The Learn to Read Kids Club is more than just about learning to read. It's also about having FUN!! Try these creative activities, ideas, and rewards to strengthen your child's reading skills, reward reading accomplishments, and create enjoyable reading experiences for your child. Scroll through the page to see all the FREE activities or click a link below to jump directly to that section.
Use these handy reference charts and manipulatives to help your child engage in reading activities.
Alphabet & Sound Reference Guide – Children can use this handy letter & sound reference guide whenever they need help remembering the letters of the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes.
Alphabet Flash Cards & Game – Children can color and cut apart these letter cards to create their own flash cards or use the cards in a game. To play a game, place all the cards facedown either in a stack or a small pile. Players take turns drawing a card and naming something that starts with that letter.
Make a Reading Pointer – Using a reading pointer can help children more effectively follow the print in the books they are reading. A reading pointer allows children to focus on one word at a time and brings a kinesthetic element into reading. There are lots of ways to create a reading pointer:
- Attach a fancy eraser to the end of a pencil
- Glue a wiggly eye to the end of a craft stick
- Color one of these cute characters, cut it out, and glue or tape to the end of a pencil or craft stick.
- Have children cut out a small triangle or star out of construction paper and glue it to a craft stick
Before Reading Activities
There are more to books than simply reading the story. Exploring a book before reading helps children be more successful when they actually do read the book. By “pre-reading” the book they gain some understanding of what the book might be about. To pre-read, take a book walk! Look at the cover, title, pictures, style of art and photo captions. Doing so will help children explore and predict what the book is about and allows them to engage what they already know and apply it to what they are about to read.
Tell a Picture – Make a “microphone” for your child by wrapping a paperball (a wadded up piece of paper) in cloth and taping the ends closed. Use a piece of tape or stapler to attach a piece of yarn or string (approx. 10”-12”) to the ball. Stuff the string and ball into one end of a toilet-paper tube. Explain to your child that one way to make reading easier is to observe all the pictures and learn about the story before reading. Demonstrate to your child how to “tell a picture.” Point to the cover of the book, and speak into your microphone and describe what you see or make a prediction about the story’s plot based on the cover illustration. Have your child do the same for each picture in the book. You could also take turns with your child in this activity.
After Reading Activities
Two critical components of reading are understanding and remembering what was read. Try these fun activities to strengthen your child’s reading comprehension.
Retell with Puppets – Have your child make puppets. First, ask your child to draw a character from the story on a piece of paper. Cut out the character and glue it to a craft stick, the top of a pen cap, or an old sock. Have your child use the puppet to retell or act out what happened in the story.
My Favorite Part – Children can draw a picture of their favorite part of the book and write a few sentences about it on cute lined writing paper with stars, a bookworm, a dog, a frog, a bear, or a simple, plain format.
Pop-Up Book – Your child will love creating this fun pop-up book. Use these simple instructions to bring the story to life. In the pop-up book, have children create some of the scenes from the book you just read or write a new story about one of the characters in the book.
Make a Bookmark – Children will have fun designing their own bookmark to use when they read. A folding bookmark provides space for students to summarize stories, record new vocabulary words and draw pictures of their favorite characters. See these bookmark samples and instructions.
Flip-Flap Book Fun – Flip-flap books are versatile, easy-to-make projects that provide hands-on manipulation and a hint of secrecy or surprise. Children can draw or write a variety of information on each flap. From alphabet letters and sounds to vocabulary words and story sequencing, there are lots of ways readers of every level can learn with a flip-flap book. See these flip-flap book samples and instructions.
Wordless Books – To encourage creativity and freedom of expression, wordless books allow children to write or retell stories without being inhibited by spelling, grammar or punctuation. These are also a great way to get young preschoolers involved in bookmaking. To make a book, simply gather several pieces of same-sized paper and bind them together (use staples or punch holes and tie with ribbon). Have children draw pictures of the characters, retell the story or illustrate their favorite parts of the book. See these wordless book examples and instructions.
Placemats – Placemats are a fun way to bring learning to the table and make reading a topic of discussion for the whole family. To make a placemat, get a blank 11” x 17” sheet of paper or tape two 8 1/2” x 11” pieces of paper together. Young readers can draw a picture relating to something that they read recently, either a favorite character or event in a story. Cover completed placemats with clear contact paper or laminate them at a school or office supply store. Click here for examples and instructions.
Use these activities to strengthen word recognition and spelling. By building their word knowledge, children will improve their reading skills and fluency.
Find the Word – After reading a book, ask children to turn to a specific page. Then ask them to find a particular word and point to it with their reading pointer. Continue to do so for all of the sight words and vocabulary words (see list in the parent guide) in the story.
Walking with Words – Write each sight word and vocabulary word (see list in the parent guide) from the story on a separate footprint card. Place the cards faceup on the floor to create a path. Have children step from footprint to footprint while reading the words. As students progress in their reading, build your footprint trail to add new words.
Cookie Dough Words – What better way to practice your words than by making cookies! Make your favorite cookie dough, or use premade refrigerated dough. Write each sight word and vocabulary word from the story on a separate index card or word card. Give your child the cookie dough and one word card. Help your child form the letters of the word using the cookie dough. As your child makes each letter, place the letter on waxed paper. After the word has been spelled out, transfer it to a cookie sheet. Continue with other words in the story until you run out of words or cookie dough. Bake the cookies as directed in the recipe or on the package. Once the cookie words are cool, reread the story and point to your cookie words as you hear them in the story. Then pick a word and taste your wordy creation.
Pipe Cleaner Words – Write each sight word and vocabulary word from the story on a separate index card or word card. Give your child an assortment of pipe cleaners. Give your child one of the word cards and ask your child to read it out loud. Help your child create the letters of the word with pipe cleaners. Repeat for all of the words in the story.
Go to our Reading Rewards for some fun ways to reward your young reader.