Nothing says fun like a good party! So why not encourage reading by combining it with a party. There are many ways to combine books with parties, some are super simple and some more elaborate. While I do not discount them, I am not talking about parties that are rewards for having read a certain amount of time or books, but parties that incorporate reading. As one of my favorite authors once said, “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” – C.S. Lewis
One of our favorite ways to combine parties and reading are our “Poetry Tea’ times. During those times we sit around the table, complete with table cloth and our nicest dishes, and enjoy reading poetry while partaking in snacks. Sometimes it really is hot tea with cookies; other times it might be lemonade and popcorn, or milk and a bit of cake. I will read a few poems and then the children take turns reading poems. They look forward to these times of fun and reading.
There are times when we combine books and parties by focusing on the time period or geographic location of a book. For example, if we are reading Little House on the Prairie we might cook over our camp fire or make recipes from that time period. We loved making maple candy as they discussed in one of the Little House Books.
One I have not yet done with my children but have seen other children really enjoy are character parties. You can choose a book or let each child choose their own book and everyone dresses up like their favorite characters. You can have generic party snacks or if it is appropriate you can have snacks that are representative of the book. For example, if I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar I could have the snacks that the caterpillar ate. If I was reading a book about a ballgame I might have traditional ball park fare like hotdogs and popcorn.
One idea that we recently participated in was a book tasting. A good friend of mine had seen the idea and offered to set it up for our 4-H club. It was so much fun. The children each brought some of their favorite books representing different genres and some fun easy to eat snacks. Then we put the books on different tables based on genres and gave the children ‘menus’ that they could fill out with information about books that they thought they found and thought they would enjoy reading. This gave the children exposure to a bunch of different books in various genres that were enjoyed by their peers.
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