Many parents find it a challenge to help their child read for pleasure or to move them on from a favourite author or series. Here are a few ideas to help your child discover a lifelong love of reading. If you have any tips that work for your family, please share them in the comments below, we would love to hear about them.
- Read to your child as much as you can, daily if possible. Help them to build positive associations and a love of story whilst sharing one-to-one time with a parent or loved one.
- Read yourself, actual books are better. Children always aspire to do what their parents do and to see you read and be engaged in books yourself is a certain way to get them hooked. Even better read books you would like them to try. So much of the fiction currently being published can be just as engaging for adults as for children. Favourites of mine have been Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, Cogheart by Peter Bunzl and the Island at the end of everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
- Fill your house with books, show your children how important reading is to you as a family. Perhaps allow them a monthly book, chosen by you both and ensure that they feel that getting the latest book is just as exciting as getting the latest craze toy or computer game.
- Encourage your child to listen to audiobooks. Many children do find longer books a bit overwhelming and the audio version can take the pressure off and help them to relax. They will still be able to experience all the fantastic vocabulary, story, description and inference – probably to a greater extent when they are not struggling to read the words.
- Audiobooks are also great if you would like your child to move onto a new author or series. Let them listen to the first in a series and then buy/borrow them the second as a book. They will not be able to wait to get started. Even better, listen together, in the car, doing an activity or while cooking a meal. Your child will love to share that special time with you and you can discuss the book together. It also means you are on hand to answer any questions about the story or define new vocabulary.
- Don’t worry too much about challenge. Help your child to find books they will love but don’t force them to continue reading books if they are not enjoying them. Reading should be a pleasure, not a chore. If you child learns to love reading they will move on soon enough at their own pace. If they don’t enjoy a book you have brought put it on the shelf and get it out at a later date. Even better, read it yourself and tell them how much you have enjoyed it.
- Have a look at our recommended books to find books that can engage your child.
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