Reading to Children and Post-Reading Activities

By: María José Meneses, Originally published in Porch.com

Parents and other family members can enhance the benefits kids can obtain by complementing reading with a few related activities. While you might think that school teachers have plenty of time for these types of activities, the truth is that there often isn’t time during the school day for kids to “luxuriate” over books and book activities. However, you can supplement what happens in the classroom with fun book activities of your own such as these:

Illustrate text: encourage your budding artist to create art for their favorite books. Have them design a book jacket, bookmarks, or a poster for their bedroom walls. Grab some crayons and you can channel your inner artist too!

Describe the text: ensure that kids are comprehending what they’re reading by asking them to describe what’s happening in their book. Paraphrasing is an important development skill. You can also encourage them to describe settings and characters. By discussing the texts, you help children feel more connected to what they’ve read. This connection helps build a foundation for loving books.

De-stress and unwind: kids get stressed too. Books can help them take a break from their worries. Unwinding with books conveys to them that there are healthy ways to decrease stress and rejuvenate after a trying day.

Father and toddler reading together
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List new words: ask your child to pick out some words from the text that are unfamiliar to them. Then, tell them to go look up the definitions in the Merriam Webster–Nah! Just kidding. Don’t do that! Leave that activity for the classroom! Instead, choose a new word together and discuss its meaning. Then make a game of using that word throughout the day when talking. This will help them to improve their working vocabulary.

Write a letter to an author: when your child finds a book they love, take time to write a letter or send a postcard to the author or the publisher. In many cases, publishers will reply–and sometimes send cool stuff like bookmarks.

Attend library programs: public libraries feature book-related activities and storytelling sessions for kids of different ages throughout the year. Be sure that your child, at least, takes part in the summer reading program. It’s a great way for them to connect with other young readers and enjoy fun activities together.

Reading Skills by Age

While we all develop our skills at a slightly different pace, there are some markers that we can use as a guide for ensuring that our children have the reading skills they need to thrive as young learners. Here, we’ve outlined them for you:

Babies (up to 12 months)

  • Understand that speaking communicates meaning
  • Learns up to 50 words with their meanings
  • Responds when they are spoken to

Toddlers (ages 1-2)

  • Pretend to read books
  • Can point to pictures and identify images in books
  • Can turn book pages
  • Can answer simple questions about stories (what is the farmer’s name?)

Preschoolers (ages 3-4)

  • Knows how to care for books (i.e. doesn’t rip pages or color in them)
  • Can retell their favorite stories
  • Sit with a book independently
  • Is aware that letters make words
  • Begins to learn (or even masters) the alphabet

Kindergarten (age 5)

  • Learns letters and their sounds
  • Can match spoken words to written words
  • Can provide a definition or explanation of words
  • Can predict what may happen in a story
  • Can retell a story with accuracy

Young elementary school students (age 6-7)

  • Read longer books (i.e. chapter books) on their own
  • Can read aloud with increasing proficiency
  • Correctly use basic punctuation (i.e. period and question mark)
  • Can spell age-appropriate words correctly

Older elementary school students (ages 8-10)

  • Can spell increasingly difficult vocabulary and use the words in their own writing
  • Can provide written summaries about what they’ve read
  • Can answer questions about what they’ve read with accuracy and increasing complexity
  • Understands different types of writing (i.e. poetry, biography, fiction, non-fiction, etc…)
  • Can identify different parts of speech (i.e. noun, verb)

Middle and high schoolers

  • Can read and write about more complex writing
  • Write essays and research papers
  • Cite their sources
  • Determine central ideas conveyed in texts
  • Analyze point of view or perspective in text
  • Read increasingly challenging texts

Book Recommendations for Kids

If you’re eager to encourage your kids to read, we’ve got some great recommendations for you. It can be helpful to seek out award-winning books when building your home library. Check with your local kids’ librarian about the best books for your child’s age.

Young readers (age 4-7 years)

Middle readers (ages 8-10 years)

Older readers (ages 11-14 years)

All ages

These books can help you inspire a love for reading in your kids, but there are thousands of others. Be sure to visit your local library and area bookstores with your kids so they can explore their reading interests. In fact, you may find that you expand yours too!

For more book recommendations, Click Here 

Click here to access free digital books and activities – BookSpring Weekly Themes 

Reading to Children and Post-Reading Activities
Father and baby reading
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Reading to Children and Post-Reading Activities

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