Encouraging early reading at home gives every child a great start in school. In this section we offer some helpful advice in encouraging early reading using fun activities for children that turn play into learning and help to establish an interest in reading from the very start.
Encouraging Early Reading
Parents are very aware of the importance of encouraging their children to read and of developing a love of books. Sharing a good story, talking about loved characters and enjoying books together create treasured moments.
Parents are constantly asking themselves how they can encourage their children to read and more importantly, to enjoy it. Making reading fun and exciting will help children to see it as a worthy use of their time; choosing to pick up a book rather than watching the TV.
Activities away from the TV or the computer are obviously essential, especially for the imagination. Below are some suggestions to encourage your child to read at home. These include several ideas of games and activities, based on the Jonnie Rocket books:
Having read a favourite story with your child, help them to make or gather props that can be used to retell the story.
A Jonnie Rocket story sack may include:
- A Jonnie Rocket puppet.
- A toy bicycle or model made by the child.
- A space scene: tin foil, mirrors, play dough and sand paper are great materials to use.
- Space craft: use boxes, yoghurt pots and other recycled materials to create rockets and space ships.
Help your child to make puppets of their favourite Jonnie Rocket characters. These may be sock puppets, wooden spoon puppets, finger puppets or something more elaborate. A Jonnie Rocket puppet may also be made from papier mâché. They will all provide much pleasure for your child as they retell the story using the puppets.
Comic Book Stories
Your child may want to create their own Jonnie Rocket story in comic book format, taking Jonnie off on another adventure. Comic books are a visually exciting method of storytelling. They allow all children to access the story at some level, even without the ability to read the text. Encourage your child to draw their own comic book stories, using their imagination to take their characters on new and exciting adventures. This may be something that they can persuade their friends to do as well, providing a perfect opportunity for them to swap their stories and enjoy their creations.
Book Based Games
Using your child’s Jonnie Rocket book, help them to create a game which follows the story plot. Jonnie Rocket can be made into an adventure game, using a ‘snakes and ladders’ format. In this example, landing on a rocket takes the counter upwards, whereas landing on an enemy space craft sends it crashing down again. In addition the game may include penalty cards which impose turns missed due to rockets failing to launch, bicycle punctures that require repair or Mum preventing a bicycle adventure while Jonnie’s bedroom is tidied! Penalties could also be issued if they lose against aliens, financial fines imposed if they have to repair their space-ship or turns missed if they get caught by the space pirates!
Organise a tea party with the theme of Jonnie Rocket. Invite a few friends to dress up as space characters and provide food which is themed and exciting. Space is always an exciting theme to organise. Your child will love helping to decorate for the occasion. Food ideas: flying saucer pizzas, moon balls made from cheese, alien ‘goo’ jelly, star shaped biscuits, chocolate moon rock cookies or Martian marshmallow treats.