Teaching children at an early age to be interested in reading is something they'll carry with them as they get older. The following tried-and-true activities will help your kids learn to enjoy reading.

  1. Preschoolers enjoy listening to cassettes or CDs while they read, especially when it's their voice. Read a story with your child and make a recording of it. For example, the parent reads the story and at a certain point in the book the child can read a line. Have a copy of the recording and the book on hand so they can listen to the tape/CD and read along by themselves.
  2. Set up a library in your home to teach your children about libraries and to show them the variety of reading materials available. Let your child take a turn being the librarian. Make a list of your child's different interests and look for books on those subjects. Stock your library with picture books, story books, magazines, greeting cards, atlases, song books and pamphlets.
  3. Hang index cards around your house to name different items. For example, hang the cards on a shelf, the wall, the door, a clock and a desk. A part of reading is memorizing the words. When your child can see the word every day, he'll learn to read that word easier.
  4. Grouping coupons is another fun reading activity. This teaches kids to read different words, such as milk, chicken, corn and juice. When they learn these words from the coupon, they'll remember the word when they see it elsewhere.
  5. Make printouts of street signs. Show them how S-T-O-P means "Stop." Street signs teach them words such as "bridge," "school," "slow" and "turn." While they're outside or riding in a car, they'll see the signs and remember these words. They'll later associate those words when they see them in books.
  6. Make books together:
    • The "Alphabet Book" is a fun and popular activity for preschoolers. Associating the word and the letter sound to the picture is the first step to learning to read.
    • Make a "Cereal Book." Collect cereal boxes and read different parts of the box with your child. Cut the words out and paste in the book.
  7. Have a reading picnic in the living room! Use a picnic basket, lunchbox or cooler and paper plates. Lay out a blanket and serve sandwiches, juice and fruit. Have your child choose several books to read and make an afternoon of it. Create fond memories by making it a "teddy bear reading picnic" or a "beach time reading picnic," and reading books about teddy bears or families at the beach.
  8. Teach your children some words in sign language. Show them how to make the sign while you say the word. Young children pick up sign language rather quickly. When you're reading a story and see the word that you've taught, act the word out in sign as you read it. Check out the American Sign Language Browser at http://aslbrowser.commtechlab.msu.edu/ for videos of signs/words.
  9. Read the book, A New Home for Snowball, by Joan Bowden. This book tells the story of a child who built a house for his pet, Snowball, and was trying to find the perfect word to put above his door. He realized the perfect word was, "Snowball." After you read the story, make a sign for your child's wall or a name plate for her door. Make a "favorites list" using her name by taking each letter of her name and writing a word of something she enjoys. For example, Megan is: Monkeys Eggs Giraffe Angel Naps.

Source : Charlotte Hopkins is a mother, freelance writer and job coach from West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.