How can I encourage my child to develop good reading habits?
Children of any age can appreciate works of fiction, and even if they aren't ready to recognise the written word, they may still be able to improve their language skills as they listen to books that are read to them. There are a number of ways that parents and teachers can help foster children's love of reading.
Make reading enjoyable
There are a variety of books on the market that are tailored to different age ranges. Choose pop-up books or other creatively published texts and if you are reading to your children you can vary your tone of voice to maintain their interest. Setting up a cosy reading tent or mini-library in your child's bedroom may also encourage them to read more frequently.
Use interactive books
Interactive books may have sound buttons and pull-out facts that will serve to bring stories to life. Children can also hear a story being read out as they follow the words on the page.
Expose them to books from a variety of genres
Reading doesn't have to be limited to traditional stories. Children may also enjoy reading non-fiction books, including encyclopaedias, as well as newspapers targeted at children. Comic books may also stimulate their interest in reading.
Read each night
Reading books together as part of a child's night-time routine will ensure that children associate reading with relaxation. Children can also point out any words they are familiar with and read them out.
For those children who have not yet begun reading, asking questions about the story such as 'What do you think is going to happen next?' will help them familiarise themselves with story structures.
Children love nothing more than acting and trying out different roles. If your child is a reluctant reader then encouraging them to play a character from a fictional tale, complete with dialogue, may help to motivate them to read a text.
Take them to the local library
Local libraries are a treasure trove for young children, and they regularly host story-time sessions and summer reading contests. Being surrounded by other children who love reading may be just the thing to cement your child's enjoyment of reading.