Visit the library
Your local library is a great resource that you should be using all year round – especially as it is free. Libraries often run summer reading clubs, storytelling events and literacy competitions so keep an eye out for what is happening and when. Encourage your child to choose their own books to help them start to develop their own interests. Make going to the library an ‘adventure’ and create special ‘library days’ – your child could even create a reading list and then write book reports after ticking them off the list.
What interests them?
Reading doesn’t just have to mean books. All reading is useful and there are plenty of other options out there – poetry, joke books, non-fiction, magazines and leaflets will all help develop your child’s literacy skills. Help your child find the right reading material to hold their interest and find out more about a subject by trying out different things. If your little one shows an interest in nature then why not try out a few nature magazines to introduce an educational element to their interest. For many children, discovering books that match their interest can be the start of a lifelong passion for reading. Introducing them to book series is a great way of fostering their interest and making them excited about the next book in the collection.
A great way to build the confidence and fluency of any child is by re-reading favourite books and poems. For younger children, books that feature rhyme and repetition are the perfect way to help your child remember words and join in with the story. It helps them develop an ear for language, making books predictable – young children love knowing what’s about to happen. Repetition and rhyming makes books fun, and if a child considers a book to be fun, they’re much more likely to pick one up themselves.
Reading on the go
Take a book wherever you go so that your child has the opportunity to read when they are out and about – in doctor’s waiting rooms or at train stations, for example. You can also play word games on long car journeys by reading road signs, shop names and billboards. or have everyone take it in turns to spot words and read them. Each player must read the words (out loud) as quickly as they can. This will also help make time pass more quickly, and although it’s not a book, it still gets them into the habit of reading for fun.
Make reading exciting
Transforming reading into an exciting activity is a great way to associate fun and novelty with books. You could try building a den out of sheets and blankets either inside or out in the garden, and then ask your child to choose a few items to take into the den – including a couple of books. Make sure they pack a torch as well; it could be dark and reading by torchlight creates an extra element of fun. With younger children, be prepared to get into the den with them! You could also add extra excitement to reading by creating an incentive, such as allowing them to stay up an extra half an hour past bedtime in the summer holidays – but only if this time is spent reading.
Reading together is a great way to spend quality time together with your son or daughter. There are a number of ways to make reading interactive, such as taking it in turns to read out loud or asking questions at intervals through the book. Not only will this keep them interested in the book, it will also make them think about the story, the characters and how they can relate to what is happening. Make sure you are somewhere warm and cosy with your child when reading to them – a beanbag or the sofa, for example – and make sure they are comfy when reading alone.
Make books part of daily life
Always have age appropriate books easily accessible in your home. This gives children the chance to sit down with a book whenever they fancy. And it’s important to let your child see you reading too. The impact this has on a child should not be underestimated. Speak with one another about what you are reading and why it is interesting. Look out for opportunities for your child to read. In a restaurant they can read the menu; at breakfast they can read cereal boxes; if they receive postcards or birthday cards encourage them to read them aloud; and while shopping they can read food labels.
Do you have any tips for encouraging little ones to pick up a book? Let us know about them in the comments section below.