Reading for fun can help us through these challenging times

Coronavirus is creating uncertainty and anxiety for all of us. At Read for Good, we are all parents with our own worries about our children, their schooling, about our wider families and about how this will impact our charity.

Now that schools have closed for most children, we empathise with the challenge this presents for teachers and schools, parents and children across the country.

At this moment in our society, reading for pleasure, sharing stories, being able to escape our four walls through the pages of a book could be more important than ever. Reading can help with our mental health and well-being: reading for just 6 minutes has been shown to reduce stress levels by 68%. But more than that, taking time to share stories, losing ourselves in a book, travelling the high seas or the Milky Way from the comfort of a sofa might just be the tonic we all need.

We’ve compiled a list of suggestions for parents and teachers, ideas and links that we hope will provide some inspiration for reading for fun at home. We’d love to hear any ideas you have to share with others – please email lucy@readforgood.org – we hope this will become a useful resource to help us all through this very challenging time.

Reading top tips and resources

BBC Schools website has some great audio stories freely available to listen to at home, for preschool and primary age children. You can also read along with their transcriptions.
If your school does close, make sure pupils visit the school library first and borrow some books! Maybe relax the rules about how many books they can borrow at any one time.
Toppsta is a great kids’ book review site. If your child isn’t used to choosing what to read, or they’re looking for new inspiration, let them loose on Toppsta!
Listening Books
Listening Books has a library of 8,000 audiobooks. Membership is £20 for children with an illness or condition that impacts their ability to read the printed word (e.g. dyslexia).

BBC Sounds has a great children’s section for all key stages. You’ll need an account, but it’s free to set up. Search for Dramas and listen together.

Lots of kids love Manga comic strip books and you’ll find apps like this one that let you read them online free of charge.

Twinkl is a fabulous teacher-created resource site with a parents’ hub. It has Home Learning Resources for school closures and a free month’s subscription offer for teachers.

Get creative with your reading – whether it’s a recipe, or a board game, song lyrics or a treasure hunt around the house or garden – reading for fun comes in all sorts of ways.


Oxford Owl has free ebooks online, especially good for younger children. Why not see what your child would choose to read?


There are some great trial subscription offers for magazines like The Phoenix, First News or The Week Junior which you can get sent straight to your door.
Lovers of non-fiction can have a field day on great websites like National Geographic Kids or the fantastic Guinness World of Records – great ways to read loads of fantastic facts.
BookTrust have some great online resources, including younger age books you can read online. Get your child to read to a younger sibling, your pet or even to grandparents over the phone!

Reading activities

There are loads of different things and ways you can read – and have fun doing it. Check out our Inspiring Ideas page, which was created for schools, but nearly all of these ideas can work as well at home.
Storyteller Steve Lally with patient
Do your own sponsored read at home – download a form or set up your own fundraiser and help us help children in hospital at a time when they need books and stories more than ever.

Try our Reading Challenge – it’s just for fun, or you could use it to fundraise for us to get books to children in hospital. You could even run a challenge between households or friends and see who wins!

There are some great books being televised from Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Catch up on a box set and compare it to the books!
Readathon works remotely, and helping us get books to children in hospital will be more important than ever. Kits are despatched in a day or two so there’s time to get resources to your school.
Have fun! Check out our kids page for other ideas and make sure to have a go at our unique STORYMAKER game – you’ll be a 30-second author!

We’d love to hear any ideas or top tips you have – email lucy@readforgood.org.

Update 13.03.2020: You may be concerned about the current situation and how this may affect your ability to register and run Readathon. We would like to reassure you that at present there are currently no disruptions to our kit deliveries, with kits reaching you 3-5 working days after ordering. Readathon can still take place at home, and can be part of your ‘Home Learning Pack’, and friends and family can make their sponsorship donations online. 

If you have any further questions, please email reading@readforgood.org or call us on 01453 839005.

Please note, we are not responsible for the suitability and content of any external website.