Tips on how to encourage reading

Why encourage reading?

  • Learning to read has added benefits including improving a thirst for knowledge. Reading gives them the edge in success and gives them a head-start for when they start school.
  • Learning to read could help you pick up learning problems such as dyslexia and receive help earlier enabling the child to cope and thrive in school later.
  • Reading is exercise for the brain! In the long term, reading can help delay the onset of dementia, forgetfulness etc, so definitely worth the effort!
  • Reading improves vocabulary and language skills.
  • Reading improves bonding time, even with a tired parent, the child still thrives on time spent together reading or being read to.

Tips to encourage reading

  • Encourage reading through setting an example, let your children see you positive about reading and about joying books.
  • Create a reading haven, with a few cushions or chairs that are comfortable to sit on. This does not have to be big, but a dedicated place where the children can read.
  • Start early – young children are inquisitive, encourage them to handle books and look through stories as young as possible
  • Encourage them from young by reading stories as often as possible, choosing stories which interest the children, and connect the characters to real day life. Have books and magazines freely available for the children to touch and page through.
  • Allow children to page through books as early on, put books aside for them which, should they get broken or pages torn will not be a problem. Children need to know that they are allowed to hold and treasure a book
  • Be interested in what is being read, ask questions and play games. One game that can be played with early readers is to read backwards. As children tend to memorize quickly, they stop reading and start repeating the words. By reading backwards they once again have to concentrate on the words.
  • Encourage reading through technology! If your young reader prefers technology, use e-books and remove games from the device!
  • Use books which are illustrated and not boring! Pictures help the reader to understand what is happening, and connect with the characters. Colour helps a book come to life.
  • Star charts! If your child is competitive or finds it more difficult to read, encourage them through setting goals for themselves which could be a star chart. Having a treat of being able to play games once they have read also works!
  • Never compete between children! Don’t compare your child’s reading to another, encourage reading at their pace to make it a wonderful experience, not a setup to fail.
  • Visit a library or second hand book shop in your area.
  • Encourage reading with an audio books. This way the child can follow, learn listening skills and understand pronunciation of the words.
  • Encourage reading in multiple languages once they are old enough.
  • Encourage without criticism – children are different, read differently and experience books differently. Focus on what is done correctly.
  • Have a range of books available, different languages that the child might be learning and different topics.
  • Have routines in place eg a set amount of time online. Having unlimited time means that the brain is triggered differently and it is more difficult to do other activities off screen. By having guide lines early on, the child understands that this is part of the routine and reading time will be a lot easier to get started.
  • Personalize books – Giving a book as a gift makes it special and more likely to be read.

How old must a child be before they can use a book?

  • The earlier that reading is part of the child’s life, the better! A toddler that touches, pages through or connects with a book is more likely to becomes a happy reader later on. Children are different. Some read fantasy, some prefer facts and others would prefer a comic. Encourage clean reading whatever way they choose.

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