Fun Ways to Encourage Literacy in Kids

Fun Ways to Encourage Literacy in Kids

Help kids of any age enjoy reading and writing more than ever before.

By Lorraine Allen

If a person can read and write well, he or she will be able to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings effectively to others. Strong literacy skills also allow kids to understand and absorb things that are presented to them through books and speech. And while some kids form a love for words and stories early on, many others struggle. But no matter your kid’s age, there are many creative ways you can encourage them. Here are some ideas:

To make writing more exciting, have kids pen some silly notes to friends or family, and receive some back in return. For little kids, a trip to the mailbox and post office to buy stamps is a real treat. This writing activity works well with tweens with their BFFs, too. A great way to encourage this is to give them personalized notepads, or stationery, as a next birthday gift. For older kids, a foreign pen pal is a unique way to encourage writing for fun, and can give them a sense of how others live, too. For kids of all ages, a journal or diary is a nice way to promote writing down private thoughts, using words for self-reflection and even stress release.

To spark a greater interest in books, the librarian at my daughter’s school suggests kids read across all genres – graphic novels, poetry, non-fiction, magic realism, and even newspapers and kid-centric magazines as well. Offering a wide choice of types of things to read will spark interest in even the most reluctant reader, she has found, and as far as I can tell, it works very well!

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If a child is having a hard time choosing or deciding on something to read, try picking a story that is also available as a movie or TV show. This can act as an extra incentive, if you promise to watch the movie or show with your child after he or she reads the book. Kids also learn a lot about character development, relationships, and story structure by comparing the movie to the book, and discussing which they liked better, and why.


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For younger kids, try reading books together with dialogue, and each (parent and child) pick funny or weird character voices to use out loud. This brings a story to life in a whole new way, and engages kids as readers on a new level, too. Kids’ interest is also sparked by reading recipes when you bake or cook together, or playing the alphabet or the state license plate games when you're driving or walking around town. Puzzles, word games, crosswords, hidden word games, and word-play board games also promote literacy in kids of all ages in fun ways.

How do you encourage your kids to read more?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

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