Benefits of reading and how to encourage your child to love it – Carey Ann Dodah, Director of Curriculum Strategy at Explore Learning
New research by tuition provider, Explore Learning has revealed that the UK’s love of reading is very much alive. One in three Brits read every day for pleasure, whilst 39% read once a week. Only 8% say they never read at all. The enjoyment a good book can bring is a huge joy for so many across the UK, however sometimes a little encouragement is needed to help children find it for themselves.
In aiding a child to grow a passion for literature, you are unlocking a door to worlds far, far away from their own. As a result, the child’s imagination and empathy will grow, as well as their linguistic skills.
Here are a few tips on how parents, siblings, friends and relatives can help children to embrace the wonderful world of reading:
- Read with enthusiasm. Reading with energy and excitement brings a story to life. Don’t be afraid to be silly. Children love it when you use different voices; not only does it make it a much more enjoyable experience for you both, it can really help your child’s understanding of the story. In time your child will mimic this style and reading becomes a playacting opportunity rather than a daily task or chore.
- Start ASAP. Children will reap the rewards of being read to, even when too young to read themselves. The way a child learns their mother tongue is such a magical experience – language (words, tone, facial expression) is absorbed every day from birth. When you read a book you’ll introduce new elements of language that you wouldn’t use everyday. A bed time story is a perfect introduction – and a lovely routine to have as your child grows to continue precious one-on-one time.
- Family reading. For slightly older children who are able to read independently – a designated ‘reading hour’, (or half an hour), where everybody in the house sits and reads quietly is beneficial. A calm, relaxed period of time, away from technology, demonstrates your passion for reading. Afterwards, discuss your book and the characters in it. By showing your interest in your own book, you will encourage a similar interest for your child and their book.
- Any time is reading time. Words are all around us! There are so many opportunities to read – on the walk to school, in the park, anywhere out and about. Even at the dinner table you can find some great ‘wordy’ placemats to discuss over the dinner table – try mrswordsmith.com. It doesn’t have to be a book – magazines, newspapers, TV guides, takeaway menus, timetables and of course the internet. If you have a reluctant reader ask them to find some information out for you and see how they get on!
- Reading at the right level. It can be tricky to find reading material that is at the right level as your child is learning to read. Companies such as readingchest.co.uk send levelled books through the post each month or for older ‘free’ readers that enjoy non-fiction The Week Junior magazine is a wonderful complement to a child’s school education www.theweekjunior.co.uk (you’ll probably enjoy reading it too!)
- Books as a reward. Books are a perfect way to reward your child. There’s something very special about going into a book shop and being able to pick one special book. It’s something I’m sure your child will feel proud of having and might even get excited about what one they might choose next!
These tips aim to be realistic and simple to implement. Kids should feel hugely proud of being able to read. It really does unlock the world to them. They will benefit from it long in to their education and also, I hope, the rest of their lives.
If your child is a budding young writer, they may like to enter the National Young Writers’ Awards, entries will open on the 6th Mach 2017 – https://www.explorelearning.co.uk/schools/national-young-writers-awards/.