Do you struggle to get your child to engage in books and reading at home?
It can be hard to get them off the screen and get them into a daily habit of reading when we are so busy as parents every day. But we know how critical reading is in the Early Years; and encouraging a love of books and stories from an early age is evidenced to have significant lifelong impact.
But even when you are struggling to feel like you are helping them, should you give up on helping them learn and let them do what they want? No, the answer is out there. And it’s probably on your bookshelf.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy
Books offer worlds of difference, worlds of adventure and can even help us feel less alone. Here are some ways you can help educate your child through reading at home.
- Let the child choose the book…
If your child chooses a book in a topic that interests them, you are half way there already. So if they prefer facts, jokes or comic books to good old fiction thats fine; as better to have them read what they want and read, than to try and steer them to something that they have no interest in and turn them off completely.
The Book Trust recently launched their #UnitedByBooks social campaign which could give you some help. The idea is that the authors, illustrators and leading children’s reading organisations involved use this hashtag to offer tips, activities and more to support reading at home.
- Keep it structured
Try and have a daily habit of reading together or if they are of an age where they can read on their own, have a rule of no screen time during that time and have the same half and hour every day set aside as reading time. You could even sit and read your book at the same time. Modelling is one of the most powerful things we can do as parents! Or start choosing some bedtime stories to read? The joy of reading together is a memory you will both treasure for life. Plus there are other benefits such as snuggling and relaxing together, a time where your child will share their feelings and you will build precious connection.
The key is to not make it seem like a lesson or a task. Keep it fun and pressure-free. If your child isn’t having a good time, choose books on subject they enjoy. And if they’re having trouble reading, sit with them, read with them and help develop their skills.
- Choose the right book
The right books aren’t always about the subject though. If you’re thinking of purchasing some new stories to keep your kids reading at home, you should consider their Key Stage and reading level too. Some retailers offer really useful teacher packs and special book band collections, for this exact purpose.
- Explore fact and fiction
We all love a good novel or storybook, but don’t be afraid to mix it up and introduce some other genres.
Why not do some baking together and have your child read the recipe as a cooking class? Or put on a show and do some stand up using a joke book to improve their confidence and drama skills? There are loads of ways you can mash up reading at home with other parts of the school curriculum.
- Create a cosy nook for great books
If you’re going for quiet reading time to help your child escape into their magical storybook world, help them get in the zone by creating a comfy reading space. Whether they’re reading on their own snuggled up in bed, or you’re squished together on the sofa – make it comfy and they’ll read the hours away while you watch their literacy improve.
- Lead by example
Ever heard the phrase, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’? That’s certainly true with reading and literacy. Research shows that having lots of books and reading at home promotes enjoyment and confidence. So why not whip out a book and read alongside your child in the cosy nook? You’ll set a great example, and (as an added benefit) reading in groups has been shown to increase relaxation, confidence and self-esteem too.
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