I’m sure if you’re a parent, guardian or carer, it crosses your mind sometimes whether your children are reading enough. As our little ones grow up to become bigger ones, their reading level gets more significant and we want to make sure that our children are at the correct level of all academic pursuits as outlined in the National Curriculum. Government guidelines say that we should start getting our children interested in books from as young as 3 years old! This means that parents should aim to get them reading way before they start school. But you may wonder how one can do that? Here are some useful tips to help get your young children (3-7) more interested in reading;
• Take them to your local bookstore or browse together with them on an online ebook bookstore. Encourage them to find books they might like to read. If they have chosen the book themselves, it is much more likely that they will want to read it.
• Use picture books and ‘first’ books and talk to your child whilst you are going through them page by page. Encourage your child to say the words out loud and ask them what the pictures are.
• Read to them; for as little as 10-15 minutes a day.
• When you read to them during bed – or bath time, get them engaged with the story. Read with them, not to them.
• Sing to/with them! Singing has been proven to encourage a child’s speech – hence all the songs elementary school teachers make children sing.
• Read many different books, but also re-read their favourite ones. As they become more comfortable with the familiar books, encourage them to start reading the book to you. This will stop them feeling overwhelmed by the many different books as well as it will stop them trying to progress too quickly, which can often lead to feelings of frustration and insecurity.
Here are some helpful tips if your child is a little older (7-11):
• Talk to your child about the books that he/she has been reading. Ask them what they liked about it and why. Encourage reflection.
• Listen to them read out loud. Encourage them to read their favourite part of the book they’ve just read, and if there are any younger brothers or sisters you could ask him/her to read to them.
• Revisit old favourites. If there’s a book they particularly love, there’s no harm in them re-reading it a few times.
• Use modern technology. If you have an e-reader, tablet pc or iPad, there are numerous downloadable children’s’ eBooks. It may encourage them if they do not like reading paper books. A series they might enjoy is the Mr Midnight ebook series by James Lee.
• If they like watching films or TV shows, encourage them to read books that were made into a film or a television series. A good example of this is the Sherlock Holmes ebook – big chance that your child will find both its books and its TV series exhilarating.
Whatever age your child is, reading is an important part of their development. If they see you reading it will also encourage them to read as it helps cement the view that books are for enjoyment, and not just for homework as a chore.
Reading should be fun!