Reading allows children to discover new worlds, sparks their imagination, stimulates critical thinking, and helps to develop empathy.
According to our partners, the National Literacy Trust, children who enjoy reading are more likely to do better in school and feel happier.
To help families get reading here are our top ten tips to help encourage children to read more outside of the classroom:
1. Take a trip to the library
Your local library is free to join and can be a great way to get children excited about reading. Set them up with their very own library card and let them browse the children’s section, choose their own book to take home, and make the most of any storytelling sessions.
2. Make time to read
If possible, having set times to read can create good reading habits, and regular practice will boost their confidence. Try reading a bedtime story with your child every night or even set up a weekly book club with friends and family.
3. Let them choose
Giving your child the freedom to choose books for themselves is a great way to keep them excited and feel a sense of ownership over their books. Reading can feel like a chore if they aren’t interested in the story, but allowing them to choose books will help you both to discover the kind of stories they love.
4. Find a favourite
It’s good practice for children to read the same books over and over again to help them build confidence and finding a book that your child loves will help to keep them motivated to read.
5. Be inspired by their interests
Reading doesn’t have to mean reading books - find something they’re interested in and run with it. For example, if they like to cook, get them involved in choosing a recipe and reading the instructions.
6. Keep it short and sweet
While it’s good to have a reading routine, you should try to avoid putting pressure on children to read for a certain length of time- a good ten minutes is better than a difficult half an hour.
7. Make it fun
Keep it fun by making games that involve reading, such as a scavenger hunt with clues to read or a list of items to find.
8. Look at the pictures
The great thing about children’s books is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t read all the words - you can tell a story from the pictures. Let them play storyteller by looking at the pictures and creating their own tale using their imagination.
9. Try an audiobook
Audiobooks are a good way to support engagement in stories and research shows listening to audiobooks increases many children’s interest in reading and writing. Encourage them to give it a go and enjoy the immersive and relaxing experience.
10. Build a cosy reading den
Creating a dedicated reading space at home is an easy way to get children reading. Get them involved with building the den and try adding blankets and fairy lights for the ultimate cosy hideaway.