Start reading to your child from the moment he or she is born. It is never too early to encourage your child to develop a love of reading.
- Read to your child every day. Make it an expected and enjoyable part of your child's daily routine.
- Make reading fun! If you enjoy reading, they will enjoy it too. They will learn to associate reading with pleasure.
- Choose books that your child can relate to; books that encompass their life experience.
- Create a personal connection between your child and a book.
- Create books with your child - about them, about their family, school, life etc. It's a great way to encourage a love of books.
- Make sure your child sees you reading, whether its books, the paper, the cereal packet. If they see that you enjoy reading, they will want to read too.
- Don't choose books that are too long or complicated for your child's age and experience. If they are exhausted and confused by the experience, they will not want to continue.
- Take your child to a regular story-telling session at your local library. These are often followed by art and craft activities and your child will associate reading with fun and pleasure.
- Praise all your child's attempts at reading, even when they are young and are only 'reading' from memory or are making lots of mistakes. Any effort made should be praised and rewarded.
- Buy them books as gifts or surprise rewards for good behaviour.
- Make reading aloud part of your child's routine. Children love regular routines - they help them to feel secure. Reading to your child is a great way to end his or her day and the perfect way for you to settle them before bedtime.
- Choose books that your child can be involved with - books with repetition, rhyme, predictable stories or books with word patterns in them. Studies have shown that this type of book, shared with a child, will significantly improve the way a child learns words.
- Choose age-appropriate books with subject matter that interests your child.
- Use the hard, thick back books for young babies. They'll come out ok even when they spend more time in your baby's mouth than in their hands.
- Don't try to teach your child when you're reading with them. Make reading fun. Let your child interrupt, ask questions and tell you the story if they know it.
- Be expressive when you read. If you're excited about reading and books, then your child will be too.
- Even when your child can read, keep reading to them.
- Put their books on a low shelf or in storage tubs that they can easily reach and access.
Supportive Reading Techniques
A child who enjoys reading is more likely to pay attention and attention is essential for learning to take place. Here are a few 'Supportive Reading' techniques that parents can adopt to encourage reading enjoyment.
- Let your child turn the pages at their own pace. If they want to flick forward ahead of the story then that's okay.
- Words are not that interesting to very young children who don't necessarily understand them. You can make the reading experience more interesting by referring to the pictures and making links with your child's everyday life. Don't be afraid to divert from the story. Young children love it when connections are made to things in their own life.
- Interaction and embellishment of stories is one of the most supportive things a parent can share with their child when reading. It helps make books fun.
- Rather than correcting pronunciation, support your child's understanding. Their technique will improve with familiarity to words and sounds.