February is Library Lovers’ Month, and February 1st is both "Take Your Child to the Library Day” and "World Read Aloud Day” - so this is the perfect opportunity to engender a love of reading and libraries in your child.
Reading can be a tricky thing, and can soon turn into a battle with children of any age who don’t find it easy and enjoyable. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Visit your local library and see if they have any groups of challenges you could join in with. Most libraries across the UK take part in the Summer Reading Challenge through the summer holidays, but there may also be other groups etc throughout the year. Your local library may have events running in February for Library Lovers’ Month
- Don’t limit it to books! Many libraries have a wide range of comics or graphic novels which reluctant readers may find more engaging. Also remember the non-fiction section which holds a host of opportunities to learn about a child’s favourite things. Even a book about their favourite computer game can help them to get into reading.
- Try to read daily. Many schools ask parents to read daily with their child, and will provide a book of some description to record this in. Some schools even offer incentives for reading at home a certain number of times per week. You could also set challenges with your child to see if you can hit 5 reads in a week, with a small treat at the end. Remember that daily reading is best done when your child is in the right frame of mind, and this may not be when they are tired from a long day at school. They may enjoy reading to you first thing in the morning, or even at bedtime. Work with them to find the best time to do reading so that it doesn’t become a battle.
- Make reading a treat. Reading can often feel like another thing to be ticked off on a to-do list, but this will not help to engender a love of reading in children. Instead, try to make it a treat with a cosy setting, or even a dedicated reading corner.
- Spend time in the library and book shops. If you have a free Saturday morning or some time after school, go to the library or a book shop and give your child free rein to look at books. These days many book shops have seats for children to sit on and may have activities linked to books. Libraries usually have plenty of space for sitting down to read too.
- Lead by example. Let your child catch you reading! If they see that you enjoy reading they are more likely to copy you.
- Suggest finding out about something in a book. The next time your child asks a question about something, instead of Googling it or saying "I don’t know,” suggest to them that you visit the library together and see if you can find a book relating to the topic. Can they find the answer for themselves?