Helping your children to read
Jen Harwood shares her top tips for encouraging children to read at home.
Helping children to fall in love with reading at home is just as important as what goes on at school. Here are some top tips to encourage them on their reading journey.
- Reading aloud to your children doesn’t need to stop when they get older and, as long as it’s something you both enjoy, it’s a great way to appreciate a good story together.
- Even if your child prefers to read on their own, take time to chat about what they are reading. It shows that you value their opinions and interests and builds their confidence.
- Make reading a social experience with friends, siblings and relatives. Some children want to start mini book clubs to discuss books they are interested in or have a party based on a book they love.
- Children will be more excited about reading if they can choose materials related to their interests. As well as contemporary novels and classics, encourage them to try graphic novels and magazines too. Give your child the chance to discover what they like to read.
- Visit the library regularly. Let your child choose their own book and use their own library card.
- Be a role model. When children see members of their family reading frequently, discussing what they have read and carrying books around, they will value reading more.
- Many children don’t want to read simply because the books they encounter are too difficult or the themes or language are not challenging enough. Ask your child if they feel the book is interesting and challenging and speak to their teacher for advice.
- Take advantage of new technology. Reading texts on electronic readers, such as an iPad or Kindle can make it seem more engaging to children. There are also a number of fantastic apps to support struggling readers.
- Help your child develop their vocabulary by using lots of different words when you speak to them. Talk about what new words mean and encourage your child to try using them.
- Take a book everywhere you go and make up stories as you travel.
- Encouraging children to share books with younger siblings or friends can make reading fun.
- Have a special place to keep your books at home and make sure to put time aside to read them.
Jen is the Outreach Coordinator at Scottish Book Trust for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and prior to that, was a primary school teacher. If you would like to be featured in a blog post about what you have been doing to encourage reading for pleasure, contact Jen at Jennifer.Harwood@scottishbooktrust.com.