Reading for fun ideas for school or home

The last few years have been tough – especially for children and young people. Reading for pleasure, sharing stories and being able to escape through the pages of a book can help with our mental health and well-being: reading for just 6 minutes has been shown to reduce stress levels by 68%.

Here’s a list of suggestions for parents and teachers, ideas and links that we hope will provide some inspiration for reading for fun (please note – we do our best to check all the content and links, but please make sure the content is suitable for your child):

Free e-books, audio books and more!

Actress Catherine Russell shares some traditional rhymes and tales including The Owl and the Pussycat
The brilliant author-illustrator Tom Percival reads a chapter from Attack of the Heebie Jeebies every day. It’s the most delightful way for to get caught up in a great story! Thanks Tom, and publisher Macmillan, for sharing!
Treat yourself to a Michael Rosen masterclass! His YouTube channel is packed full of fabulous lessons, readings and top tips. It’s a wonderful rabbit hole of inspiration – we may be some time…
The wonderful Neil Gaiman reads his 2010 Carnegie Prize-winning novel from start to finish – put your feet up and enjoy!
Enjoy Lewis Carroll’s exquisite original handwritten Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland manuscript with illustrations on the British Library’s Turning the Pages website.
Explore the wonders of the British Library exhibition’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic – a treasure trove for any Harry Potter fan!
Download thousands of out-of-copyright classics from Project Gutenberg to any tablet, smartphone or e-reader – from Treasure Island to Frankenstein
Scottish Book Trust has a wonderful range of author live videos to watch on demand, and a great film How to Make a Book!
Listen to UK podcast Down the Rabbit Hole popular within the publishing industry and featuring authors for ideas around children’s reading.
The British Library has a treasure trove of inspiring ideas and stories to help instil a love of reading.

Rob Biddulph has the most captivating series of videos for budding illustrators – it’s a brilliantly simple drawing class to help you unleash your creative characters. Perfect for all ages!
The British Library have a plethora of resources including this teaching resource ‘All Our Stories’ built around the primary curriculum and includes loads of book recommendations.
Author Piers Torday reads from his enchanting books and provides top tips for writing. Enjoy!
Watch and listen to Cressida Cowell reading books from her How to Train your Dragon series.
Join Julia Donaldson in the deep dark wood for this special performance of The Gruffalo!
Catch up on this year’s Hay Festival Digital on their Hay Player. Check out their free schools’ programme – there’s something to suit everyone.
There are some great books being televised including A Kind Of Spark by award winning author Ellie McNicoll. Catch up on a box set and compare it to the books!

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.
Got a footballer stuck at home? Never fear, football school is here! Walker Books brings you Ben and Alex to explain the world through football. No, really!
Toppsta is a top 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.
Oxford Owl has free e-books online, especially good for younger children. Why not see what your child would choose to read?

There are some great trial subscription offers and free resources from comics and mags like The Beano, The Phoenix, First News or The Week Junior which you can get sent straight to your door.
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!
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.

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.
Discover what YOU like to read with 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!
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.
Kids love to read when they read what they love! We’ve put together reading for fun ideas that might make you think twice about what reading actually is – it’s not just about books!
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

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