7 Ways to Bring Your Children’s Reading Alive
Encouraging your children to see reading as more than just the mechanical process of taking in words printed on a page can sometimes be a challenge. However, if you help your children see reading as something beyond ‘just words printed on a page,’ you will deepen and enrich their understanding and appreciation of literature. Check out these ideas to help make their summer reading come alive.
1. Write a different ending or an epilogue to a story
Encourage your children to recreate or expand a story’s ending. This helps them practice their critical thinking skills. You’re also inviting them to flex their creative muscles by asking them to determine what could have happened next based on what previously occurred in the story. Your children will be able to draw from their own experiences, or the experiences of characters they have read about in other books, in order to figure out what could happen next. If your children dislike the book, it also presents them with the opportunity to change the book’s ending into something they prefer.
2. Create biographies of key characters
In order to make the characters seem more realistic, invite your children to create biographies based on the key events in the book. This activity will help them practice expository writing and identify the critical points in the story that helped shape the characters.
3. Create a cause-effect paper link chain
In most stories, a single action or event has multiple effects on the story’s plot and key characters. To help your children highlight the significance of one critical plot point in a story, encourage them to explore how that event affected the other characters. For example, in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, when the mirror says that Snow White is the fairest of them all, the critical event causes a chain reaction of events for Snow White, The Queen, the Huntsmen, and later the seven dwarfs.
4. Stage a play or a puppet show
Another fun way to bring literary characters to life is to create a play based on a book. Instead of trying to create a complete production of the entire book, ask your children to focus on the key aspects or plot points of the story. Your children will not only be able to creatively express themselves, but it will make it easier to identify the critical moments in a book and the effect that these moments have on the overall story.
5. Create a book box diorama
Using a shoe box or other cardboard box, have your children construct a scene from their favorite book.. Supply your children with all the necessary tools,such as doll’s house furniture, popsicle sticks, colored papers, markers, etc., to create the scene and attach an index card describing the most interesting part about the scene. Creating a book box diorama helps your children understand the concept of reading a particular part of a story, and using the details that the passage describes in order to recreate the story in real life.
6. Have your children lead a discussion of the book
Schedule a time to sit down with your children to talk about a book and encourage discussion about the book’s themes, characters, and plot. Try leading the first book discussion yourself and then, for the rest of the summer, invite your children to research the book’s themes and write questions to encourage additional discussion. Not only can this activity help provide your children with a fresh perspective about the books and its themes, but also helps build their critical thinking skills.