Websites that Help Make Reading Fun

When kids want screen time, parents can sneak a little learning into the fun by encouraging their children to explore websites that promote reading. You’ll also find websites here that have great reading ideas for parents and teachers.

Starfall Storyline Online RIF Reading Planet
Starfall, which teaches kids to read with phonics, has lots to read online. There are plays, myths, folktales, fables, fiction and nonfiction. Clicking on the ear icon will allow kids to listen while they read the pages. It really helps a young reader to hear the words spoken at the same time as he is looking at the words. That’s one reason read alouds are so important. Storyline Online is a huge free site. Click on your book of choice and listen to it being read aloud by an actor, while kids follow the words in a text box on the screen. It also weaves illustrations from the book into the video. Favourites like Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge and Stellaluna are here. I would be happy to recommend these books at The Book Chook. At RIF’s Reading Planet, kids can watch and listen to stories and songs, play games and generally enjoy literacy-related fun. There’s a wealth of helpful information for parents at RIF.org too, including booklists and brochures.
CBeebies PBS Between the Lions Boowa and Kwala
At the BBC CBeebies website, kids can read stories and listen to some at the same time. This might give your young children ideas for books they would like to search out at the library or at school. CBeebies is a great site to explore with your kids, with fun activities, songs and videos. The PBS Between the Lions website is excellent. If you don’t know it, take some time to explore it with your kids. I like the fact the little videos are engaging AND help with reading by highlighting words as they are read aloud. Use the left side menu in Stories to scroll through all the choices, both fiction and nonfiction. Boowa and Kwala have stories to read/listen to which chronicle the adventures of the two characters, interspersed with minimal animation and sound. The main Up to Ten site has lots of other activities and songs that the pre-school set will enjoy too.
Mrs P.com The Book Chook International Children’s Digital Library
Mrs P.com has online stories, read aloud by Mrs P herself, after an entertaining introduction. Kids are listening to these stories rather than following with their eyes. The Book Chook blog has lots of articles about encouraging kids to read and ideas for making it fun. Navigate to them by clicking Reading in the right sidebar. Thousands of books from all over the world in different languages that children can read online.
Alphabet Soup Magazine The Stacks for Kids, Scholastic.com Family Playground, Scholastic.com
The print magazine for kids who love to read and write, Alphabet Soup features contests, stories, poetry, children’s own writing and illustrations, tips for young writers and more. Scholastic’s The Stacks for Kids is aimed at primary readers and above. There’s a whole section devoted to games and linked to Scholastic books. Checking out these games could lead your child to the books they’re based on, as might the videos and author interviews. Confirmed young book lovers will just enjoy exploring! Loads of games, activities and articles aimed at younger kids. You’ll find features like make your own I Spy, where kids can generate their own I Spy riddle. There are games centred around Scholastic books where kids can practise pre-reading skills like matching, word-building, rhyming and sound awareness. Kids can read stories too, and even interact by choosing words to finish sentences.
PBS Kids Giggle Poetry Roy the Zebra
You need to live in the USA to watch videos from PBS.org, but games that develop reading skills are available to all. Kids can try matching, alphabet, rhyming, word-making and more. So many silly, enjoyable and crazy poems for kids to read at this website. Poet Kenn Nesbitt encourages youngsters to join in and write their own rhymes, try rhyming riddles and even poetry theatre. Roy the Singing Zebra has a nine-part story for emergent readers (change screen with arrows to read next page.) There are also interactive games and literacy worksheets.
Barnes and Noble Online Storytime
Kids listen and watch as authors and celebrities read children’s picture books aloud.