reading With back-to-school upon us, some questions are looming for all parents: is my child’s reading level up to par? Will they be behind? How can I inspire a love for reading? Well, I’ve got a somewhat unorthodox answer for you: needle felting.

One of the first things kids learn to appreciate about reading is looking at pictures. In fact, using picture clues is an important skill in learning to read. Not quite sure what that word is, but there’s a picture of a dog? That picture can help fill in where reading skills haven’t yet caught up.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then imagine how many words a 3D recreation of your favorite character is worth! Needle felting is a great way to accomplish that. If you’re having a hard time getting your child to sit down with a book, consider needle felting tiny versions of the main characters.

Take Charlotte’s Web, for example. What child wouldn’t love to cuddle a sweet Wilbur piglet, and have him act out the story? You can also make Goose, Sheep, Templeton the Rat, and even the title character herself, Charlotte. With a barn full of characters, storytime becomes infinitely more interesting!

Imagine, as you’re playing with Charlotte, and it comes time for her to spin one of her infamous webs. Maybe your needle felted spider can spell out the words as you read! Words like “terrific” and “radiant” suddenly seem more accessible with a sweet felted spider by your side.

Or, maybe not yet. And that’s okay! Just getting your child interested in books is a great place to start. Maybe they can suggest some other characters they’d like to play with, and you can help pick out a book starring their dragon, or unicorn, or heffalump. Maybe, as time goes on, they’ll make their own felted creations, too.

Getting started reading can be tricky for some kids, so use all the tools at your disposal to help! Isn’t it lucky you love needle felting? If you’re stuck on one of your child’s character requests, consider joining my academy! You’ll get access to courses, videos, and a community of felters like you who can help you through tricky spots, offer feedback, and help you brainstorm ideas for future literary-inspired projects. Sign up now! We’re ready to dive into books with you.