Building a reading habit: Do the Challenge!

Mother reading with er child. Approx age 4/5

Hopefully, you’ve been following our discussion around the importance of building a reading habit in young learners. Ideally, you’ve also managed to encourage some parents of your students to take part in the Reading Together Challenge!  

Now, if none of this sounds familiar, please take a look at my previous blog post: Do the Reading Together Challenge! As part of this challenge, we’re looking at ways to get our young learners of English reading widely and often so that they develop a life-long love of reading. 

Reading—a gift for life 

Reading is the gift that keeps on giving. As competent readers, children will be better equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern world. In addition to building their vocabulary and understanding of how language works, they will also gain increased general knowledge, more awareness of other cultures, and greater empathy towards others, among many other benefits. 

Get everyone on board 

Developing a reading habit can’t happen overnight—it takes a little time to get kids into any kind of routine and reading for pleasure is no different. It also needs everyone to work together—the teachers, the parents, and the children themselves. That’s the best way to get results. 

Three ways parents can read together with their child 

Storytime is a lovely way for parents to bond with their children. It’s the first step in building a love of reading. There are three techniques for reading a story together. Parents can do all three at different times, depending on their child’s reading ability, or how their child is feeling on that day. 

  • Read the story to their child—great if their child is feeling tired, or if they aren’t yet reading. Parents can use the audiobook or the eBook if they don’t feel confident reading in English themselves 
  • Share the reading with their child—they can take turns reading parts of the story. This is fun and takes the pressure off the child knowing they don’t have to read the whole book themselves  
  • Listen as their child reads the story—they can guide their child as they read the story. This is perfect for times when the child wants to show how much they can read without the parent’s help 

Reading Together Challenge 

With this aim in mind, we’ve been having so much fun running the Reading Together Challenge. Every week, we’ve been posting a challenge for parents to do with their child as they read together. 

Each time their child completes a challenge, they can sign, stamp, or put a sticker on their Reading Together Stamp Card 

Reading Together Challenges 6 to 10 

We’re already at the half-way mark, which means it’s time for us to reveal the final five Reading Together Challenges. Here goes … 

WK Focus Read Together Challenge Notes
6 Features of the story                      Listening                                               &                                            Speaking skills Who is it?                                                                                      Play a game. Secretly pick a character from a story. Say one thing to describe them, for example, “She’s tall.” Challenge your child to guess who it is. Keep giving them clues until the get it. Then swap roles and play again.  Listening Skill: listening for specific information. Speaking skill: describing characters.                   Variations: Say somthing about the character’s: appearance/ personality/ actions/ feelings/ dialogue
7 Kinestehetic learning                       Movement                                            &                                                Creativity And… action!                                                                              Let your child choose their favorite scene from a story. Read it together, then act it out. Bonus points for using props or costumes! Movement: using role-play to understand and appreciate the story                                              Creativity: interpreting the story in a new way            Variations: Create a new scene in the story/ Create a new endning for the story
8             Text                                            Reading skills Reading Relay                                                                           From the first page, take it in turns to read passages of a story. When your child is ready to hand the reading over to you, they can say “Pass!” Keep passing the reading back and forth untill you get to the end of the story. Reading skill: building reading fluency                     Variations: Read a sentence each/ Read a page each
9               Text                                          Pronunciation Say it Again                                                                               Choose a short line of dialogue from a story and read it together with expression. The challenge your child to say the line again in different ways, for example, using quiet, loud, happy, sad or silly voice. Pronunciation: word stress, sentence stress and intonation                                                                 Variations: Use the audiobook to modle the line of dialogue at first
10 Features of a story                         Speaking skills What’s it about?                                                                        Challenge your child to tell someone else in the family about a story. Bonus points for doing it in English!  Speaking skill: summerizing the plot                    Variations: Include some information about the beginning, the middle and the end of the story

It’s not too late 

If you missed the first five challenges, you can still join in the fun! Parents can simply download the Reading Together Stamp Card and get started.  

Here’s a quick recap on the process: 

  • The challenges are designed to work with the  Disney Kids Readers,  but they should work with any storybook for young learners of English  
  • Each challenge targets a different learning focus. However, the most important thing is for parents and children to have fun and giggles as they cuddle up on the sofa to read together   
  • The challenges are designed to practice English language and literacy skills, but parents  do not  have to be fluent in English themselves to carry out these activities   
  • Where a challenge involves parents doing some of the reading, they can use the Disney Kids Audiobooks if they prefer not to read 

For more information, activities, and tips about reading together, you can download Reading with your child: A guide for parents and carers.  

 Have fun reading together, everyone! 

Learn more about Disney Kids Readers here.  

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