When our kids groan and complain about reading time, we know we’ve hit a rough patch that needs to be addressed. It’s important to keep kids excited about family read alouds. If your read-aloud times have hit a rut or become dull, here are a few ideas to keep read-aloud times upbeat.
1. Build Their Interest
Use anticipation to pique interest for reading time. Drop clues around the house pertaining to the story you plan to read. Then have a scavenger hunt to find the answer. When it’s time for the big reveal, the kids will be ready to settle down and listen.
Or if an elaborate scavenger hunt is too much work, you could also simply ask questions about the book’s topic before you begin reading. For example, if the setting of the book is during the Civil War, you could ask them how they might feel if they were living during that time, what kinds of clothes they might wear, or what daily life might have looked like.
The same thing can be achived by watching a video related to the book. In the case of a good book on the Civil War, a reenactment, a documentary, or a movie set during the Civil War might be just the backdrop you need before settling in for read-aloud time.
2. Use Props
It’s time to get crazy with your kids! You’ll definitely get their attention with the use of props. If you have puppets, costumes, or any items around the house that could serve as a prop during reading time, go ahead and bring them out. Suddenly, read-alouds become not only interesting but entertaining as the kids watch mom or dad either slip in and out of costume or hold up a series of props while reading.
3. Change Your Voice
If you really want to grab your kids’ attention and even make them laugh, try changing your voice. As you read stories aloud to your kids, get into character with different voices for the people in the story. Even with non-fiction, you can use different voices for added effect. Better yet, add in sound effects to match the storyline.
4. Let Them Participate
Want to make storytime even more fun? Let your kids act out scenes in the book. Hand over the props and costumes and let them act out a scene. Or perhaps you can stop mid-chapter and ask for their opinions on what you’ve just read. If two or more kids disagree on what they think should have happened in the story, allow them to have a friendly debate and act it out.
5. Provide a Follow-up Activity
Lastly, follow up with a fun activity. Provide coloring sheets, word searches, crossword puzzles, or fill in the blank worksheets for kids who love the workbook style approach. Create a fun game involving a bean toss or charades or a more interactive quiz game for kids who like to be up and moving. And for artsy kids, provide paints and crayons and craft supplies for craft projects that correlate with the book. You could also dig up some theme music to match the time period of the book you read for those kids who are energized by music.
Remember, kids love to hear mom and dad read to them in a variety of ways. Even if you feel silly, you can guarantee your children will love your efforts and get more engaged with the reading.
About the Author
Demetria is a homeschooling mompreneur and tech enthusiast who lives in the Silicon Valley with her husband, two daughters, and a dog named Shaggy. She currently runs the Christian Homeschool Moms Podcast, blogs, writes music, and spends lots of time at coffee shops.