Top tips for encouraging reading at home

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Spending time reading with your child at home is proven to increase social and emotional development, assist in parent and child bonding and help to spark creativity and imagination. So, to keep the magic and excitement of World Book Day alive, we’ve put together a list of top tips to help you encourage your little one to read at home. 

Tip #1 – dedicate a space to reading

Dedicating a fun space to reading can be a great way to encourage your child to pick up a book – they’re bound to enjoy hiding away in a den made of blankets to immerse themselves into a story. You could make a themed space, with flying letters, wands and a broomstick if you were reading Harry Potter together, for example. And, you could even invite their dolls or teddies into your sacred reading space to help you tell the story.

Tip #2 – ask your child questions 

Asking questions such as “who’s your favourite character?” or “what do you think should happen next?” encourages your child to use their imagination, get involved, and feel as though they have some creative control over the stories they are discovering. 

Tip #3 – read recipes 

Another good way to encourage your little one to read is by not going anywhere near a book at all. Follow their interests and let them read the recipes as you bake together, instructions on how to make something, or even colourful magazines about their favourite sport, TV show or musician.

Tip #4 – read regularly

If you establish a routine and read on a daily basis, like at bedtime, your child will begin to look forward to that time of the day where they get to spend quality time with you and continue on with your current adventure. With reading as part of your day-to-day lives, it’ll become more of a habit than a chore. 

In addition, you should try and read anything you can, anywhere you can! Reading road signs when you’re out and about, names of shops and even labels on household items is a clever way to make your little one more aware of the world around them and develop a greater understanding of words and sounds. What’s more, adopting a blended reading approach to teaching phonetics and word recognition is a proven way for improving your child’s literacy skills and reading proficiency.

Tip #5 – model your own love for reading

Our children look up to us for inspiration, comfort and as a role model. Setting an example and allowing your child to see you unwind with a book in your hand will encourage them to want to do the same. It doesn’t matter if they’re not yet able to read the words independently, just the act of picking up a picture book to copy you might just spark some curiosity. 

Tip #6 – listen to audiobooks

If you don’t always have time to sit and read, then technology could come to your aid. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to get your child hearing words, sounds and full sentences, allowing them to understand what a fluent reader sounds like, as well as use their imagination to picture the worlds being described to them. You could even get them to follow along with the book in their hand so they can physically see the words instead of hearing them. it’s all the benefits of reading, but you’ll still have time to do everything else that’s on your list. 

Tip #7 – read the book, watch the movie

Many of our favourite books have now been made into movies, so to utilise these, you and your little one could read the book together, a few chapters at a time, and then when you’ve finished plan a family movie night to watch the film version together. Even for reluctant readers, the incentive to sit and have a fun-filled movie night at the end is always helpful. 

When you feel as though you’ve ran out of ways to encourage reading at home, don’t worry, as there are many ways you can further the reading experience whilst out-and-about. Taking day-trips to the library, where you could build something or let your child pick their own book will help them associate the library with fun. Or, you could read outside, visiting storybook locations, and even listen to audiobooks when on the move. The possibilities are endless, and there are so many new worlds just waiting for you and your little one to discover, together.

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