Reading as a family offers many advantages to children of all ages. Children learn to value reading as an enjoyable activity. Reading as a family helps increase vocabulary, sequencing skills, creativity and attention span. Books give children the opportunity to learn about the world. Family reading nights can go beyond sitting around the house with a good book. Reading themed activities engage the entire family for a night of educational fun.
Reading in a tent is a fun way to enjoy an evening together. Set up a small tent in the house or in the backyard. Fill it with sleeping bags, pillows, flashlights and books. Gather the family in the tent and read together as a family.
Dramatic play is a fun way to retell stories. After reading a book as a family, retell the story by performing it on stage. Assign each family member a role from the story. Create costumes and props for the characters from items around the house. Clear a space in the living room to create the stage. Perform the story using the props you created. Record the performance so you can watch it as a family.
Children love to gather in bed with their parents. Dress everyone in their favorite pajamas and climb into bed for some reading time. Allow everyone to bring a few of their favorite books. If your kids are old enough to read, let them take turns reading to the family. Younger kids can practice telling stories based on the pictures in their favorite books.
Cook With a Book
Choose a book with a food theme. Read the book as a family before you head to the kitchen to cook your own dish. It could be a recipe that was mentioned in the book or a dish with a similar theme. Cooking as a family is enjoyable and educational. Teach the kids how to read a recipe and measure ingredients during this family reading night activity. You can also create a homemade cookbook of the family’s favorite recipes.
Books often lend themselves to a variety of craft activities. Plan a craft activity to make family reading night more exciting. Several generic book crafts will work for nearly any book. Some examples include designing a book jacket, making a book mark, painting a scene from the story or making puppets of the main characters.
Make a Book
If the kids are getting bored with the books on your bookshelf, use family reading night to make your own story. Take photographs of items that are special to your family. Take a walk around the neighborhood to snap some photos. You can select a specific theme or create a book based on general information about your family. Staple or tie several sheets of paper together. Paste the photos onto the pages and add words. Laminate the pages of the book before you bind them together if you want the book to last longer.
A trip to the library allows everyone in the family to select new books. It also offers the opportunity to teach children about locating books within the library. Check with your local library to see if they offer a family story hour. A trip to the book store is another option for family reading night. Allow each family member to pick a new book to enjoy.