10 Non-Book Ways to Get Your Child Reading
1. Make cards. Have your child make her own cards for holidays, birthdays, party invitations, and thank-yous. Help her write a personal message to each recipient.
2. Collect trading cards. There are card series to appeal to most interests, from sports to space travel, Yu-Gi-Oh! to Beanie Babies.
3. Learn “how to.” Is there something your child would really like to do, such as perform magic tricks or add sequins to her jeans? Encourage her to find out how by reading about it.
4. Get cooking. Invite your child to help you bake a cake or a special meal together. If necessary, simplify and rewrite a recipe's instructions so he can read it to you.
5. Play board games. Scrabble or Boggle are specifically good for building vocabulary and spelling.
6. Create signs and labels. Help your early reader build his vocabulary by creating stickers or signs for his room that identify toys or furniture: "bike," "desk," etc.
7. Take a road trip. Write down travel directions and have your child serve as navigator when you drive. Give your co-pilot a map before you go, and ask her to mark the route according to the directions.
8. Put on a play. You can perform the play for a special celebration or family party. Help your child find an appealing script or create one together based on a favorite movie. Remind your child that he must memorize his lines by reading them over and over.
9. Write messages for your child. Even if you spend hours together in the same room, there are many reasons to write to your child. Drop a letter in her school bag or email her a joke she can forward to her friends. Post a list of chores on the refrigerator, and write family news or appointments on a wall calendar.
10. Host a scavenger hunt. Make a list of items that your child and his friends need to find inside your house or around the neighborhood. Provide written clues that lead to the treasures.