Reading Tips - Make Reading Even More Fun!

Garden Reading Den

On a warm day, it’s great to enjoy books outdoors. A reading den’s a great idea for a comfortable outdoor read, so why not create one in your garden?

To Make Your Den

  1. Spread a picnic blanket or rug on a level area of the lawn/ground.
  2. Place four deckchairs at each end of the rug, spaced out and facing inwards.
  3. Cover with an old sheet – make sure that the sheet stretches onto the ground so it can be secured at each end with a heavy object. (We don’t want the roof to cave in!) You now have your den.
  4. Arrange cushions inside to make it comfy.

Now enjoy some fun reading time inside your den!


Story Time Trail

Story time trails are when you follow a story plot around the garden, answering written questions or/and completing a physical activity. Read a book and make your own questions from it.

Create a stupendous story trail for your favourite book(s)! You’ll need:


  • croquet stick (cricket bat, tennis/badminton racquet, or a flat piece of wood)
  • croquet/tennis ball
  • large, colourful number cards – can be homemade and illustrated
  • beach buckets or containers e.g. plant pots, tin cans, etc. (one per story station)
  • multiple story question cards, with answers, made by the family after reading the book – there should be a range of questions per story station, differentiated for age/ability
  • small boxes, one per story station, to house the question cards
  • a copy of the book – very helpful in resolving any disputes that may arise!
  • Scoresheets/pencils for recording points

How to make/set up the story trail

  1. Decide how many story stations you want (6 – 9 works well).
  2. To make the stations, fix the number cards in an upright position at various points in the garden.
  3. By each number card, place a bucket/container on its side, along with a box housing story questions* for that station.

The trail is now ready to follow!

N.B.: * Parents – to embed/develop the concept of sequential writing, have the questions follow the book’s plot in timeline order. Multiple cards means that the game can be replayed.

How To Play

  • Decide who goes first and who’s carrying the book/bat/ball.
  • Players move to the first station.
  • In turn, each player collects a story card from the box and reads it out before answering. (Pre-readers will need support.)
  • Players stand at an agreed distance from the bucket. As they answer the question, they attempt to hit the ball into it. If they answer correctly whilst hitting the ball into the bucket, they score 2 points. If they miss but answer the question correctly, they score 1 point.
  • Once everyone’s had a turn, move on to the next station. The player with the most points at the end is the winner!

Fun Time Reading In The Sun!

Fresh air is good for our mental health. So is reading! On lovely, sunny days, spread a blanket out in your back garden or local park and combine some relaxing reading time with a picnic. Maybe hit the hammock (if you have one!) with a book or use that great garden swing or sunbeds.

Why not pick a book that features the ‘Great Outdoors’ in its plot? For example:


Classics such as…

  • The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
  • Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • Five Children And It by E. Nesbitt

Modern novels such as…

  • The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
  • Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
  • Five Children On The Western Front by Kate Saunders (sequel to E. Nesbitt’s original story)


  • Little Bears Go On A Picnic by Heather Maisner
  • Horrid Henry’s Food by Francesca Simon
  • Family Picnic by Gaylia Taylor
  • Angus: The Little White Fluffy Cloud Who Fell In Love With The Sun by Lesley Cordell

Outdoor Reading Quiz Game

Try this fun quiz game, designed to keep you cool on a hot day!

In this game, players are tested on their knowledge of a book(s). The question can be to do with anything related to it. For example:

  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Questions about the plot
  • Author
  • Illustrator

Possible Question type: “Whose homework does the Gremlin eat in ‘Please Sir, The Gremlin Ate My Homework?”

The object of the game is to be the first person to be close enough to pick up the bean bag (or any substitute object) in front of the quiz reader’s feet through answering book related questions. The first player to reach the beanbag is the winner and becomes the question reader for the next round.


  • water pistol or hose pipe
  • quiz cards (self-made) or on the spot questions
  • beanbag (or a substitute object)


  1. Choose a question reader – they’re the one in charge of the water by the way!
  2. Players line up in the garden.
  3. The quiz reader reads out (or generates their own) question from the card pile and asks that question to one of the contestants. If the player answers correctly, they take a step forward towards the question reader. If they answer incorrectly, they get squirted and have to stay put until their next question.


On World Book Day I visited St Margaret’s At Troy Town CEP School (Rochester) where everyone dressed up as their favourite word! Here’s the Year 3 teacher presenting the word ‘deluge’ with some fantastic synonyms!

Challenge: Pick an interesting word from one of my books and show it in costume or picture. Send it to my website and you can amaze everyone with your incredible imagination!

All Parents

The benefits of reading with and to your child are multiple. Some of these benefits are:

• language and communication skills
• understanding of the world around them
• emotional awareness

But reading isn’t just words. We ‘read’ people and situations all the time, which helps academic and social skills. Try the below game for some family face time reading fun!

Read My Face

Make a face to your child (e.g. excited, puzzled) and ask them what does the face ‘say’? If they’re right, ask them to make a face for you to read. If they’re wrong, try again with the same face but give extra visual or oral cues until they get it right.

Extension Activities

Have a selection of word cards with emotion words on them, e.g. happy, sad, confused, etc. Can they select the right card to match your expression.

What books can they find where emotions are the main theme?



Make Reading One Of Your New Year Resolutions!📚

Kick off the New Year by discovering a story for each of the things showing in Grandma Georgia’s handbag?


If you live in South East Kent, Eastgate House offers lots of festive events this Christmas that incorporate some fun reading opportunities!

Why not enjoy storytelling with Santa and experience a Victorian Christmas?

You could then pop across the road to Store 104 and enjoy festive drinks and cakes whilst browsing their fabulous range of gifts and books – you might spot mine!


📚Reading Walkabouts!

It’s amazing how interesting environmental reading is! I spotted this curious street name on a visit to Whitby in Yorkshire.

Why not enjoy some family outdoors reading by taking a walk around your local streets (or further afield) to find interesting or funny street names?

You could then research their history. You may be surprised by what you discover – things aren’t always as they seem!


Now that the nights are drawing in, why not enjoy some quality family read out loud story time evenings?

As well as being a great way to share time together, it’s a great way to improve reading confidence, intonation, word building and discussion/comprehension skills.

As a family, find some books with autumn themes/settings or try out the suggestions below!

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Our Table by Peter H Reynolds

A Poem For Every Autumn Day edited by Allie Esirie
By Ash, Oak and Thorn by Melissa Harrison
The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley


Why not leaf through the British Library website for some great summer reading activities, or pay a visit if you live in the South East? If you live further away, pop into or Google your local library to see what awesome activities are being held for some fun packed summer reading!



For a great picture reading experience, why not make a family visit to Rochester Cathedral’s ‘Threads Through Creation’ Exhibition?

An amazing collection of tapestries consisting of eight million stitches rooted in the Book of Genesis.

The exhibition is running until September 3rd.


Turn off the TV and make reading a family thing!

Set time aside to enjoy reading as a family. It’s great for bonding as well as developing reading skills!

Have a range of reading material e.g. books, comics, magazines, posters and leaflets available to suit all the age groups in the family (including you!) and spend time browsing though them together. Talk about each family member’s reading choice. Use open ended questioning regarding choices starting with what, why, how, etc. Following this, everyone (remember with pre-readers that picture reading is still reading!) spends some time quietly sitting together and reading. By modelling an interest in sitting down to read, you are helping your child to develop self-discipline and focus skills as well as promoting an interest in reading itself.
N.B: Why not have some nice, healthy snacks and drinks available as part of the experience? You could cuddle up under blankets or on cushions. If you have a pet, they could sit with you too!