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15 Reading Materials That Aren't Books

Try these creative ways to use all kinds of print to read with your kids.
on October 17, 2013
 

When we think of reading, most of us immediately think of stories, especially books. But there are many other types of reading materials that children can use to practice their developing reading skills. How many of these forms of print have you read with your children?

  1. Magazines. There are lots of great magazines for kids, both at the newsstand and available for digital downloads.
  2. Comics. Don't discount the power of comics to hook kids on reading. They are a great way to teach your children about the back and forth of dialog.
  3. Manuals. For kids who want to know how things work, manuals for things like cars, lawnmowers, and appliances can be great options -- and they build vocabulary, too.
  4. Newspapers. If you are worried about exposing your child to news articles about crime or traumatic events, choose a local community newspaper or give your child a specific section to read that you've already vetted.
  5. Poetry. Grab a collection of poems or sit down and write some with your children. Rhyming is an important skill for reading, and having your children write poems on their own is a great way to build that skill.
  6. Travel Brochures. They can plan fantasy vacations and learn a bit of geography, too.
  7. Encyclopedias. Did you read encyclopedias as a kid? Your child might have to read them online, but that's OK, too. Start with a subject and see where it takes the two of you.
  8. Sports Programs. Hold on to the programs that you are given at sporting events and let your kids read and reread about their favorite athletes and teams.
  9. Catalogs. Many catalogs now are so much more than just products and quick descriptions. Have your child make wish lists and fit in a little writing, too.
  10. Recipes. Cook with your kids and take turns reading the ingredients and instructions. This is a great example of real-life reading for kids of any age.
  11. Dictionaries. You might be hard pressed to convince your children to read a dictionary from cover to cover, but give them a challenge like: "Find a new word that starts with 'r'" or "Find a word with 13 letters" and they will end up doing a lot of reading with a plain old dictionary.
  12. Play Scripts. Explore what it might be like to be on screen or stage by reading a few scripts together. You can even put on a play after reading them.
  13. Atlases. Atlases are packed with a wealth of reference information. Not only can your child map out a great adventure, but she can also read about land formations, population, and more.
  14. Road Signs. Kids start recognizing familiar signs at an early age. Keep that knowledge of environmental print going by playing sign games on road trips.
  15. Books They Write! Nothing is as powerful as reading their own writing. Encourage your child to write, and his reading will get a boost, too.


Do your children like to read something we didn't list here? Tell us on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page and we'll keep adding ideas to this list.

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Get the latest advice, tips, and resources on helping your child read at every age and every stage. Each week, find kids' book reviews, ways to extend the reading experience, and tips on how to spark a reader's interests from our expert contributors and editors.

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