Here are some top tips to help make reading a fun and rewarding experience for you and your child.
Babies and Toddlers
- Make sure reading doesn't become a chore for your child by introducing books from an early age. There are lots of books available for younger children and even babies, everything from buggy books and board books to little libraries and cloth books. At this age, books are toys, so don't worry if your little one is more interested in chewing the pages than looking at them.
- Children thrive on variety, so read stories every day at different times and in different places. Also make sure you have a book with you when you go out, that way your child will always have something to look at whilst in the car or buggy.
- Talk about the pictures and ask questions. Start by looking at the front cover and asking 'What do you think this story is going to be about? What is Upsy Daisy doing? 'Do you like singing?' If your child cannot read the words, encourage them to look at the pictures and tell their own stories.
- See if you can relate something in the story to an event in your child's life. For example have they ever lost their blanket or favourite soft toy, like Igglepiggle in In the Night Garden: The Lost Blanket.
- Talk about the story before and afterwards with your child. Ask them to choose their favourite characters - do they like Zak or Tang from ZingZillas best? Ask them to find the page with their favourite character on, or point out a key word from the story such as 'cat', 'king' or 'princess'.
- Keep up the bedtime stories and let your child choose which story to read each night. Nothing beats snuggling up with your child at the end of the day for some quiet time together sharing a book. Most importantly, make reading fun. It's best not to ask children to read if they are tired or not in the mood. Go at their pace and remember a little bit of fun always helps children learn quickly!
- If your child thinks books are 'boring' and refuses to read anything you choose, then why not suggest books about their favourite characters or TV programmes? Perhaps reading about the adventures of the new Doctor and Amy will remind them that reading isn't always homework, it can be fun too.
- Similarly, reluctant readers could try reading magazines and comics or activity books rather than a long story. It doesn't matter what type of book they are reading, as long as they are reading something, it's all great practice!
- A great way to encourage children to read is to let them choose the book that they want. Most teenagers will turn their nose up at a book if they think you want them to read it. But if it's their choice then it's a different matter. Why not take them to a bookshop and tell them they can choose whatever book they want as long as it's no more than £5.00.