8 tried and tested tips to get your family reading

Reading together as a family is a great way to share special moments, build confidence and spark young imaginations. Here are some tried and tested tips and tricks to help you get your family into books, and kick-start a life-long love of reading. 

Puffin team
Girl reading a book

1. Create a routine

The best way to build reading into your day is by easing it into your family’s regular routine. It might be as simple as twenty minutes a day after dinner, or another time most convenient for you. These regular, mini-sessions are a great way to start to build reading as a habit and young readers will absolutely love the one-on-one time with you.

2. Remember, any book is a good book!

For new readers, beginners and reluctant readers, it’s important to remember any book is a good book! Sticker books, colouring books, graphic novels and comics all offer a gateway into reading and can be used to get into the habit of exploring books and reading stories together. A love of books and reading can be sparked by the most unexpected offering, so don’t be deterred by starting with the easy stuff.

3. Find a way of discovering books that works for you

There are many different ways to discover books as a family. You might enjoy going to a bookshop - larger high street stores are perfect for energetic kids that love to run around and explore, whereas some local independents will have some fun reading nooks or discounted gems to discover. Libraries have a wealth of books to choose from (for free!) and are great for kids that want to try lots at once. Browse websites, sign up to newsletters and check out social media for ideas and inspiration. There are lots of fantastic options that will keep you up to date and most importantly - keep you excited about reading too!

Boy reading a book in a tent made of cushions and a blanket

4. Make a special event of finding books

When looking for books, it’s important to view it as a fun event as opposed to a chore. Build up your trip as something to get excited about together and most importantly let your child choose their own book. This way, your young readers will feel empowered and you’ll add a sense of autonomy to their reading (and they will love feeling so involved!). Why not grab a cake, juice or a coffee afterwards and begin to look at your new books together? Those fun moments together will begin to feel like treat-time and reinforce a love of books and reading. 

5. Pass on your own likes (and loves!)

It’s important for you to be interested in the books you’re reading together too, so if you have a book you love from your childhood, then why not bring it to story time and share it with your kids? Don’t be afraid to indulge your own likes, as your children will undoubtedly enjoy experiencing - and be enthused - by the books you love too. 

6. Make storytime come alive

Storytime doesn’t need to be a chore. It can be fun, silly, and laugh-out-loud hilarious if you want it to be. Why not set the scene – read in the garden, try under a tree or make your own reading tent in the house. Get in character and use some props – put on silly voices, read out loud and act it out. Encourage children to be a character or personalise it using their own name, it can be so exciting for kids to make storytelling interactive and funny.

Girl listening to headphones

7. Kids are never too young… or old

Children are never too young to be read to, even as a newborn baby. Big shapes,  bright colours and interactive books will appeal to those developing senses and it’s these books that will help create the building blocks of a lifelong reader.  Little ones will love watching (and helping) you lift flaps and turn big pages. But it’s also important to remember children are rarely too old to be read to. Even older kids that can read independently love that special moment of reading together before hitting the hay. Why not take turns reading a page each to each other? Bedtime stories aren’t just for babies! 

8. Stories can be found in unexpected places

Why not check out some storybook apps on your mobile, listen to an audiobook, or download some eBooks to your mobile? Find out your child’s favourite characters and look for activities online they might enjoy. Kids are always more likely to pick up something bright and interesting featuring a character they love, so look out for TV adaptions or some well-known classic tales that will spark interest. It really doesn’t matter how you read or in what format, reading doesn't just have to be about books – stories can be found in the most unexpected of places.

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