Creative Ways to Get Your Kids Reading
by Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
For a while when my daughter was two, she didn’t want to sit still for a book but she LOVED baths. She didn’t want to get out, in fact. So one day I decided I’d bring some books to the bathroom and read to her there. She was already sitting in one place, and I needed something to occupy me when she kept asking to stay in longer. Bonus: a way to get her out was to say, “Okay, one more story, and it’s time to get out.” Boom!
Creative ways to get your kids reading can be hard to come by, so hopefully some of these will spark something for you and your family.
Another thing that’s worked really well for us is to get books that are about the shows or movies my daughter loves. I know that can be difficult to get right now, but if you already have some books that match with shows or movies, just drop them in front of your child after you start the show. It’s highly likely his or her unoccupied fingers will start flipping through the pages and realize, “Omg this is what I’m watching!” Then you can read it with him or her or them again after the show or movie is over, get the TV turned off, AND that lovely pile of other books you conveniently placed next to them all read, too.
Finally, incorporating books into play has been a successful way to get my daughter reading. Just the other day, my daughter wanted to make doughnuts–she has a felt matching book with food and we got creative! We got a wooden spatula from the kitchen and an recently emptied Gold Fish crackers box for the oven (ok I know doughnuts are fried but just go with it ;)). As we were pretend baking, I thought, “Grandma would love this,” so of course my brain went straight to a refrain from a wonderful book by Anika A. Denise that we received from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library “It’s baking day, it’s baking day, it’s baking day at Grandma’s.” So I found the book and asked her if she wanted to read it, and she did!
Another thing we’ve done recently is actually incorporated my daughter’s toys into books. My daughter has been all about her toys lately, so one day when we were sitting on the ground playing PJ Masks with her figurines, I reached for a book. Of course, my daughter didn’t want to read, she wanted to play. But what if the toys want to read? Ohhh, now we got the toddler hooked. I put one figurine on the page and as you can see, my daughter started adding more in and creating her own story. We got the chance to explore a book in a whole new way. Double score: Mom worked in reading AND creative play!
Additional interviews with Kaitlyn:
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is an associate agent at Olswanger Literary, mom, wife, math teacher, and picture book author represented by Joyce Sweeney at the Seymour Agency.
She is also the co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as the creator of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest.
In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch TV shows, and, of course, read. Especially when her husband and daughter cozy up so they can all read together.