Reading at Home

We know that reading is the key to success and that all children should experience high quality books that enhance literacy skills and inspire them to read widely.

It is evident that children who read regularly acquire a greater range of vocabulary, and learn skills such as empathy, compassion and diplomacy earlier than those who do not read regularly. 

Sharing a book with your child 

Here are some tips to help you enjoy storytime together:

  • Ask your child to choose what they’d like to read. They’ll feel more interested in the story if they’ve picked it out themselves. (And don’t worry if they keep returning to the same story, either!)  
  • If you can, turn off the TV, radio and computer. It’s easier for both of you to enjoy the story without any other distractions  
  • Sit close together. You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages, too.  
  • Take a look at the pictures. You don’t just have to read the words on the page. Maybe there’s something funny in the pictures that you can giggle about together, or perhaps your child enjoys guessing what will happen next.  
  • Ask questions and talk about the book. Picture books can be a great way to talk through your child’s fears and worries, or to help them deal with their emotions. Give them space to talk, and ask how they feel about the situations in the story.  
  • Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to share a story – as long as you and your child are having fun. Don’t be afraid to act out situations or use funny voices… your little ones will love it!

Encouraging a love of reading

As children get older, with lots of other activities competing for their time, how can you encourage them to make time for reading?

Here are some ideas:

  • Read yourself! It doesn’t matter what it is – pick up a newspaper or magazine, take a look at a cookery book, read a computer manual, enjoy some poetry or dive into a romance or detective novel. And get your children to join in – if you’re cooking, could they read the recipe? If you’re watching TV, can they read out the listings  
  • Give books as presents. And encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other – it’ll give them a chance to read new stories, and get them all talking about what they’re reading.  
  • Visit the local library together. It’s always fun choosing new books to read, and keep an eye out for special author events at the library or local bookshops – children love meeting their favourite authors. Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that are miles long!  
  • Encourage children to carry a book at all times. That way, they’ll never be bored (this is something you can do, too!  
  • Have a family bookshelf. If you can, have bookshelves in your children’s bedrooms, too.  
  • Keep reading together. Just because your children are older, it doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing stories – perhaps you could try the Harry Potter series or A Series of Unfortunate Events.  
  • Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again. Let’s be honest - we’ve all done it!

How to support your child at home. 

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