How to

Reading activities to extend children’s learning

Here are some activities for children to do that deepen and extend their experiences of the books they read. Some of the ideas are suitable for all ages while some are better suited to older children.

Things to do before reading

  • Sing a song or say a rhyme linked to the content of the story.
  • Spend some time looking at the information and illustration on a picture-book cover. Ask your children to use the book title and illustration to predict what the story is about. (You can follow this up after reading the book by asking your children to think about how accurate their predictions were!)
  • Older children often enjoy finding out more about the author or where the story is set. (You can do this as an ‘after’ activity too!)

Things to do during reading

  • As you read, help develop your children’s prediction skills by asking, ‘What do you think will happen next?’.
  • Ask your children to comment on the illustrations or to find particular people or objects in the pictures.
  • If children can already read, take turns in reading different parts of the story.
  • Encourage younger children to join in with pretend-reading (or reciting) parts of stories that they know well.

Things to do after reading

  • Invite younger children to draw a picture of the part of the story that they liked best. Ask older children to draw a map of where the story is set.
  • Ask older children what they liked about the book and if there is anything they wished was different.
  • Act out the story or a portion of it together.
  • Get children writing! Let them write a letter or type an email to the author and actually send it! (You can do this by sending the letter to the publisher of the book who will pass it on to the author.) Suggest that they write a poem describing one of the characters or write a review of the book, which we could feature in ourbook review section.