Set yourself up to succeed

Reading for pleasure with your child should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Here are some Coram Beanstalk handy hints for making sure it is!

Get comfy

Beanbags on the floor, lying on the sofa or sitting in the garden – reading can happen anywhere but make sure to remove any distractions first.

Be prepared

New picture book? Read it yourself before sharing it with your child so that you are prepared, otherwise, how can you read it well?

Support your child’s book choices

Even if you’ve read it a hundred times before or you dislike the story or characters, don’t criticise your child’s choice of book. Maybe suggest that you read two books and pick one each.

Set the scene

Explore the cover and read the blurb before opening the book; indulge in some book talk – have you read a book by this author before? What do you think it might be about? Build up the anticipation, make it exciting.

Share the reading

  • · Read aloud to your child and allow them to simply enjoy the story.
  • · Listen to your child read but jump in and give them the word if letting them struggle will ruin the flow.
  • · Take it in turns to read a page or paragraph each.

Welcome interaction

Reading isn’t a passive activity, the reader or listener has to apply their own thinking to what is being read. Don’t see your child’s questions or comments as an interruption; follow their focus and have some book-based conversation. Does it matter if you spend 10 minutes on one page? You don’t even have to read the words in the book – make up a story from the pictures or try one of these activities

Relinquish control

Let your child hold the book and ‘read’ to you; having the confidence to turn the pages and interact with a book is important but make sure to show them how to do it respectfully.

Know when to stop

Books don’t have to be read from cover to cover and you haven’t failed if you don’t get all the way to the end in one go. Finish your reading at a positive point half-way through rather than struggling to the end in frustration.


If a book isn’t right there is no shame in choosing another one instead. Having opinions about books is important and that includes the right for your child to say when they don’t like one!


Remember to talk about books when you aren’t reading – make connections between real life events and books you have read as this helps a child see the value of reading for themselves.