Without a doubt, the very best way to grow a child’s love of reading is by setting an example where you personally, read regularly and widely, and advertise the fact at every given opportunity.

But this doesn’t mean you have to spend all day reading books in front of your children!

What it means is this - show your child just how often every day, choosing to read adds value to your life. Help them to see that being able to read well will open doors to lots of interesting, fun and useful things; that this tricky task they’re being asked to do has real purpose.

Show them that…

  • You read the news online each morning because you are interested in what’s happening.
  • You browse a magazine to get some inspiration for what to cook for tea.
  • You follow a blog, you read the local paper, you check out the football results and you read an email from a friend, because all this brings you enjoyment.
  • You read your kindle in bed each night before you go to sleep because reading both relaxes and entertains you.

How often do you share any of this reading with your child?

When a child is finding learning to read tough, you can help them to see the bigger picture….being able to access whatever they want to read is the reward for their perseverance. The more a child can see the value that reading has to their life, the more likely they are to want to do it.

In general conversation:

  • Talk to your child about why you read – does it relax you? Challenge you? Entertain you? Help you learn new things?
  • Talk to your child about what you are reading at the moment and share your opinions, – ‘I’ve just started a new book about a family who’ve bought an old hotel….it seems a bit creepy.'
  • Invite your child in to what you are reading, – ‘I was reading a magazine earlier and did you know that polar bears touch noses to ask permission to share food?’

Push your own boundaries, read something totally different from your usual choices and talk to your child about how you’re getting on – this models ‘book language’ and helps children to talk about their own reading.

Have books, magazines, newspapers readily available around the home; children will copy what they see adults doing and if they see you regularly reading, they will be more likely to do the same.

The opportunity to read is all around us and doesn’t just happen when we sit down with a book. Being able to read confidently allows you to access those opportunities; being unable to read well denies that access. Show your child the value reading has to all areas of life and help equip them for a successful future.