4 Ways Humor Enhances Literacy for Kids

Books that your children find funny can play a big role in developing and enjoying their reading.

By Jodie Rodriguez
Feb 08, 2018




Feb 08, 2018

A daily dose of laughter from reading funny books is good for the soul — and great for growing readers. Naturally, most children enjoy reading and listening to humorous stories. As parents, we can use this interest in silly books to boost literacy skills. Here are four benefits of kids reading books that make them laugh.

1. Helps Kids Fall in Love With Books

On the most basic level, kids who read or listen to funny books and enjoy them will associate the act of reading as being fun. This is especially important when matching books to struggling or reluctant readers, as it's a great way to help kids connect and fall in love with books.

I often think of There Is a Bird On Your Head by Mo Willems, which is geared toward young children and beginning readers. It's a book in which two characters go back and forth about birds nesting on top of Gerald's head. It is so comical and entertaining. I haven't seen a group of kids listen to it without laughing.

2. Motivates Kids to Read

Kids who already enjoy listening to or reading books are more motivated to read, especially if given the choice of which books they read. Reluctant and struggling readers, in particular, need to find books that hook them in and keep their interest. As adults, the potty humor in Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey has the potential to entice a child to want to read the whole series.

Think about going to a dinner party at your best friend's house. If you are laughing, enjoying the food, and curious about how the evening will unfold, chances are you're going to want to stick around.

It's the same with reading a funny book. Kids are laughing, enjoying all the silly happenings, and can't wait to find out what will happen next, so they want to keep reading.

3. Enhances Comprehension

We tend to remember information that is associated with a certain emotion or sensory triggers. The part you probably remember from the last trip to the ice skating rink was when Daddy fell and caused a chain reaction of falling skaters. Or, perhaps you remember your last birthday because your friends dug up all the pictures of you from years ago with your crazy hairdos. We remember these parts of the stories because they make us laugh.

When kids read funny stories, they relate to the events of the book and that helps them remember more of what happened in the story. Funny books generally contain a lot of dialogue too, which helps kids connect with the characters in the story.

4. Helps Kids Deal With Difficult Situations

A challenging situation can often be lightened with a little humor. It helps break the tension and creates dialogue to tackle the problem. Laughter is also a bonding activity that aids in developing trust so that open communication can take place regarding the difficult situation.

The laughter can come from funny books where characters grapple with the same tough topics the reader is facing. Those life events and curveballs might include divorce, death, or peer issues. All of us can often see the lighter side of our problem through humor.

Need some funny book ideas to share with your kids? Here are a few book lists to get you started:

Grab a stack of funny books and let your child's love for reading grow one giggle at a time!

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at Growing Book by Book.

Featured Photo Credit: © PRImageFactory/Thinkstock

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