Spoiler alert: FREE reading bingo printable included. Motivate your kids today!
Do you hope your kids would one day love reading as much as (or even more than!) they love their technology? Are visions of lazy, video-game-addicted, junk-food-eating kids haunting you, too? My friend, you’re not alone! I’m going to give you some tips on how to inspire a love of reading in your kids!
When my kids have free time, it often means they need a little “encouragement” to do something besides playing video games, watching tv, or eating all the chips. Can I get an amen? Haha.
Like you, I want them to have some time to take a breather from school work and chores. But I’d also like to keep their minds stimulated and their hands off the video games and junk food.
A reading bingo is the perfect way to solve this problem. Not only are books a great way to improve your vocabulary and sharpen your mind, a book is a great adventure just waiting to be explored. A book bingo card will gamify your summer reading (or anytime reading) so it’s irresistible. I mean, watch out Minecraft.
Yeah, I know it’s hard to motivate some kids to read books, even if they are great readers and the books are super captivating. And I’m not promising that this reading bingo printable is going to be the magic pill that solves the world’s problems.
But, it’s important to remember that our kids are conditioned to believe reading is something you do for school and has no other purpose. They’ve been taught to view reading as an obligation, a means to an end, and sometimes even a chore. We need to change the script!
The best gift we can give our kids is to help them develop a passion for reading that bridges beyond the obligatory academic reading they are taught to endure.
Ways to Motivate a Love for Reading
Since all kids aren’t naturally thrilled at the idea of an afternoon reading on the porch swing, here are a few tips that may help spark that love of reading.
- Be a Reader – Your child should see you reading and enjoying it. You can read the newspaper, magazines, the Bible, devotionals, mystery novels, even blogs. I love to read and my kids know it. If reading is a normal part of your life, it will be a normal part of your child’s life.
- Read to Your Kids – You can read while they eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Read cuddled up in the bed before you start your day. Read before nap. It may seem counterproductive, but when parents read to their kids, it reminds them of the excitement they can have if they pick up a book, too.
- Listen to Audiobooks – As my kids got old enough to grow out of naps, I would have them listen to audiobooks instead of sleeping. They are also great for road trips or settling down before bed. This shouldn’t be a total substitute for a hardbound book, since so many skills are built by seeing those words, it’s a good option. It’s also a good way to get a reluctant reader hooked!
- Make a Fun Place to Read – Behind our couch we have built a reading corner. Since it is behind the couch, it has a lot more appeal than just a shelf with some great books. You could even cover a table with a sheet and make a reading fort.
- Use Incentives – Kids respond to incentives. That’s exactly why I created the reading bingo challenge below. Incentives don’t have to be physical prizes or money and they don’t have to be “bribes”. We give ourselves incentives every day to help get things done. Teach your kids to do the same!
OK, with those tips in mind, let’s dive into the book bingo challenge.
Reading Bingo Challenge Details
The challenge is simple. Children are given a book bingo card printed out on cardstock.
Each box on the card has a unique (but simple) book idea. We don’t mandate specific books. Instead the book bingo card gives kids ideas for different topics and genres to explore. It encourages fiction, nonfiction, biographies, long books, short books, and so much more!
Every child has their own sheet and works toward completion of one row (bingo) at a time. For each bingo, they earn a prize. If they complete all 4 “bingos,” they get a grand prize.
My kids get super excited when we do this reading bingo challenge. They love the idea of picking the book they read and being able to work towards increasing prizes.
Book Bingo Prize Ideas
I would suggest keeping the prizes simple. The idea is to motivate them, not sell your soul to the “bribe devil” (haha). Anything that motivates your kids will work. It might be different for each child.
You can determine the prizes ahead of time at the top of the bingo sheet or you can fill it in as you go. I typically let my kids set these prizes. We usually brainstorm a list to choose from.
For the grand prize, think bigger. If your child finishes the WHOLE bingo board in 8 weeks (for example), this is a huge accomplishment and should have an awesome prize to go along with it. If you make a huge deal out of this, the kids will rise to the occasion. I mean, who doesn’t want to be that awesome?
The sky is the limit for what you can develop as prizes. I would encourage you to consider letting your children weigh in with their ideas. You’d be surprised how little they will work for and how much it will motivate them to set the prize themselves.
Here are a few ideas we came up with:
- A date with mom
- Pass to stay up one hour late
- One free day with no chores
- Choose the seat of your choice in the car or at the table
- Pick the dinner menu
- Select a new book for the family library
- New bookmark or other tool to help you read
Small items: sticker packs, $1 bin toys, mystery (mom’s pick), fun socks, colorful pens/pencils, decorative journals/notebooks, small LEGO sets, costume jewelry, outdoor water toys (squirt guns)
Food: candy bars, ice cream, specialty desserts, pack of gum, Tic-Tacs, special box of cereal
Grand prize: money, iTunes cards, trip to the waterpark, one-on-one date with mom/dad, gift card for favorite store.
Get Your Free Reading Bingo Printable
So, are you ready to jump in? To start the reading bingo challenge, all you need to do is print off the book bingo card and head to the library for a pile of books! (Or ransack your shelf if you have a collection at home.)
You can download the Reading Bingo Challenge printable by filling out the information below.
Got an idea for prizes? Comment below and share it with us!
Need some ideas for your reading bingo printable?
- Don’t know where to start? We’ve got a great Homeschool Booklist by Grade Level.
- Find incredible biographies and true hero stories in Missionary Books Kids Love.
- Laugh yourself silly with these 15 Laugh Out Loud Books.
- Feel good when you read these Favorite Inspirational Stories for kids.
- See out list of favorite Beginning Readers if your kiddo is just starting out.
- Make your horse-lover smile with Good Horse Books for Kids.
- Keep your motivated reader going with a series of books like this list of 11 Wholesome Book Series.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.