This article reminds us all why reading is so important, offers great ideas for children’s books and gives you amazing post reading activities.
Getting children to love books seems to have only advantages in my book. I truly believe that a child who loves books will fall in love with reading. And there are so many reasons why this is a good thing.
First of all, we have written before about the importance of reading and the impact it has on children’s overall development. So, find out just how important is reading.
Secondly, reading in the first years of life implies shared reading, cuddling and reading aloud to your little one. So parents, read a bedtime story and enjoy the moment together, make it a ritual but also take advantage of the situation and cuddle, kiss, and get snug.
And finally, reading opens up a world of possibilities and not only teaches children about important things around the world around and about themselves, but also helps them find out their likes, discover new interests, encourages them to ask questions and explore. So many great things happen all at ones. And that’s what makes reading sooo amazing!
But how can reading be more fun?
You can easily make reading fun for kids if you keep in mind some of the ideas below:
- read to children from a very early age
- involve the child in choosing the books
- include a variety if books (pop up, touch hand feel, lift the flap, storybooks, atlas, on topics of interest etc)
- read as part of a routine (bedtime, cool down time, on the bus etc)
- keep books around the house at child’s level
- visit libraries constantly
- use post reading activities
Maybe you find it more useful to watch the video below with strategies for reading
Post reading activities?
You might have wondered what I meant by post reading activities. As if the name didn’t give it away!
Once you finish reading a book, don’t simply close it and put it away. A post reading activity will help children get a deeper and more meaningful understanding of what they just read.
Post reading activities, if used correctly, can:
- engage the child more
- help him make the connection between print and reality
- understand the written text better
- improve his reading abilities and reading comprehension skills
- support children’s creativity
- offer hands on experience and so much more.
A post reading activity doesn’t necessarily have to be used in an educational context or with an educational purpose in mind. But if this is what you are looking for also, this article from BusyTeacher is great for follow up reading activities. It can be made fun and meaningful at home. Don’t forget to also involve the child in coming up with post reading activities. After a few sessions of post reading activities, talk to the child and get his opinions.
To get you started, we give you a variety of post reading activities to inspire you and give you an idea of what we have in mind when we say post reading activities.
You will soon come up with great activities of your own and we would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Let’s take a look at some post reading activities we came up with based on some books we have around the house!
by Sam Lloyd
Midnight ninja is an amazing book for all those who love ninjas! It is fun and engaging and takes children on an exciting adventure.
Beautifully illustrated and magnificently written, the book approaches rescue missions in a very playful way. When you find out that even the cat is a secret ninja master you cannot but feel empowered to act and feel like a TRUE ninja.
Fun post reading activities
We believe in shared reading and know how important it is for children’s development. We encourage it and think that a follow up activity might make the reading experience even more meaningful. And fun, for both parent and child!
Inspired by the ninja and his awesome moves, try to create a ninja training space. It might be:
- a giant web
- a web in a photo frame
- an outdoor space that implies lots of climbing
- pillows on the floor to allow the little ninja to roll around
- a secret lab in a corner of the room (under the table, in a tent, under the staircase
My little one used a ball of yarn and spread it all around his room. He tied it in different corners and at different nights making it look like a giant spider web. Then he started his training: roll under, jump over, crawl through, leap over. And he did it over and over again.
Wendel and The Robots
by Chris Riddell
Wendel and the Robots is a fun and intelligent book that encourages children not to waste, but rather be creative with waste.
Wendel is a smart inventor who loves working all day and into the night. He creates robot after robot which rapidly end up down the rubbish chute.
Until one day when HE is thrown down the chute and realises that all the waste can be reused. He makes all kinds of creative inventions using only scrap.
Because his repurposed inventions help him and save his life, he learns never to throw anything ever again. But rather reuse them!
Creative post reading activities
The more you read the more creative you become. And so finding fun and interesting follow up activities will become a piece of cake.
One obvious activity would be to create your own robots. Try to use various objects and open ended materials, and combine them as you wish. For the robots below we used:
- play dough
- popsicle sticks
- blue tack
- cardboard tubes
- loose parts: goggles eyes, buttons, cotton etc
However, there are lots of activities this picture book can inspire, any activity that involves reusing and repurposed materials would work.
by Mick Inkpen
So lovely to be able to read this and not only learn that it is normal to be scared, but that each situation can provide a learning experience. Kipper is a friendly and lovable character created by Mick Inkpen 25 years ago and since then has been read and loved by millions.
In this book, Kipper got a new torch and he loves using it. When he goes camping with his friend he brings his torch along of course. But what do you know? In the darkness of the forest a monster appears:
“From somewhere outside the tent, there
came the most terrible, tremendous,
Well, you’ll be surprised to find out that the horrible horrendous monster was a tiny slimy snail. How is that possible? Grab a torch and a snail and find out!
Mysterious post reading activities
Given that the title of the book hints towards something scary, you might want to adapt the follow up activities based on your child’s understanding of the concept. My son is only 4 so we didn’t try anything scary, but rather mysterious.
We tried playing with the torch just like Kipper and his friend did and we came up with these ideas:
- play with the torch on the wall and make shadows
- use a torch to read under the blanket
- use a torch inside a box to make projections of animals (see pictures below)
- when completely dark, play with a torch walking around the house spying on toys
The Stone Age
by Marcia Williams
This is an amazing book that brings history to life in a child-friendly and hilarious manner. You learn so much from each page and the illustrations encourage so many wonderful discussions!
Although a bit too detailed and cruel at times (animals being attacked, people being attacked by others) it does portray reality and I think children need to be aware of the fact that this is part of life. We did skip those pages quickly, but I did not shield my son from seeing them, however this is a personal choice.
Being aware of our past and evolution helps children identify themselves better and I think it is never too early to teach history to children. Simply adapt the information to their age!
Meaningful post reading activities
A Stone Age story inspired us to come up with our own Stone Age tools. However, you could also try to build your own cave inside the house or outside, or maybe dress up as the Neanderthal man, cook outside, go foraging (playfully of course) and so many many other ideas.
- a stone axe
- a bow and arrow
- a slingshot
We played with all of them and they kept us busy for a few hours! Our favourite was the slingshot, we used small sticks and pretended they were rocks we used to hunt for our dinner. We ended up eating crisps instead! But it was great fun.
For more post reading activities
If you have other great ideas of how to inspire children to read, please leave them in the comments section below. We think reading is so very important and we want our readers to find great ideas to inspire them and try them with their little ones.
We welcome your contribution and your ideas will be included in a round up post in the near future.
Hi. I am Monica, an experienced ESL teacher and early years student, mother to a preschooler and passionate reader.