Fun and Engaging Ways to Build Reading Confidence

As a former Reading Recovery Teacher and Kindergarten teacher, I believe that building reading confidence starts at a very young age before our students come to school.  As a mother or father sings to a young baby, or reads a story before bedtime the love of reading and language itself begins. As we teach our students today, we realize that some of them have not engaged in the playfulness and wonder of language....and that is where our role begins.

  For K-2 students:

  •  Through Songs and Fingerplays--- As a Kindergarten Teacher, I sang songs with my students and did fingerplays to grab their attention. While we sing children learn color words, number words, prepositions, and rhyming words just as a start. Music is a wonderful way to reach those students who need to move and groove while learning language.
  • Simple Funny Stories with Easy Plots--- As I read an amusing story, children begin to notice the pictures, the rhythm of the language and how the story comes together. These skills greatly help them with the understanding that stories have a sequence and relate to the pictures.
  • Make Those Printables Kinesthetic --- By changing a worksheet into a kinesthetic activity or puzzle, children's interest changes so they become involved with a task and don't realize they are practicing a skill. I often pair Scentos Markers or Magnetic Letters with a worksheet to change the way of doing a skill. 
  • Games-- Games that repeat a skill or activity and can be played easily over and over again appeal to this age group: Bingo, Concentration, Memory, Tic-Tac-Toe, Games with pawns and an easy gameboard, writing on white boards and then showing the teacher are fun for this crowd !

For Intermediate students:

  •  Buddy read--- At this stage, if they are still struggling with reading, their desire to read the bigger chapter books and what their peers read is so great. At times, I will model read the beginning of the chapter for them. Next, they each read a part of a character or a narrator in the text. The task requires them to keep their focus on what their peers are reading but actively allows you to support their fluency, chunking of words, and understanding of the content in a supportive role. This is a favorite of my 5th graders !
  • Task cards-- Adding task cards to a reading session allows you to check in on a skill in an independent manner. They are constructed differently than worksheets and often give choices. This activity gives a student a chance to practice test-taking strategies and manipulate information in shorter chunks of texts so it is easier to focus and finish.
  • Reading books to siblings-- I allow my students to take extra books at lower levels to read aloud to their siblings. My ELL students love doing this. It is a bonus for the teachers too... as a sibling gets that early childhood experience from an older brother or sister. When the little brother/sister begins Kindergarten years later, he/she may find learning to read easier. ( I must admit all of my students enjoy this opportunity ! I often hear parents say how a child I taught was sitting with a younger brother or sister and teaching them to read.)
  • Art based activities-- when reading responses are combined with art, they often become detailed and focused because I am capitalizing on a student's strength.
  • Games--- my activities which include games often have a detailed paragraph for the student to read at this age range. Whether it is reading about character traits to determine which character those traits belong to or understanding the context of an unfamiliar vocabulary word within text, the students simply love it. As a teacher, I am able to see which reading strategies have been mastered, and which ones the group is still focusing on.


  1. I completely agree with making a printable more hands on! It is an easy thing to change with such a big impact on the kids!