3 March 2020

Being able to ‘read’ and getting meaning (and therefore enjoyment) from reading doesn’t always go hand in hand.

Often children are skilled at decoding the words on the page but lack understanding of what they have read.

We know that children who have positive experiences with books are more resilient in their efforts to understand what they are reading. Playing book-based games with children of all ages helps them to delve deeper into a text in a really fun way.

In this blog, Gill Worrall, Resource Developer at Coram Beanstalk, suggests five games you could play with any child and any book.

1. Two Truths and a Lie

Pick two facts from the book you are reading and make up a third… can your opponent guess which one is a lie?

2. Yes/No Game

Ask your opponent questions about the book – can they answer without saying yes or no? Who can last the longest?!

3. Serve and Return

Pick a category, for example, if you are reading Tidy you might choose ‘things you would find underground’. Or if you’re reading Tom Gates you might choose ‘different styles of music’.

Bat words backwards and forwards until one of you repeats something that’s already been said or can’t think of something new!

4. Name it!

Each write three things down on slips of paper. What you write depends on what you’re reading. For example, you might pick...

1. Countries mentioned in the book,

2. Animal names

3. Creatures that migrate


1. Occupations involving food

2. Foods beginning with F

3. Ways of cooking potatoes

Pick a slip at random and each person should now say how many things they think they can name linked to that category. Whoever states the most takes on the challenge!

5. Picture this!

We know that pictures, photos and illustrations add depth to a text for everyone, not just younger children!

Explore a picture together first, give your opponent 20 seconds to study it (an egg timer works well here!) then ask some questions… How many books were on the shelf? Was the character wearing a watch? How many limbs were in the picture?

Swap after five questions – who was the most observant?!

Have fun!

More ideas for getting the most of books!