Reading with your Children
Why is reading so important?
- It broadens vocabulary.
- It allows children to immerse themselves in a different world.
- It gets their creative juices flowing and stimulates thinking imaginatively.
- It expands their understanding of the world around them.
- It expands their general knowledge.
- It helps develop their own writing.
- It develops language and listening skills.
- It improves concentration and memory.
- It develops empathy by empathising with characters in the book.
- It keeps them busy!
How can you create a reading environment at home?
Reading should be done in comfort. There is nothing better than settling down with a good book and getting swallowed up in the world it creates.
For your little ones, build a little den in their bedroom or in the corner of the living room, and fill it with cushions and books. Allow them to choose their favourite books to read to themselves or their cuddly toys. They might just be looking at the pictures and making up the story, but this is perfect; it’s where their creativity and imagination sparks to life.
For older children, get them to build their own den or, alternatively, ensure they have a comfortable place to settle down with their book. Ensure they have enough light to read!
How can you encourage reading?
Whether you have a reluctant reader on your hands or you simply want to encourage your child to read more, here are some ways to ignite their love of reading.
- Read aloud – practise both reading aloud with your child as well as reading to themselves.
- Take turns at reading. Read a page or paragraph each so that it doesn’t seem like an insurmountable task.
- Take away the fear of failure. Children can feel insecure, particularly when reading aloud. Make your own mistakes and show them it is ok to do so.
- Help with difficult words. Don’t let them struggle along – pipe up and help them out! Make it light-hearted and give them ways to remember those trickier words. If they ask what a word says, tell them.
- Choose appropriate texts that won’t leave them feeling discouraged. War and Peace can wait until they’re ready 😉
- Sign up to a magazine subscription to encourage their own love of reading – something they are interested in such as comics or science etc.
- Check out the National Literacy Trust where you can find some wonderful resources as well as the latest events in the world of literacy.
- Join your local library and make regular visits, allowing them to choose their own books while they’re there. This encourages independent choice. Furthermore, libraries often have appearances from authors which can be a fantastic way to inspire your future little authors.
- Have a teddy bears’ picnic in the local park, encouraging your child to bring along as many books and teddies as they like!
- Don’t just read fiction books. Non-fiction books can be the start of a life-long passion for a particular subject.
- Use the Ipad or tablet – there are wonderful apps and reading games that can help to encourage a love of reading.
- Purchase / download some audiobooks and allow your child to listen to these instead of reading occasionally. They can also be a lifesaver on a long journey in the car! Audio books can enable a weaker reader to access age appropriate content and get excited by books.
- If your child has a Kindle, “Whispersync” audiobooks allow your child to switch back and forth between a Kindle book and audiobook narration – without losing their place. This can also help with pronunciation of tricky words or character names!
- Read a range of different genres. It gives them access to a varied vocabulary and different worlds.
- Sign up your child to a reading challenge. The Reading Agency often have some good ones. We have created our very own Bright Light Education Reading Challenge!
- Join a book club or set up a little book club with your child and a few of their friends. They could meet with parents once a month for pizza and to talk about the book.