a rule: When it’s my turn to write in the journal, my daughter leaves the notebook for me on my nightstand. We write about anything and everything. Young children can participate, too, by adding pictures and inventive spelling or even letter strings (when a young child mimics writing with scribbles).
- Old-school word games. You can find old-school word games as apps now or find one online to print out and enjoy. Show your children how to do a word search (they make them for all learning levels and you can personalize them, too), hangman, and crossword puzzles. I like to print a special puzzle out for my girls to work on before breakfast in the morning. They are still waking up but enjoy having a special activity to work on while I cook breakfast and make their lunches.
- Mad Libs. Complete a Mad Libs story to read aloud as a family this month. It’s sure to bring giggles to all!
- YouTube. Did you know there are books available as videos? There are authors and volunteers who read books aloud on YouTube. Search for your favorite stories as a kid and share them on this platform with your children. I used to love “Bedtime for Frances” and can remember my Grandma reading it to me each time we stayed over at her house.
- Share your story. Tell stories before bed about memories you had as a child. Use inventive dialogue and be sure to describe the setting. Storytelling is wonderful for children to use their imaginations and sharing stories from your past will help your child make a connection with you.
- Audiobooks. You can check out audiobooks at the library or use online platforms such as Audible. Listen to a chapter of a book you are reading together in the car, then read the next chapter aloud that night to your children. It’s a different way for children to hear stories and a great use of your commute time in the car.
- Update your family library. Go to the library on the weekend or while your children are at school. Ask them what kind of books they would like you to get them if they are not going with you. Pick out a bunch of books and add them to a basket in your family room. Replenish the books every two or three weeks when they are due. Be sure to add a variety of genres like non-fiction, holiday books, and high interest stories related to what your child is into.
– Maria Dismondy is a mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.