If your child loves reading, that’s amazing! By reading with them, you are helping them continue to grow in their essential early literacy skills. All the ideas that our preschool and child care center is about to talk about will be just another fun way to connect with your child over reading.

If that first sentence has you scratching your head or wondering if there’s something wrong with your child, don’t worry! Not every kid gravitates towards books, and there’s a wide variety of reasons for why that is — though often, it boils down to not understanding the story or not being interested in it, and/or struggling to focus and sit still for extended periods of time.

When you enroll your child with one of our Yellow Brick Road child care centers (located in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, and Plymouth), you can trust that they’ll be exposed to stories and literature, which will help pave their way for future academic success. But at home, you can try these reading activities to strengthen your child’s connection with books. While many of these work best with preschool-aged children, they can easily be adapted for earlier ages.

Act It Out

This is a great activity for all kids, not just for those who struggle to sit still and listen to a book. Encourage your child to act out the story as you’re reading it together. Acting out a story requires listening and attentiveness, creativity, and movement — all of which are crucial for a young child to begin developing.

Want to step it up a notch? Take your child’s favorite book and help them turn it into a play! This is something that multiple kids can get involved in, and is a wonderful way to spend some time together (while developing literacy skills) over the summer. Not to mention, what kid doesn’t love dressing up?

Put on a Puppet Show

Take some old socks and decorate them with markers, buttons, yarn, and whatever else you have on hand. Your child can make puppets that are specific to a story, make puppets that look like them, or make up any other kind of imaginative creature. The next time you read a story together, bring out the puppets to help tell the tale!

You can teach your child about dialogue through using puppets. Every time they see quotation marks or a character is about to speak, they can move their hand to make the puppet “talk” as well. If they’ve read the book enough times to the point of memorization or if they’re working on reading, they can start speaking out at the right time with their puppet. Using puppets requires creativity, vocal intonation, and understanding of dialogue — some excellent skills to practice.

Campfire Stories

This is a simple but effective way to spice up bedtime reading. Simply bring in a flashlight and turn off all the lights to read with your child! Super easy, super fun for kids. Just make sure you take the flashlight back out with you when storytime is over!

If you have the space to do so, here are two ways that you can really get into the campfire theme. To start, your child and you can create a drawing of a campfire or fireplace to put up in their room. When it’s time for stories, you could even put a flickering (fake) candle near the fire to make it seem like it’s actually a campfire. This might be a nice, once-a-week treat that you and your child can connect over.

The second idea requires a bit of travel, but with all the beautiful lakes and campgrounds in the area, summer is the perfect time to not only camp, but bring books by the actual fire. Of course, this activity calls for more planning, but it could be a great motivation/incentive for your child if they’ve been taking to reading more than usual. Plus, camping, the outdoors, a crackling fire, s’mores, a good book — what could be better?

Draw on Inspiration

For the kiddos who can’t seem to color and draw enough, getting to draw what’s happening or provide illustrations is an excellent task. It might not seem like it’s a reading activity, but drawing what’s happening in the story requires a good deal of concentration, creativity, listening, and overall plot comprehension. Not to mention, it’s fun to do!

Story Rewrite

Bless those kids who hear a “happily ever after” and think, “That story would have been better if dinosaurs came in and ate everyone.” Help them make their own ending to a story! As your child dictates the new story to you, write it down and have them help with illustrations. Being good at reading isn’t just about understanding letters and words and sentences on a page. You have to love the story in order for comprehension to start happening, especially at earlier ages. A child who knows how to tell a story is caring about stories, and their imagination should be encouraged.

Story’s Most Wanted

We root for the good guys and cast down the villains (well, most of the time). Help your child come up with a “Wanted” poster (it can even just be on an index card) for the villains in the stories they read. They’ll love going back through and looking at what they’ve created, and they’ll love staying connected to the story in this way.

Our preschool and child care centers know just how crucial early literacy development is. That’s why we talk about it so often! Try any of these activities to make reading even more enjoyable, and contact Yellow Brick Road to provide your child the best in early child care and preschool.