But before I tell you about the game, I want to give you some context…
This is not a reading log. I very much dislike reading logs for kids because, in my experience, they do more harm than good. (See links to research below.)
My own kids despised them — and I watched as their interest in reading declined and declined because of reading logs. Not to mention that instead of reading for hours like they used to, they’d read for the specified homework time of 20 minutes then do their log and STOP reading.
Which is not okay.
And why I’m always looking for meaningful ways to engage kids in books — ways that don’t become dreaded chores to check off their to-do list.
As I consider what works for my own kids AND what works for me as an adult reader, I think so much boils down to choice. Choice and freedom.
Reading assigned books has a place but it’s constraining and not generally very motivating. At least, not until you fall in love with the assigned book. Which only sometimes happens.
I think this is why a lot of my former book clubs turned into dinner and wine clubs. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to read a book someone else picks for you. Do you notice this, too?
But that’s not always the case either.
The beauty of our world — and the infinite trickiness in parenting and teaching — is that we all are unique. There is no one size fits all approach for growing a reader, growing a decent human being, growing a thriving child, or being an adult.
Perhaps that’s not your experience. But it’s been mine. Particularly when raising two children who between them have neurological differences, physical issues, and chronic illnesses. It meant I had to throw out what I thought I knew and try my best to figure out what would work for each of my individual children.
It’s supremely humbling.
And frankly, it made it hard for me to give too much advice on this blog for many years. I’m still growing back into my confidence in sharing and advising.
So I’ll start with a few things I do know for sure.
Kids need to read to become better readers.
It helps if they love stories.
It also helps if we read books aloud to them. A lot.
Not to mention, it really helps have our house filled with books.
Choice about what to read with support at home is essential.
We must give them free time for reading!
Reading Bingo For Elementary & Middle School Kids Ages 7 to 13
I’m hoping that this Reading Bingo game will help your kids get excited in a new way about reading and books. My goal is to give you another fun way to engage children with books this year.
Not to mention, wouldn’t this be fun to do using your own grown-up books? (Alongside your kids!)
Any reader ages 7 to teen can use this downloadable Bingo activity for any book, especially fiction books.
Unlike my previous Reading Challenges printable, this Reading Bingo game includes different reading strategies to help kids read closely and deeply.
You’ll find tasks like visualize, find a new word, reread a confusing part, and so forth on this Bingo board.
But you’ll also find activities like read in bed or tell someone about your book.
Want to give it a try?
All that being said, if you want to make your own Reading Bingo Game and fill in the squares yourself, here’s a blank bingo board you can print out.
It’s ready for you to write in your own fun reading ideas!
Don’t worry if this is not appealing to your kids.
What will work for each of the children in your life? Sometimes it’s trial and error and a lot of creative thinking. Because what works for one doesn’t work for the other.
Start by visiting the bookstore. I personally like to give my kids a $50 budget for books on each trip. Not because we’re rich but because I value books over just about anything else.
Kids also love to visit the library Even better if you let them fill up an entire tote bag without censoring their choices.
You might download audiobooks on your phone and listen to them in the car.
I know you’re going to keep trying. And doing all the things. Because we want our kids to love reading and read often.
Remember, what works today may not work next year and that’s okay. You will keep watching your kids’ personalities and interests and be a creative problem solver. I just know it.