10 fun ways to make reading interactive

Published on: 29 January 2024

BookTrust’s Writer in Residence Michelle Robinson knows how to make playing with books super fun! 

There are some absolutely wonderful interactive books out there – from classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Peepo to more recent titles like Press Here, There Are Cats in This Book and You Choose. Interactive books are so much fun to share because, as well as being fun to read together, they have an extra layer of entertainment.  

But what if there are no interactive books on your shelf, or theyve all been checked out of the library when you visit? No problem! Here are some fun ways to make absolutely any book interactive. They should work with multiple children, or just one child. 

1. Can You Spot ? 

Decide on a character or item in the book to keep track of as you read the book. Look out for it every time you turn the page. You can make it an obvious character who appears often, a background item like birds in the sky, or windows in buildings. You might just try looking for something purple. 

2. Road to Reading 

If your young reader is vehicle obsessed, let them play with their toy cars while reading. Lean a sturdy book against a pile of others and roll toy cars down it. Make a tunnel underneath a book and whoosh a car through it. Lie books on the floor in rows and make roads between them. When youre done, dont forget to read the book(s) together! 

3. Rhythmical Read 

Again, sturdy board books are best for this. Lie them flat on the floor with their covers closed. Give them a good pat-a-pat-slap with your fingertips or palms. Make a rhythm as you tap-tap-tap. Repeat the books title as a chant. When youre done making beautiful music, read the book together. 

4. Play Peekaboo 

Hide your lovely face behind a book and peep out from behind it. Encourage your little reader to do the same. Maybe a favourite stuffed toy can make a surprise appearance, too. Now read the book together. Bonus points for pulling a different face every time you peep out. 

5. Book Hats 

Can you balance a book on your head? Yes, this ones a bit silly, but making reading playful keeps it enjoyable! So: can you wear a book as a hat? Which book makes the best hat? Which has the best colours to match the rest of your outfit? Now read the book together – is anyone wearing a hat in the story? 

6. The Book is a Baby 

Read a book together. Read it over and over. Have you had enough? Funnily enough, so has the book. The book is sleepy! Yaaaawn! Does the book need a cuddle? Can we tuck the book into bed? Make up a bedtime story of your own, perhaps about the characters in the book, and tell it to the book. 

7. Treasure Hunt 

Hide a book somewhere in the room before story time. Challenge your young reader to find it. Give them clues: its somewhere sunny, its underneath something, its somewhere near the window. When they find it, read the book together. 

8. Sound Effects 

Decide on a silly noise to make every time a particular character or object appears in your book. For example, if the main character is a dog, you might bark every time you see it. It can be a silly noise, a phrase, or perhaps a song. You can even press the picture and pretend its a sound button! 

9. Book Snap 

Look for similarities between what is in the book and what is around you. For example, the book cover is yellow. Can we find something else yellow? Or, I can see the moon in this picture. Lets see if the real moon is in the sky. 

10. Book Menu 

Pretend the book(s) are a menu and look for things you can eat in the pictures. What will you each choose? Depending on the book, this can be realistic and appetizing, or even utterly daft and completely gross. Either way, its certainly playful – have fun 

Read more of Michelle's blogs

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