A mother concerned about her child’s lack of interest in learning to read more proficiently recently asked me for suggestions. Her son is bored by the beginning reader books he can read by himself, and so demurs when his parents urge him to read more in his spare time. But the parents know that their son needs to practice his reading if he is to become a better reader.
As a way of making reading seem more fun, I recommended that the mom check out some joke books and riddle books. With my own son, I found that he loved being able to read jokes and riddles to us, and quickly expanded his ability as a reader. The important thing to note, however, is that a child must already have some reading skills, since most of these books (except for the “I Spy” books) aren’t for the very beginning reader. Also, put on your patience cap as you are likely to hear the same corny jokes and riddles multiple times. Just keep telling yourself that it’s all for a good cause: helping your child become a better and more engaged reader.
Here are my recommendations:
The books in the “Riddles” series by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg are perfect for kids looking for entertaining reading. Each of the books offers riddles on a different subject. Look for “Batty Riddles,” “Bunny Riddles,” “Mummy Riddles,” etc. Yes, they’re pretty pun-heavy, but perfect for kids in early elementary school. The illustrations by Nicole Rubel add an appropriately zany note.
In the numerous “I Spy” books, author Jean Marzollo uses a simple rhyming text that tells kids what items they should look for in the detail-full photographs by Walter Wick. Marzollo’s text is fairly easy for most young readers and it’s the game of looking for the items that will keep their attention. Yet this is still a good way to get kids to practice their reading without even knowing they’re doing it.
“Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road and Other Riddles Old and New” is a treasury of jokes and riddles compiled by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson. Here you’ll find hours’ worth of entertainment for your young reader. Alan Tiegreen’s illustrations add to the fun.