Parenthood: How to make your child love reading? Advice from a teacher


Sophie Hamilton

Do you have trouble getting your child or children read ? Is it a big occasion when they finally pick up a book? Parents, we understand.

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Summer holidays are an opportunity for your children to let go after a long year at school, and while they’re probably more interested in playing with friends and staring at screens, it’s important to keep reading during the long break. It’s also a great way for parents and children to bond.

As part of HELLO!it is Back to school Digital Issue edited by Alesha Dixonwe spoke to a former primary school teacher Emma Shingleton of Educational Resource Experts PlanBee for tips on how to instill a love of reading in children.

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Emma tells us, “I recommend reading with your child from the start, from when they start a bedtime routine and get into the habit of reading a story with them every night.”

Read her top tips below…

It is important that children continue to read during the summer holidays

Different ways to read and listen to stories

“Reading doesn’t always have to be the reading you do to your child,” Emma reveals.

“If you have an older child, obviously reading to you is a great way to get them to read, but there are also a lot of amazing reading tools you can use.

“Toniebox is a story box that you put next to their bed and they come with little characters. The child owns it so they can choose what they like, put the character on the box and they starts telling the story. So it doesn’t always have to be the traditional way of reading.

“As teachers, we recommend that they read about 10 minutes a day – this could be listening to a story, putting on an audiobook, or reading and listening to the story at the same time.

“We need to let go of the assumption that we have to read with our child for them to learn, because independent learning is just as important.”

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Create a reading lair

“Another trick I would recommend is to create a reading nook or den for your child.

“My little one has a little nook in the corner of his room where there are a few pillows, shelves from Ikea and some picture books displayed on the shelves in his room, so he can choose the books he would like to read. It is a nice cozy place where he can go to relax and read.

“It’s similar to what we would have in a classroom at school, a reading nook. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Most parents have tons of books. You can go to charity shops and buy books for 50 pence. Then get some cushions and some shelves.

“Displaying the cover of a book is important because just seeing the spine of a book doesn’t always grab a child’s attention. You can even display them on a dresser.

“Often children feel like reading is work and think, ‘Do I have to go read?’ But if it’s exciting for them, it helps.”

Children are probably more interested in looking at screens

Mix their reading material

“Your child doesn’t need to read a classic book to start reading – they can read a children’s newspaper, magazines they love, and even read online.

“These kids are more tech-savvy than us parents – they love tablets and going online – and it’s good to have screen time, but for that screen time you have to read something. thing like a blog.”

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Involve the family

Emma explains: “There’s so much you can do as a family without it being obvious that they’re reading.

“For example, if you’re in the car, kids in grades 4 and up might read the instructions if you print them out. They might not feel like they’re reading, but they do, and that’s productive. They will feel like they are taking ownership of something.

“If you’re gardening, ask them to read the labels on the plants, like ‘Where should this be planted?’ It doesn’t have to be a ‘sitting reading a book’ situation – there is has so many opportunities to read in daily life.

“Another good idea is to ask family members to read their favorite story, record it and then give it to the child to listen to. It makes them feel special.”

Take a trip to the bookstore

“If your child doesn’t like to read independently, I would suggest giving them ownership, perhaps taking them to the bookstore. Buying books and your kids seeing you reading are just as important as they are reading. alone.

“If you have a quiet moment at the end of the day or on the weekend, everyone can sit down with a book of their choice. Seeing this behavior modeled is important, but so is your child choosing what they read. .”

Create a reading nook at home

Our language around reading is important

“It is important that we look at how we use our language around reading with our children.

“We wouldn’t say in front of our child, ‘Oh, I suck at math’ because then they’ll think, ‘Well, if they suck at math, I’ll suck at math.’ we say.

“You might say, ‘Oh, I really want to sit outside and read a book now.'”

Continue reading in the summer

“You can set expectations with older kids over the summer and explain to them why it’s important to keep reading over the holidays. Say, ‘Your reading has gone so well this year and we don’t want you to spend a summer leaving and then leaving again in September and feeling less confident than before”.

“You might agree with them that, for example, they’ll read to themselves once a week, read to someone once a week, and listen to a story once a week – so trying to make it enjoyable.

“For the youngest, it’s trying to encourage reading without them realizing it, like sitting with them and reading them a story. They’ll learn so much from reading with you, just sitting on the couch, nothing too pressured.”

Other fun activities to try:

  • Stream your child’s favorite programs without sound but with subtitles. Can they read and understand what is happening?
  • Host karaoke sessions where children are challenged to read and sing lyrics on screen.
  • Why not learn a topical poem alongside your child: find one about the holidays, the weather or the beaches depending on the season!
  • Organize a ‘book café’ play day at home: place a range of books and reading materials on a table and encourage the children to taste them, then discuss among themselves.

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