5 Ways to Read at Home Without Books

With schools, libraries, and bookstores closed during the coronavirus pandemic, many families may be stuck at home without enough books. How can kids practice reading at home if they don't have books? Of course, eBooks are a great option for families, but there are other ways, too.

  1. Write and tell your own stories. Younger children will enjoy making up a story while you write it down. Then you can read it back together. Older kids may be interested in family stories if you write them down for them to read. Even if you don't write the stories down, storytelling and listening are both important literacy skills. 
  2. Turn the captions on. If you're watching television or movies, turn the captions on and draw attention to them as you watch. They may go by too quickly for young children, but you can pause and read a line together, or write some keywords to come back to when the show is over. For older children, see if you can find a world language movie or television channel (many DVDs have foreign language tracks) and turn the subtitles on. 
  3. Make lists. Reading is not just for fun. It's functional, too. In the morning, write a list of things to do and read it back throughout the day. You can also make lists of supplies you need, people to call and check in on, and things you want to do when the shelter-in-place order is lifted. 
  4. Sing. Karaoke is reading! Write down the lyrics to favorite songs and read them back as you sing. Singing also helps us hear the sounds in words, which helps us to be better readers. 
  5. Hunt for words. Words are everywhere! Challenge your kids to find and read words all over your home. How many can they find? If you take a walk, you'll find even more words on street signs, yard signs, billboards, and storefronts. 

These suggestions won't fully take the place of books -- nothing could. Hopefully, you'll find these activities fun and we'll be able to return to our libraries soon.