Beyond books: 6 fun things for kids to read

In school, kids have to read all day. So they might not want to read traditional books at home, especially if reading is hard for them. But there are lots of other things kids can read to get their practice in — and even have fun doing it. Here are six ideas.

1. Comic books and graphic novels

Illustration rules when it comes to comics and graphic novels. But words still carry the story along. For kids who have trouble with reading, images and graphics make it easier to follow the action. Plus the text is broken down into bite-size segments.

Comics and graphic novels are entertaining, too. If your child is drawn to them instead of traditional books, don’t stand in the way. They offer lots of reading practice — and great illustrations, too.

2. Social media and websites

You may not realize it, but kids who love spending time on social media are already doing a lot of reading. Even if the posts or tweets are short, they still count. Turn that interest into a fun assignment. For example, if your child is into sports, make giving you a daily highlight an assignment. Have your child follow a website like Sports Center, or a sports blog to give updates. You’ll send the message that reading is everywhere.

3. Jokes

Everyone loves a good laugh. And if kids can get that by reading, it’s a big plus. For struggling readers, joke books (or kid-friendly websites about jokes) can be a cool way to practice. Jokes are also an exercise in reading accurately with the right expression or tone (called reading fluency).

Explain that comedy is all about timing. This can encourage kids to read jokes and practice for a perfect delivery. Then have your child share the jokes with friends and family.

4. Cookbooks, menus, and online recipes

If your child loves cooking and food, menus and recipes are a great way to practice reading. Help your child have fun with it. Come up with a cooking project together and read through some recipes for ideas. Or have your child research menus online to create an ideal menu for a future restaurant.

5. Magazines and newspapers

Kids who resist books may not be as wary of a shorter format like news articles, whether it’s the paper version or online. Even browsing headlines or TV listings is good reading practice. 

Model this by reading newspapers and magazines yourself. Or read out loud together. You can each find a news item each day to share.

6. Audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks and reading digital books is just as valuable for kids as reading traditional books. If your child loves technology, download a few books. Sometimes, just the difference in format is exciting enough to be engaging. There are lots of free digital book apps, but you may have to pay for the books themselves.

For more ideas, check out 13 books our community recommends.

Key takeaways

  • Kids don’t have to read traditional books to practice reading.

  • Practicing jokes can help kids become more fluent readers.

  • Audiobooks are just as valuable as traditional books.


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