9 ways to get kids reading at home
Learning to read can be an uphill struggle for some children. We’ve put together some practical tips to help make it fun.
Find the right book
A good place to browse is www.lovereading4kids.co.uk. You can search by age and topic and download extracts from thousands of books to see what takes their fancy. Home in on their interests and things they’re excited about. If you’re getting a kitten, they’ll need to read up on how to look after it!
Mix it up with comics, graphic novels, magazines, recipes, gadget instructions etc – it’s all reading.
Make a special reading place
Reading is meant to be relaxing so get comfortable. Encourage them to kick off their shoes, lounge in a beanbag, or even build a special reading den.
Share the reading
Reading can be tiring for children so take turns reading aloud. You could swap reader every sentence, paragraph or page, or swap at an agreed signal, such as tapping the page.
Talk about the book
Get them to engage with the story by asking questions about what they think will happen, or what advice they’d give a character. Stop reading at a cliff-hanger so they’re dying to know what happens next. It will encourage them to tackle the text themselves.
Read to a pet and reading aloud
Some schools run sessions where children read to dogs. This has been shown to build confidence and encourage positive attitudes to reading. If you don’t have a pet, they could read to a toy instead. Don’t interfere – the whole point is that the pet or toy is an uncritical listener who doesn’t mind if they get a word wrong or miss a bit out!
Use a fun bookmark
Get crafty and help them make a bookmark – they’ll be excited about using it!
Try coloured overlays
People with dyslexia often experience visual stress, or distortions of the text, when they read. If your child says words jump off the page or move around, you could try using coloured overlays as this can make reading more comfortable.
Reward their reading
Kids love stickers so get them to put one up on a calendar for each reading session, chapter or book completed. They could get a special treat once they have a certain number of stickers.
Be a reading role model
Make sure your child sees you absorbed in a book, newspaper or magazine on a regular basis. It gets across the message that reading is a pleasure.
By Caroline Roberts
Caroline is a London-based freelance writer and ex teacher, contributing to the digital and print publications of a wide range of trade, membership and voluntary organisations, as well as national newspapers and consumer magazines.