“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Reading with children at home has numerous benefits. There are so many ways parents/carers can encourage a love for books and reading at home. These are some of the ways you can develop a love for reading in your home.
Reading should be a positive experience for everyone. Help your child find a topic which they love and find a time which works well for everyone to read together. Visiting the library, choosing a magazine from a shop or a special trip to a book store to buy a book makes choosing a book a fun experience. A child will more likely get excited about reading it if they have chosen the book themselves.
Try read with your child as often as you can, as well as letting your child see the adults at home reading too. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader. Share with them what you enjoy reading, such as the newspaper or your favourite book. Listening to audio books is another fun way to encourage reading. Many books now have QR codes which you can scan to listen to the book being read. A story CD is a great way to entertain children on a long car trip.
Noticing letters, words and sentences and pointing them out to your child will help them to see that words are everywhere and the importance of reading. Environmental print is the print of everyday life. Going shopping is a great opportunity to point out familiar labels to your child. Driving in a car is also the perfect time to look out for letters and words, for example street names or traffic signs.
Try to vary the books as much as possible and choose diverse books. Different kinds of books not only expose your child to different words but also different illustrations. Your child might prefer non-fiction to fiction books or might really enjoy poetry. Recipe books, comic books and magazines are also a fun way to encourage reading.
Decoding is a key skill in learning to read. To decode words, children sound out the word they don’t know. Studies have established a strong positive link between phonic awareness and success in early reading. The Happy Little Doers Phonics Flashcards covers sound blending, pronunciation, phonics terminology and even phonics games. This is a perfect way to develop a child’s ability of blending phonemes which will help build confidence in reading.
Being able to talk about the text is as important as being able to read fluently. Your child will be less enthusiastic to read if they do not understand what they are reading. Rereading the book helps a child build fluency and have a better understanding of what they have read in order to talk about it. Reading aloud might also help a child understand what they are reading. Most important is to spend time talking about what has been read will help your child comprehend what they have read. Check your child understands the vocabulary in the book and spend time discussing the book and asking questions.
Playing with books is a wonderful way to engage children with books and spark their imagination. Role-playing a story brings a book to life and helps a child retell a story. Activities around the book will generally hold a child’s attention and encourage them to spend more time on a book. This can be done by using props, dress-up clothes, story sacks or toys related to the story being read. Bookish play can also be linked to an art activity, construction and sensory play. Play which is linked to a book also helps foster a love of reading and books.
There is no right or wrong way to encourage reading at home. Whether you have 5 minutes or 15 minutes, every minute spent reading with your child helps to grow an interest in books. It is this interest that develops into a lifelong love for reading. Most of all, reading should be an enjoyable time spent together with lots of special shared moments.
Written for Happy Little Doers by Mary-Lou Perry, Mother of a 2 and 5-year-old and Teacher. You can find her over @yay_for_play for bookish play ideas.