Encouraging your child to read
Reading really is a resource for life; we read for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of moods: books give pleasure, solace, information and POWER! Yes, power - young people with good reading skills have access to the world of words, access to the whole curriculum, at the head of which lies reading, and more choices as they move into adult life.
How do children get these skills? By reading. And the more that children enjoy reading, the more they will want to read, and so their minds and imaginations will grow, their vocabulary will develop and soon they will have the stamina to read the long and sometimes difficult texts they will meet in all subjects.
So, no pressure. Instead promote the pleasure and the fun of stories, poetry and non-fiction.
Be sure your children see you – mums and dads! – reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a cookery book, a romantic novel, a detective mystery, short stories, a computer manual… whatever!
Encourage children to join in – ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings.
Give, and encourage others to give books/book tokens as presents.
Encourage children to carry a book at all times – do this yourself too!
Read with your children – many books are enjoyed by adults and young people alike - Harry Potter, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon to mention just a couple. It’s great to read books you can all talk about - but make the talk light-hearted, not testing and over-questioning.
Go to libraries/bookshops when authors are visiting. Children love meeting their favourite writers - Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that are miles long! Don’t be impatient if you have to wait!!
Make sure your home is a reading home – have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children’s bedrooms as well.
Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again – be honest, we’ve probably all done it!
Encourage your children and their friends to swap books – then they’ll talk about them.
Your child can join your local library and take out books for free. You’ll also be able to get advice on reading recommendations for your child as well as advice on how you can help your child read for pleasure.
The main message is MAKE IT FUN. However much you want to, don’t nag when you don’t like the books they choose – all reading is to be celebrated.