Encouraging children to read

4 March 2019

Dear friends,

One of the most frequently asked questions by parents is how to support their child's reading at home. Parents can lack confidence when it comes to sharing books with their children. Yet reading to your child regularly is one of the most important things you can do. Here are my tips to teach your child to read at home.

Encouraging children to read

Make books visible
From being babies my boys have had books. Board books in the toy box, books that attached to their prams, bath books etc they have also had book shelves in their rooms since they were tiny. Books have always been on hand for when we had 5 minutes spare. Buy books for birthdays and other special occasions.

Prepare for reading
Ideally find a quiet place but you can read anywhere, on the train, in a cafe, in the park. Turn off the TV and your telephone so there aren't any distractions.

Focus on talk

Talk about the pictures as well as the story. Make connections for your child like, Do you remember when we went to a museum/the zoo. 

Repeat favourite stories
Don't be afraid to repeat favourite stories again and again. Repetition helps young children understand and remember language.

Provide good role models
Let your child see you read and encourage other family members to read to them.

Don't be shy!
Use your voice, use expressions, make animal noises and sounds. Relax and have fun. Bring the story to life.

Remember words are all around you
Point out words in the environment, on packaging, menus, posters, in the supermarket on advertisements. 

Take your time
Don't rush. Re read or retell the story. Give your child time to respond. Recap the story. Ask them questions or keep them guessing.

Don't read for too long
Quality in place of quantity. If your child isn't in the mood put the book away and try later. 

Cliff hangers
If reading a longer story try to leave it on a cliff hanger moment so that they want more.

Visit your library
Libraries also have author or story telling sessions. Keep your eye out for these!

Schedule story time
Many people like to read before bed but if your child is very tired it may be better to build in time after dinner instead. Do what works for you! 

Be positive
When children are first starting to read it is tempting to over correct. Remain positive. Let them know it's alright to make mistakes. Read with them if they are struggling.

Carry a book
Encourage older children to carry a book so they can read on journeys or in spare moments.

Have a family book
There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy e.g. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon or the Harry Potter series.

Set up book swaps.
This will encourage children to talk and think about the books they are reading, get school to help. 

For more information take a look at the following brilliant sites:
Book trust
Or the National Literact Trust. 

Happy Reading everyone!

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