It’s #ChildrensBookWeek so I thought I’d give you some ideas around reading for pleasure.
Reading for pleasure is so important for children & it can benefit your child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing, and their mental health.
Reading with children can help to create a love of reading for life & multiple studies have found a correlation between reading for pleasure and higher academic achievement in every subject, not just in English.
Through hearing stories & being read to, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding which is vital as they start to read.
Reading to very young children in even the earliest months of their lives can help with language acquisition and stimulating the part of the brain that processes language.
The more that a child is read to, the more that they read for themselves over time.
Reading, being read to, and sharing books at home helps to build your child’s love of books and understanding of the world. It also nurtures their empathy & widens their view of the world.
As a former Deputy Head I suggest just 10 minutes a day can transform a child’s confidence, competence & enjoyment of reading.
In case you’re not convinced. Here’s a starter for 10.
- Children who read often and widely get better at it.
- Reading exercises your child’s brain.
- Reading improves their concentration.
- Reading teaches children about the world around them.
- Reading improves vocabulary and language skills.
- Reading develops your child’s imagination.
- Reading helps children to develop empathy & tolerance.
- Reading books with diversity & inclusion builds self esteem, confidence & kindness.
- Reading is a fun.
- Reading is a great way to spend time together.
Whether your child is a keen or reluctant reader, use some of these ideas to inspire your child to keep on reading particularly as they move from primary to secondary school where reading for pleasure can drop off.
- Encourage your children to read to each other. Older siblings can share a story with younger members of the family which is a lovely way to spend some time together.
- If your child is motivated by targets or prizes, set them a reading-based challenge. Can they read 10 short stories in 10 days.
- Try audiobooks if your child is a reluctant reader or even just for a change. You can access thousands of audiobooks online or via apps like Hoopla and Audible. Try the BBC Sounds app or their 6 classic children’s stories for rainy days https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/classic-children’s-stories/z6v2y9q
- Book review websites such as Toppsta and Lovereading4kids invite children to sign up to become reviewers. Your child can select the books they are interested in reading, and publishers will send a free copy to your home in return for writing a short online review.
- Take part in a Readathon or other sponsored reading event to raise money for good causes and funds for school books.
- There are lots of short, fun writing and book-themed competitions for children, including reviews, short stories, journalism, handwriting, and poetry. Look online for something that will appeal & inspire them.
- Think about what your child loves to do. Does your son have a hobby or special area of interest? Does he like dinosaurs or robots ? Does your daughter like football or gymnastics? By finding reading material that piques their interest and draws them into reading, you’re giving your children a motivational boost.
- Make time for reading. If your child has a jam-packed schedule and reading is sandwiched between hockey and music practice, reading may seem like an unwelcome chore. Allow reading to be a relaxing and enjoyable time, free from pressure.
- Don’t abandon read-aloud time when your children get older—no one is too old for a great read-aloud! It’s relaxing & connects you to your child – you’re also building memories that last a lifetime!
- Make sure the reading material isn’t beyond your child’s reading abilities. Their interest may be there, but if the book is too hard to read, your child’s motivation will wane.
- Create a cosy corner. A special reading space may be all the encouragement your child needs to settle down and spend time with a good book! A good book, a soft rug, and a cosy blanket— what’s not to like?
- Let humour work its magic! Select a funny book at your child’s reading level and read the first chapter aloud. Then stop reading. If your child wants to find out what happens next, they’ll have to read it themselves!