Reading is one of those things all children must learn to do, but teachers can only do so much. As parents there are plenty of things we can do to encourage our children to read, and this can then help them to succeed in all areas of their academic life. Here are some top tips for encouraging your child to read:
Read to them. You might think that reading to a child defeats the object of trying to get them to read, but this will help to make reading a part of their daily life. If a book only appears when it’s time for them to sit down and work at reading, they will never learn to love it; if they associate books with stories and quality time with parents, they may eventually want to recreate that experience for themselves.
Read more than just books. Children’s reading books can be a little boring and repetitive for parents as well as children. There’s nothing wrong with buying comics for them to read or even getting them to "help” by reading road signs or instruction manuals for you. Feeling that they are helping will boost their confidence too.
Use technology. You might feel it’s counterproductive to put a tablet in your child’s hands when they’re supposed to be reading, but there are numerous apps out there that can really help these days. For first steps, take a look at Hairy Letters or Reading Eggs; these turn letter recognition into a game and children can learn while having fun.
Use an e-reader. This is the age of tech, and there’s really no escaping it. An e-reader can be adapted to show words in a larger font if required, and many have a dictionary function to look up tricky words as you go. This can be a great way of getting children involved and wanting to read more.
Visit your local library. Often if you wander into the children’s section and leave them to it, children will wander off and entertain themselves among the books for quite a while. Libraries have such a wide range of books your child is bound to find something to engage them, and you both might be surprised by what that is.
Praise their effort. We’ve written in a previous article about the idea of a growth mindset; it’s important when praising your child that you focus on the effort they have made, rather than that tricky word they’ve just mastered. This can be easier said than done, but phrases like "you tried so hard on that bit” and "you got there in the end because you stuck at it” can be useful here.