10 Fun Holiday Reading Activities for Kids

Holiday Reading Activities for Kids

The holiday season is known to cause a pronounced dip – or ‘slide’ – in children’s reading skills. With an abundance of distractions and a shake-up of routine, getting your child to read over the festive season can be a great challenge as a parent.

But with a bit of thought and preparation, the holidays can actually be the perfect time to enjoy fun and meaningful family activities based around books and reading. Here are some great holiday ideas to keep the magic of reading alive at home.

1. Pair books with day trips – The night before you visit a museum, landmark, or special exhibition, find books and websites to read with your child to help plan your trip together.

2. Create a holiday reading list – Take a trip to the library and put together a list of books your child would like to read during the holidays. Display the list somewhere you’ll see every day, like on the refrigerator, and reward your child with something small each time they check off a new title.

3. Make ‘DEAR’ time fun time – DEAR stands for ‘Drop Everything and Read’, where everybody in the house must drop what they’re doing and read a book. Make it spontaneous and exciting, similar to announcing a special treat!

4. Read to relatives – Encourage your child to show off their new reading skills to grandparents or relatives by reading them a story. Most children love being the focus of attention, and grandparents are usually more than happy to encourage their progress.

5. Follow a recipe – Cooking together is so much fun over the holidays and provides a great opportunity for your child to read out the ingredients and steps. Afterwards, help them write a menu for guests and family members, using as many descriptive words as they can.

6. Create a family book tree – Cut out the shape of a tree from a large sheet of construction paper and invite the whole family to decorate it, adding the words ‘My Family Book Tree’. Hang up your tree near your usual reading area, and as each person reads a book they can write down the title and add a new leaf.

7. Re-enact stories and perform them for relatives – Choose a well-loved story with fun and interesting characters and re-enact it from beginning to end. Prepare some props and perform your story as a family for relatives when they come to visit. Here are some great tips for raising a reader through dramatic play.

8. Start a reading circle with some friends – Host a weekly reading circle at your house and invite your child’s friends and family to join in. They can take turns choosing which books to read together each week.

9. Play fun literacy games on long car trips – If you’re planning a long road trip during the holidays, games like ‘I Spy’ and simple category games can be great for building essential literacy skills. Don’t forget to also stock up on good books for the road!

10. Mix things up with joke books and comic books – Encouraging your child to read a variety of texts is great for setting them up to become lifelong readers. Choose books you know they’ll love and don’t be afraid to experiment with joke books, riddles and comic books, which all offer their own unique benefits to young readers.

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that children love! With hundreds of guided reading lessons, fun games, lovable characters and exciting rewards, inspire your child’s love of reading this holiday with a free trial of Reading Eggs today.

 

The Awesome Benefits of Comic Books for Children

benefits comic books for kids

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. Start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.

For a long while comic books have gotten a pretty bad rap. They were the sneaky distraction that schoolchildren disguised inside the pages of ‘real books’. People saw them as a more simplified version of reading; something that couldn’t offer the same complexity or developmental benefits that ‘serious books’ could.

But now parents and educators are beginning to see the hidden benefits of the humble comic book (or graphic novel). Professor Carol Tilley from the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois says, “A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words.

“Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.”

Here are just some of the awesome benefits of reading comic books:

1. They turn reluctant readers into ravenous readers.

One of the best and most obvious benefits of comic books is that they can be more fun and easier to read than regular books. This can be extremely appealing to young children who would otherwise have little interest in reading traditional forms of books. Many children who think they hate reading respond particularly well to comic books that are based on movies or television shows they enjoy, such as Scooby-Doo and Astro Boy.

2. They give struggling readers confidence.

Comic books don’t intimidate struggling readers with an overwhelming page of text. They usually offer short and easy-to-read sentences, alongside other visual and text cues (e.g. character sighs, door slams etc.) for context. They’re also helpful for children with learning difficulties; children with autism can learn a lot about identifying emotions through the images in a comic book. Children with dyslexia, who may find it frustrating to finish a page in a traditional book, often feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete a page in a comic book. And as many of us know, accomplishment plays a key role in building confident and fluent readers.

3. They increase your child’s inference.

Observation refers to seeing something happening. Inference refers to figuring out something based on evidence and reasoning. It’s an important component of successful comprehension and a valuable life skill for all young children to develop. Comic books can increase inference in young children by encouraging them to “read between the lines” and infer meaning from the images. Children who read comics often need to infer what is not written by the narrator, which is a complex reading strategy. Comic books also help children become familiar with sequencing and understanding succinct language.

4. They expand your child’s bank of words.

When many people think of comic books, they probably don’t take into account the repository of words used on every page, or the opportunity they offer to strengthen vocabulary skills. Comic books give children a unique opportunity to acquire new vocabulary in combination with context cues, that is, information from pictures or from other text cues to help children decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words.

5. They can be a valuable accompaniment for other learning disciplines.

Comic books that explore or touch on historical events, classic tales, wildlife, nature, positive relationships and more can provide a valuable supplement to other areas of learning. For example, if your child is learning about the ancient Egyptians, a comic book story set in ancient Egypt may use pictures to explain important period details, such as clothing, food, rituals, farming, construction, trade, commerce, and cultural and social traits. By taking in a combination of words and illustrations, many children obtain the big picture more easily and with more enthusiasm than they would from using textbooks alone.

6. There are many different comic book genres to suit all tastes.

Comic books aren’t just about superheros and villains. And they’re certainly not just for boys. Comic books and graphic novels are spread across many different genres, including comedy, drama, sci-fi and fantasy, and there is bound to be something to suit all tastes, ages and reading levels. There may even be something that you might like to get into yourself, or enjoy together with your child, snuggled up before bedtime!

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. With hundreds of guided reading lessons, fun games, lovable characters, exciting rewards and over 2000 e-books, start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.

Get Caught Reading Month: How to Celebrate from Home

Girl reading book on Sofa

The month of May is Get Caught Reading Month, a campaign to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read.

There’s no better time to dive into all of your best-loved books at home and start developing some positive reading habits with your children. Here’s how you can get into the spirit of Get Caught Reading Month and start spreading the joys of reading at home:

1. Read comic books together. The second day of May is Free Comic Book Day. Comic books are a great way to entice even the most reluctant of readers, particularly boys, who tend to be visual learners and engage more easily with small snippets of text.

Comic books are fun to read aloud together, especially when you take turns doing the different voices. Try to ease into the month of reading with comics or graphic novels if your child tends to be a reluctant reader.

2. Create a ‘Family Picks’ booklist. Talk to aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or grandparents and ask them to recommend their most cherished and beloved book. Compile a booklist with your child for the month of May and label each book under the names of your relatives (e.g. ‘Uncle Pete’s book’ or ‘Grandma’s book’).

As you tick off the special titles on your ‘Family Picks’ booklist, encourage your child to talk to their relatives about their best moments, characters, and quotes from the books. This is a great way to show your child how wonderful it feels to share the love of reading with others.

3. Have ‘DEAR’ time at home. The rules of DEAR, or ‘Drop Everything and Read’, are simple: during DEAR time everybody in the house must immediately drop what they’re doing and read. Plan your DEAR time in advance, but remember to keep it to yourself in order to create a sense of excitement and spontaneity, similar to announcing a special treat.

4. ‘Catch’ your child reading by taking photos. Arm yourself with a camera or smartphone and get ready to snap photos of your children buried in a good book. You can create a collage of photos at the end of the month to hang on a wall or treasure as a keepsake, labelled ‘Got caught reading!’

5. Host a book drive. A community book drive is a fun way to build enthusiasm for books and reading during the month of May. Arrange a book drive in your street and trade in already-read books for some exciting new ones.

6. Set up a book club with friends, relatives, or community members. Invite over a group of avid young readers and choose a great book to read together. Encourage the group to take turns reading, help others who don’t know a particular word, and share their thoughts about the story afterwards.

Do you plan on getting into the spirit of Get Caught Reading Month this year? Let us know what’s happening in your home, school, or community in the comments section below!