10 Simple Ways to Extend Reading Time

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By extending your reading time, you can help your children develop a love of reading. You’ll help them dive into topics, explore characters, and really understand the theme of a book.

Reading extension activities don’t have to be elaborate. In fact, simple activities often work best. The goal is to help your children get more out of a book than they would by just reading it.

So here are ten simple ideas for you to try. They’re flexible enough to work for readers of all ages for any book.

You can try them all and see which ones your kids like best.


1. Drawing

This is my go-to extension for any reading time. During a read aloud, have your kids grab paper and crayons. While they listen, they’re free to draw anything inspired by the book.

Here are some ideas for you if they need help getting started:


 The setting

 A favorite event

 Illustrate a vocabulary word

It’s so fun to see books brought to life through the imagination of young readers.

After you’re finished reading, have a sharing time. Let your children share their drawings and explain what they drew. Take some time to discuss and compare pictures. It’s a good time to talk about how different people pick up different things from the story.


2. Make a Menu

Taking time to cook a meal inspired by a book isn’t a simple activity. But, making a menu is!

Have your kids sit together and brainstorm foods the characters would have eaten. Then see if they can create a balanced menu idea from those choices.

You can discuss how food choices change based on time and location.

If your kids are interested, you can have them draw out their menu on a paper plate. This way they can see the food and decide if any more (or less) is needed.

At some point, you can extend this activity even further by actually cooking a meal from a book. This experience uses multiple senses and is something your children will remember.


3. Design a Costume

With a little imagination, children can create costumes from just about anything. Challenge them to use what you have around the house to design a costume similar to something worn in the book.

You can even have a costume part or fashion show when everyone is finished!


4. Find Locations on a Map

An easy way to extend reading time into a geography lesson is to find the setting on a map. Then, you can use the internet to learn more about each location.

If the location is make-believe, ask your kids to create a map. What do they think it looks like there? The author often provides clues; so they can go back in the story and reread for more details.


5. Alternate Endings

Each choice a character makes along the way helps lead the story to its conclusion. So, what would have happened if a different choice had been made?

Talk through several “what if” scenarios for the story. If the character did something different, how would that change the ending? You can have your child write an alternate ending during Family Writing Time. Or, you can listen to your child tell you another way the story could end.


6. Mix Up the Setting

How would Cinderella be different if it took place in modern times? What would happen to Peter if Neverland got moved to the bottom of the sea?

The setting plays an important, though not always considered, role in each story. Mix it up with your child. Talk about how events would change based on the location and time period of the book.

This is a fun activity to draw pictures for.


7. Make a Comic Strip

Do your children enjoy reading graphic novels or comic books? Using paper and a ruler to create boxes, have them turn a scene from the story into a comic strip.

Share your results when you’re done. You may even decide to make more and turn the whole story into a comic.


8. Bring it to Life

Can you turn the story into a play? Ask your children to recreate a favorite scene, or work as a family to act out the whole thing.

You can use simple props and costumes. You could even set up your phone and record a film of their acting.


9. Read Different Books by the Same Author

Did your child really enjoy a book? Take a few moments and see if you can find other books by the same author.

After reading additional books, have a quick author study. Are there any similarities in style between the two? Which book was your child’s favorite, and why?


10. Lego Build

Bring out the LEGOs and ask your children to build something from the story. Can they make the main character’s house? Or create a whole scene? You can also challenge them to create a flat picture out of LEGOs.

Let them flip through the book and see what inspires them to build. This is another activity that’s fun to share when you’re done.


How do you extend reading time?

What other simple activities do you use to extend reading time?



Lisa Tanner is a homeschooling mom of eight. She loves writing about balancing diapers and deadlines, and ways to make learning fun.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).