Fun Reading Activities for Kindergarten: 15 Simple Ideas to Try

Text: 15 Fun Reading Activities for Kindergarten. Image shows a child using a star-shaped pointer while reading.

If you are looking for fun reading activities for kindergarten, look no farther. Your kids will love the activities in this post!

It’s just after lunch. I’m sitting in my chair, pointing to each of the words on the phonics chart. The children drone out the answers as I point. My head bobs and I start to wonder, “Is it nap time yet?” (To be honest, right after lunch is not my energetic time under the best of circumstances!)

After a few too many days like that, I realized I needed to change something and find some fun reading activities for kindergarten. If you have found yourself in the same boat, keep reading. I’ll share some of what I discovered.

How can I make reading activities fun for kindergarten?

First of all, choose activities that are fun for you. If you aren’t enjoying teaching reading, it will show – and the kids won’t have fun either. So pick books that you enjoy – favorite stories, books full of cool facts, anything you can have fun with!

But, I know, you have a curriculum you need to teach, and you don’t have much leeway in what you do. So then my advice is fake it ’til you make it. Do your best to act like the daily phonics routine is exciting. Teach it at your most energized time of day (so for me, not right after lunch!) Then pretend that you are having fun. (I’ll give more tips about that below.)

Your reading block probably has a lot of components to it. Let me break this up to share some of my favorite activities for various parts of the reading lesson.

Fun Books for Read Aloud Time

I’ll admit, read aloud time is my favorite time of day. For me, reading books to kids is just naturally fun. But I realize that’s not the case for everyone, so here are a few suggestions.

First, picks books you like. This is easiest for a “fun” read aloud time. There are so many good picture books out there, it should be easy to find a bunch that you love to share with your students. It is a bit trickier if you have an interactive read aloud curriculum that your school uses. Many of these curriculums include some high quality texts, so focus on using your favorites of these. And maybe every now and then you can swap out a text for one you like better.

Still building your list of favorite books? Consider looking at some engaging non-fiction (anything by Steve Jenkins is a great place to start.) Kids eat up the crazy facts in these books – the grosser, the better. Also, learn from the kids. Reread their old favorites (or their recommendations.) They generally know a good book when they hear it! 

Finally, with little ones, you can’t go wrong with a book that has a choral response. Think the chorus in The Gingerbread Man or the wolf’s threat in The Three Little Pigs. Other examples include The Napping House; Bob, Not Bob; or Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

Photo of 5 silly books - the foundation of fun reading activities (Silly Sally; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Scaredy Squirrel; Tomorrow's Alphabet; How to Find a Fox).

Fun Activities for Read Aloud Time

So beyond picking fun books, are there other fun reading activities for kindergarten read aloud time? There sure are! Here are a few of my favorites.

Act It Out

One fun activity is to act out the story. This clearly works well for a variety of traditional tales. One of my favorite stories to dramatize is The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Those kindergarten tables make an awesome bridge – one child can hide below and shout out at the ones who cross the bridge above. Students can help retell the story, building their retelling skills. This will become a favorite activity in your classroom.

Build in Some Critical Thinking

Get your kids engaged by adding some critical thinking questions from time to time. This interview with Colin Seale gives some great examples about how to add some challenging questions to your conversations. An example of this could be asking “Was it OK for the bears to scare Goldilocks away? Why or why not?” Open ended questions like this (with no correct answer) allow children to “think like lawyers” and justify their thinking.

Take It Outside

A simple way to spice up your read-aloud is to read the book outside – or in the hallway, or with the lights off (with a flashlight for the teacher). Do something a little different to add some novelty to your story time.

Fun Activities for Shared or Choral Reading – or Phonics

Sometimes shared reading (or reading phonics words) can feel super boring. The following ideas can help make even these routines feel like fun reading activities in kindergarten – or in older grades, too!

Read Like a…

The tricky part with shared reading (or reading phonics lists) is that everyone is reading the same stuff at the same time. This can lend itself to monotonous reading – and the tedium of doing the same thing day after day.

Spice up these choral readings activities by using silly voices. Students love to “read it like a mouse” – or a monster, fairy, pirate, ghost, or any other crazy character you can think of. Changing voices is often just what kids need to turn these shared reading into fun reading activities – not boring.

Silly Sentences

We all know that decodable sentences don’t always make the most sense. There are only so many words that follow a given pattern.

So take advantage of that and make the occasional intentionally silly sentence. (For instance: My dad can’t sing, but my dog can.) Play it cool as your kids read it, then watch their reaction as they realize what they just read. 

Alternatively, make a mistake in your sentence from time to time, and challenge the kids to find the sentence with the mistake. (For instance: The big pig ran (to) the pen.)

How can you make your reading group more fun?

Just like any other reading activity, start by picking engaging books as often as you can. (It’s important that the book is engaging to you and the kids. Maybe it’s about a favorite topic, has amazing pictures, or an unexpected ending.)

Then, build a reading group routine and stick with it – except when you don’t. Having a routine keeps your small group lesson to go smoothly. When kids know they routine, they stay engaged and work more efficiently.

But, it’s OK to mix it up a teensy bit from time to time. Pick one tiny part of your lesson and do something different:

  • read with silly voices – or work on character voices
  • read on the floor
  • use a fun pointer (a witch finger, popsicle stick with a googly eye or sticker, a mini star wand)
  • read by flashlight
  • during your word work switch between white boards, letter magnets, letter cards

One favorite fun reading activity is using a homemade pointer while reading.

Make Independent Reading Fun

Just like any other reading time during the day, engaging books are a key part of making independent reading fun in kindergarten. Offer familiar books, books with awesome pictures, silly books, or books with crazy non-fiction facts.

In addition to fun books, offer fun places to read. This might include pillows, reading under desks, scoop chairs, little lawn chairs, or whatever your students will enjoy.

Allow students to do partner reading. Of course reading is more fun with a friend – why do you think adults have book clubs? ( OK – no wine in school…)

Partner reading can be fun with books with lots of dialogue – like Elephant and Piggie books. Kids can “be” the characters as they read.

Readers’ Theater scripts can also be fun for partner reading. Added bonus: readers’ theater scripts are perfect for building fluency. This best-selling set of Readers’ Theater scripts will certainly be loved by your students. 

Photo of color-coded Readers' Theater Script. This is one of many fun reading activities for kindergarten.

Another way to make reading fun in kindergarten is to allow students to make book recommendations for their classmates. This could be in the form of posters or videos. 

Display the recommendations in your library, or add a QR code to the front of the book. Nothing “sells” a book so much a knowing that a friend loved it!

Hopefully you have found some new fun reading activities for kindergarten among this list. Most of them are easy (and free) to implement, so try something out today!

And if I missed one of your favorites, let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for fun new teaching ideas!

Text: 15 Fun Reading Activities for Kindergarten. Image shows a child using a star-shaped pointer while reading.

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