Intriguing ways to get kids reading

I love reading now. I don’t remember choosing to pick up a book as a kid and to be honest I don’t remember learning to read. But I must have.

My little one is in reception and he’s doing really well with his reading, but encouraging him to read is another matter. He knows how to but doesn’t want to, which is a shame because the things he could read if he was willing to give it a try.

So instead of having a battle every time we are going to read together, we’ve started devising new fun ways to read. Now be warned this does make reading time a longer process but he enjoys it.

Road track reading

I made a track out of our k’nex roller coaster kit with the car on and each word he read the car would move along the track. He could finish reading when the car got to the finish line and sometimes he got a little treat. When this lost its interest we moved onto….

Skatepark reading

This time J would set up his ideal skatepark, and at the end of each page he would get to show me a trick on the skate park.

Planet jumping

We’ve been looking at different planets recently, so we set out the planet cards (in order) and then at the end of every page he could make a Lego man jump onto the next planet card. The challenge was to get the Lego man to the sun.

Writing the story on paper

One day I just wrote the story (well some of the story) onto yellow paper (his favourite colour). He enjoyed this, I think it worked because there were no distractions just pure and simple reading.

Tricky word challenge

One day I wrote out all the words that he might find tricky (from the current book we were reading) on a large bit of paper, I also numbered each of the words 1 – 6 and played a game before reading. We each had a some Duplo bricks and we had a dice. You have to roll the dice, and whatever number the dice lands on you have to try and read the word with the same number. If you get it right you add that many bricks to your Duplo tower and it’s the first person to 10. This was great fun.

Minecraft jumping

I set up six letter tiles and at different stages I also placed a fidget spinner. After each line he read the minecraft man moved along to the next tile. At the tile with the fidget spinner he was able to show me a trick. It was J who suggested that the minecraft man should say the letter that he lands on.

There is a slight transporty theme to all our reading challenges, which is fun. I like including things that he’s interested in at the time so that he is more engaged. We do each game for about a week and then move on so that boredom doesn’t set in. I know it probably seems like a lot of work, but it is worth it because we both enjoy practicing our reading.

I’ll have to get my thinking caps on for more intriguing reading fun.

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Book Month – Part 5

My LO has been really poorly this week tonsilitis, ear infection and now on an inhaler poor little thing. So let’s just say we’ve all been a bit exhausted! But amazingly it hasn’t quenched his thirst for exploration. He’s been really interested in flowers so we did book Month a bit differently and read books based around flowers rather than me choosing a book.

We came upon this because my wonderful hubby buys me flowers every week, and one morning I came into the front room to find J intently studying a flower.

He was fascinated! So we looked up online about the different parts of the flower.

So I scoured my book shelf for books about flowers and surprisingly I didn’t have many. Of course we have lots of books that have pictures of flowers but only 2 that specifically mentioned them.

Any suggestions for the future?

What I did come up with was…

It’s not written by Dr Seuss but in the same style. It loosely explains the process of making honey, which definitely involves flowers. You can also watch the Bee movie which is fun and again explains the process, but don’t expect too much science! And of course we had honey on toast.

Our second book was…

There are questions in there about ‘why do flowers smell nice?’ ‘Why do trees loose their leaves’ and ‘do trees breathe?’

We made this little book about the parts of the plant (I’m sorry I can’t remember which site it’s from, but if you google parts of the plant there are loads).

This was one of our activities that were handy when the Calpol had kicked in!

We also tried an experiment of putting flowers in different coloured water to see what would happen.

For some reason it didn’t work. But we had fun anyway!

He now has a bunch of flowers in his room and his minecraft world is currently being littered with red flowers.

Another book which is BRILLIANT is…

There are no words in this book only incredible pictures which spark the imagination and have helped us to write a story about Jelly Fish called the ‘Jelly Fish Backflip’ (don’t ask I still don’t understand!). It’s a beautiful coffee table book.

So we couldn’t do much this week, I would have like to collected some flowers and do some flower pressing and I’d also like to have done some flower dissection, but illness took over.

This is the last post of Book Month. We have loved it, I didn’t make a big thing of it. J probably didn’t know it was happening, but we have loved exploring new books, it seems book Month has been very based on our world from ‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravitt and books about space and flowers. And who can forget Robot Week!

I’m definitely just going to carry on bringing books to life in ways that makes reading more enjoyable, educational and enduring!

Book month! Part 1

I have spent a lot of time moaning about World Book Day this week. Anyone who knows me has probably started avoiding me because I’ve been on my soapbox all week.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love books. J and I love reading together; it is one of the highlights of our day, snuggling down on the sofa and reading the chosen books for that day. We go to the library and get out 20 books each time and get through them all each week. We’ve even bought J a reading light and now he also reads a book before bed by himself.

