How many of us put down a book if it doesn’t interest us? Children are no different, so find out what interests your child and get involved!
Visit a library
Local libraries still exist and offer a range of books so you can see what interests your child. Library cards are free and you can also attend the public story-reading sessions.
Join a book club
Mix it up and organise or join a book group where your child can swap and share favourite books and talk about why they liked them. Making reading a social event can change the tone and keep the reading experience relaxed.
Audio books are not cheating! They are not only good for vocabulary development but are wonderful entertainment on road trips, helping to avoid the mind numbing – ‘are we there yet?’. The whole family can listen and share opinions about characters, storylines, and language – it’s all good and young kids love sharing activities with their parents.
Lead by example
Kids copy adults, so read in front of your child as well as with them. This could be a book, an iPad, a newspaper, an email or a magazine. Share information with your child. They will realise that reading gives us information and in time, they will learn to question what they read. This is a sign of complex thinking. They can still question what you read to them without being able to read it themselves.
When kids understand that spoken sounds are represented by letters, they are ready to start reading or, decoding simple words. Sing to your baby from nursery rhyme books. It’s all good preparation for reading. By reading to your child, they will develop vocabulary (the words of their language), fluency (reading correctly at a good speed) comprehension (understanding what is read), oral language and phonics (letter/sound relationships in words).
Make reading a positive experience
Make sure you have fun with it. Reading can be stressful for some children and adults. If a child has learning difficulties and is seen to be a ‘low progress reader’, it doesn’t mean they can’t ‘think outside the square’ and have a valid opinion. Praise your child and offer rewards for finishing books or just for listening and asking questions.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss