You probably know that I love reading; I love expanding my knowledge and getting lost in a story. I want my children to love reading as well. It will help them at school and I hope inspire their imaginations.
Encouraging children to read
Here are my suggestions to encourage your children to read. I’m not involved in education so these are based on what well-informed people have recommended to me.
- Read in front of your children so you model the behaviour you want them to copy. I’ve recently started reading first thing in the morning so my children see me when they come into my bedroom
- Inspire them with interesting stories by reading to them at bedtime. We read a variety of books including long books, for example, my husband is currently reading The Hobbit to them
- Make sure there are different books around so they can easily pick them up when they want to. We have two bookshelves for the children one downstairs and one in their bedroom.
- Motivate them with challenges, such as the library summer reading challenge
Making books available
It is much easier for children to read if there are books available for them. Our children are fortunate as they have lots of books, including books from mine and my husband’s childhood. If you don’t have a lot of books it is easy to get more, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot:
- go to your local library, we try to go most Saturdays
- buy books from car boot sales or charity shops
- download free ebooks from Project Gutenberg or your local library
McDonald’s Roald Dahl books
Another way is to look out for book giveaways. For example, McDonald’s are currently giving away a small Roald Dahl book with each Happy Meal. Receiving a set of books from McDonald’s was very exciting for both of my children*. The books are extracts from Roald Dahl books and focus on one character. Of course, they all have artwork by Quentin Blake. As we have a full set of Roald Dahl book I didn’t think my eight year old daughter would be interested, but she loved being able to finish a book in one session.
My five year old son was initially attracted by the stickers and bookmark but was keen to read one. I know Roald Dahl books are well beyond his current reading level, and if we gave him Charlie and the Chocolate Factory he would be intimidated by the size of the book and the small print. However, these books are significantly smaller with larger print so he was happy to start one. He’s been reading one sentence a night and reached page 3. I hope when he realises it is the same text as the full book that it increases his reading confidence.
My son took part in the Summer Reading Challenge for the first time. He chose a variety of books including a Lego story and a paper craft book and loved collecting the stickers as he finished the books. However, the highlight was going to an award ceremony at the library this week to get a certificate and a medal. Knowing a medal was on offer was certainly a motivator for him.
Do your children like reading? How do you encourage them to read? What has worked best for them?
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, but all words and thoughts are my own