But what I’m struggling with is dressing up for ‘World Book Day’ – it seems to be a huge pressure for people. I’m a creative person and still find it massively pressured. Mainly because I could spend hours making an outfit and then J wouldn’t wear it at all! Or go and buy one and again he doesn’t wear it. Not only that my husband is a teacher and so we have two outfits to think of (I’m very aware that most of you have 2 or more to make, so I know that I’m not alone in this!) I know the purpose is to get children engaged in books, but mostly children dress up as characters from films – I checked out a stores website for their world book day outfits and out of 12 outfits only 4 were actual book characters! But enough of my rant because believe me I could go on!

So this morning I decided to stop moaning and be the change I want to see. So in our house we are going to have Book Month. We will choose one book a week (on top of our normal books) read it and choose activities to do from the book, and really try to engage with the books and inspire creativity and hopefully some learning.

Our first book is….

It’s a beautiful book encouraging the reader to look after our world.

Amazingly it also includes two of J’s loves — hoovers and diggers — so it’s a winner. Tonight at bedtime we had such a lovely conversation about protecting animals and replanting trees after they’ve been cut down.

I’m desperate for J to grow up loving books and reading. He already has a thirst for knowledge, so I want to support him in every way I can.

This morning I read an interesting/terrifying report from thebookseller.com

‘New report reveals 58% of parents of 3-4 year-olds struggle to read with their children every day’

I understand that there are a million reasons why this happens. being too busy, not loving reading themselves, lack of confidence with reading and so on. But hopefully our book month will not only inspire J and myself, but others too. So I’ll stop moaning about dressing up and start championing books! I’ll also share all our activities as we go along.

The ‘H Free running crew’

We are being introduced to the world of digraphs here. Now when I learnt to read this wasn’t a common thing in fact I didn’t really know the word existed until my husband became a nursery teacher!

Well now my little one is learning to read. So digraphs and split digraphs are becoming much more part of life!

Currently he’s finding ch, sh, wh and th tricky. There are loads of activities out there on the internet, but I wanted something a little more personal so that J would connect with it and he’s into free running at the moment, so meet the ‘H free running crew!’

This is Charlie and he likes chasing people.

This is Whitmore (there are not many wh names – that I could think of anyway) and he likes whistling.

This is Shelly and she likes shimmying into a spin.

And last but not least this is Theo and he likes walking on thin things.

Our best time to learn new things is whilst we are eating dinner together so these will come out whenever we’re not having a tired tear filled meal time.

Another activity I made was painting by sound…

(Yes it got J’d before I could explain how to do the activity!)

This is our sound monster. You have to use the right colour for the sound. We will use paint Dabbers as J isn’t much into colouring, but if you have a little one who enjoys colouring with pencils or pens, you can use them too. The great thing about this is again it could be completely personalised and you don’t have to be an artist to draw a very simple picture that has large spaces to colour in.

Octonauts and going shopping

We’ve just had a lovely Easter Holiday. We had a week away and a week at home, so we used our week at home to get sorting! J is growing up fast, so we have taken all things baby from his room!! 😢

I wanted to make his room a bit more of a fun place and not just a place where we store his toys. I’ve put away toys that have been out a while and have made more of a spectical of new toys and toys that he hasn’t played with for a while. 

Octonauts

I managed to pick up all of the Octonauts toys at a charity shop for £2! Massive bargain. So I wanted to make a bit of an under water world. Our holiday was in Devon so managed to pick up stones and shells which added to sea bed effect. I found some under the sea labels to add some more colour, but it’s been great for J to recognise letters and different animals. Speaking to a friend today, if I’d had some material I could have made a bit of a reading den with books about fish and the sea. But with no material and lack of space, that’s just a bit of a dream.

Going Shopping

We haven’t played with his till for ages. When we did play with it, I’m not really sure he knew what to do with it. So I made a little shop for him (you can see where I shop). He recognised the shop name straight away, which was great.

We had great fun playing today, we spotted different numbers and I told him what the different signs said, which he repeated this evening! His purse has money and cards in. I keep adding boxes as I use the contents in my kitchen. So he’s having fun recognising different food.

I had great fun making these little areas in his bedroom and have loads more ideas for when we swap them around with different toys. But it’s been lovely watching him play in such a different way and interact with pictures and words.

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Blog post update 

I noticed that the under water world and shop wasn’t being played with as much. So we’ve had a swap around. 

Farm


Our Farm has made an appearance. We bought this for his second birthday and it hasn’t really been played with. But placing out and leaving it out has meant that he’s found moments to go and build fences. He’s also enjoyed looking at the farm cards. 

Cafe

One of mine and J’s favourite things to do is to go to a cafe.  We don’t spend long in a cafe, but we do enjoy the idea. So we made J’s cafe. 

With open and close signs to help recognise numbers and a menu. 

J’s favourite food is chips, but I don’t have any play chips so I think I will have to make some from salt dough or something. 

Having these toys out is great, because he plays and can use his imagination in different play. But also today he realised he missed his octonauts so we started to play with that! Great!