How can parents encourage their children to read?

by Charlotte Husband, Discover & Be tutor

For some children reading just isn't appealing. There are far too many other more exciting and interesting things to be doing with your time!

So how do we, as parents and educators, encourage children to read?

I have always found 'reluctant readers' tend to fall into two categories: those that find it hard to read and therefore avoid it, and those that are just more interested in other things. It is really important that children are reading material that interests them; this doesn't necessarily mean fiction books. There are all sorts of fantastic factual texts that might interest your child: First News, Aquila Magazine, National Geographic Kids and The Day (for slightly older children), for example.

(C) Creature Media Ltd

(C) Creature Media Ltd

Non-fiction texts such as newspaper articles and factual reads are great for children who struggle to concentrate on reading a fiction text, or who are simply more interested in science, history, geography or current affairs.

Audio books are another excellent resource. Listening to texts being read well is a good way for children to hear and understand a range of both fiction and non-fiction that may otherwise be inaccessible to them.

boy reading in bed.jpeg

Helping your child choose their books is also important. It can be very easy for them just to keep picking up the same series or same author or books that are familiar to them rather than challenging themselves.

For reluctant readers, seeing their parents and siblings reading at home is a fantastic model for them. It is also important to mix it up a bit - read together, read out loud, read a bit to yourself and listen to a chapter being read by someone famous. Allow your child to take on something a bit more challenging but help them with it.

Make mistakes; show them you don't know how to pronounce every word or that you need to look up a word in a dictionary. Think outside the box when it comes to selecting texts - there are so many good options for children now. Go to your local library together and make it a fun trip out, choose something to read together, discuss it, find the humour, the poignant moments, the excitement. Show your child how exhilarating reading can be!