Tired of your child asking you to read the same book every night at bedtime? Take a creative approach to read aloud time to get yourself and the kids excited about books and reading with these 45 fun read aloud suggestions.
You’re tired and can’t stop thinking about the cup of tea that you might actually get to drink while it’s hot, after you sink into the sofa to watch watch something mindless on the TV. One thing stands between you and child free bliss…the bedtime routine. Bath time is done and the apple of your eye is cozy in their pjs, there’s just story and lights out to go. Your child pads into the room bearing…the same picture book that you’ve read aloud for the past 227 nights!
I empathise. In fact, if they were giving out awards for the most children’s stories an adult can recite by heart without even opening the book cover, I would have to be in with a chance of claiming that prize!
While I love reading with my girls (so much so that I continue to read aloud with my ten year old independent reader), there is no denying that some evenings it feels like a chore – another item to tick off the bedtime routine list. And none more so than when I’m tired and my five year old asks me to read whichever picture book she is currently obsessed with, for the 423rd time in a row.
We’ve been through so many – the green sheep, Pigeon, Hairy Maclary and his mates, Olivia the Pig, Charlie and Lola, every Aaron Blabey picture book in existence…I am pretty sure I could recite Mr McGee and the Blackberry Jam in my sleep and that one hasn’t even been in rotation for years now!
Right now it’s the always fabulous Fancy Nancy…again!
Why Re-Reading the Same Book Matters
Despite the tens of thousands of fabulous picture books in the world, a child will return to his or her favourites time and again. Re-reading familiar stories is valuable to your child’s literacy development. With each reading, a child will focus on a different element of the story, whether it be the vocabulary, the rhythm and rhyme, the illustrations, plot, setting, story conflict, characters – there really is a lot to absorb, and with each re-reading the child makes a deeper connection with what they are hearing, seeing or reading.
Familiarity with the story encourages pre-readers to take risks too – engaging with the text as they join in the re-telling of the story from memory. For early readers, you’ll often find that they are following along with the words in the text as you read.
But what is a parent to do when presented with a copy of Wacky Wednesday for the 333rd time?
Today I am sharing 45 fun read aloud ideas that I hope will help you to resist the autopilot of re-reading (even when the couch is calling!) and make it fun again for everyone – these ideas are fun, frivolous and at least a few are just a little bit foolish, and I am certain they will successfully revamp up your read aloud time so it becomes simply the best part of your day.
45 Fun Read Aloud Ideas
1. Read while the kids are in the bath tub – who says read aloud has to happen at bedtime anyway?
2. Read at breakfast
3. Have your child/ren act out the story as you read
4. Read with a funny voice – a posh princess, a bumblebee or a deep sea diver are all fun!
5. Make craft stick puppets and retell the story together instead of reading
6. Read in a hammock
7. Wear funny glasses as you read – call them your magic reading glasses!
8. Take blankets outside to make a big bed on the trampoline. Snuggle down and read.
9. Resist rushing through the story, pause to ask questions about the story as you read instead
10. Add some super cool sound effects to your read aloud
11. Ask your child to ring a bell so you know it’s time to turn the page, just like they do in the CD/book sets. This is great for encouraging early readers to follow along with the text as you read.
12. Make up funny actions to accompany the story
13. Read while your child draws or colours
14. Read by torchlight
15. Offer to read one of your favourite childhood books this time
16. Put on a hand puppet (or use a sock as a puppet) and have it read the story to your child
17. Listen to an audio story version of the book together
18. For books featuring chants or rhyme, pause before the rhyming word so your child can fill in the missing word
19. Make a video of you reading the story aloud and watch it together
20. Read really, really slowly or really, really fast
21. Send a copy of the book to grandma and have her read it via FaceTime or over the phone
22. Sing the story
23. Read by candlelight
24. Echo read together. You read a phrase and your child echoes it back to you
25. Mix up the words as you read so your child has to correct you
26. Rename a main character with your child’s name and read with them as part of the story
27. Channel your inner actor and read with a particularly dramatic flair
28. Make a play fort lined with lots of cushions and read in comfort
29. When reading to your beginning or independent reader, take turns reading a sentence or a page each
30. Let your child read the story to you, chances are even your pre-reader knows the words of their favourite book perfectly!
31. Or have them read it to the family pet
32. Or a life sized book character
33. Make up your own oral story using the book as inspiration
34. Make a tin can telephone and read across the room or the yard
35. Make a whisper phone and invite your child to listen to themselves read the story
36. Invite your child to read aloud the character parts for one main character
37. As you read invite your child to draw a map of the story’s setting
38. Have an older sibling read to your younger child
39. Chorus read in unison with your early reader
40. Use soft toys as the characters to act out the story as you read
41. Dress up as a character from the book and have fun reading in character
42. Search the pages for a letter or word your early reader know. Count how many instances of that letter/word you find
43. Make up quiz clues about the story and ask your child to find the part of the book where you can find the answer to each
44. Read like you are reading the news
45. Buy a new book that you know your child would laugh and convince them to donate the old one to a younger cousin or friend!
P.S. Many of these ideas will also work well to encourage and interest kids who aren’t keen on sitting and listening at read aloud time.
P.P.S. Not just for home, why not share this list with a teacher or two for use in the classroom – or as a resource they can pass on to parents.