‘Developing a love of reading’ is an element of a school’s job that can be very difficult to do. It involves many aspects: finding books that children enjoy; giving the children time to enjoys books; letting them talk about books and sharing books they think others might like and we need to ensure they understand what they are reading.
But there is no doubt that this is a key life skill – reading gives children experiences they wouldn’t get otherwise, helps to develop empathy, it develops their writing skills and confidence. Focus, memory and comprehension are all skills that reading will develop. And it gives your child a life long hobby. But, developing this at home can be even harder than at school. To give you a helping hand I’ve collated various resources, idesa and links here.
Please comment as well if you feel we have missed anything.
Never too old to be read to..
Reading to childen starts young, and talking about books should be part of that too. In fact, conversation in general is an excellent way to develop vocabulary and curiosity. Asking questions when walking out and about, making a game of finding things as well as taking the time to really stop and look can develop their focus and attention.
But, there are some tips for sharing books as well…
- Pick really great books – lots of advice out there. Rhyme and rhythm can make excellent read aloud books, authors they might recognise or build on interests they already have.
- Take you time – explore the pages of books and respond to any questions your child have. When reading longer books ask them to take over every now and then.
- Pause every now and then – connect what is happening to other events and books and ask them ‘why’ a character might do something.
- Take your lead from your audience. Involve them – add in noises or emphasise rhyme and comedy.
- Re-reading really has value, from developing a deeper understanding to creating a confidence in prediction. Don’t hesitate if they want to re-read something.
Once children start reading books to themselves it can be easy to leave them to it. After all they do need to develop their own reading resilience and they do need time to do this. However this is a vital stage – they are beginning their own journey! In school we often follow up independent reading with tasks to develop their understanding and to ensure comprehension.
At home, you don’t want to turn their reading into a battle to complete work – but there are some ideas and tasks that could help them (and you!)
- Take an interest – ask questions, find out about the author, suggest books that you might know are similar. Most authors have websites and videos and activites that will draw children in.
- Artwork – a common one we use in school – drawing a scene, a character or even summarising the story in comic book form can be fun and will develop understanding.
- Activity sheets – searching online will often yield quizzes, wordsearches, mazes and all sorts. Online games are also common for some books.
Tips for Reluctant Readers
- Don’t be too picky – if they are enjoying comics, graphic novels or magazines that’s fine too.
- Create a link to what they already enjoy. Children might like to read magazines about specific hobbies, or to read websites.
- Let them give up on a book – a rule for this in Class 4 tends to be ‘at least a third of the way through’ – after all time is precious!
- Keep to a family routine – model everyone putting away devices and games and sitting with a book (or magazine, comic etc) for half an hour.
- Make activites fun that can link to books or characters – for example ‘big art’ on a roll of old wallpaper, building dens outside, or creating own games based on books.
I hope you found these ideas useful -the key is to be led by whatever it is the child already enjoys. Limit time to other acitivities if need be, but don’t make reading a punishment (“go to your room and read!”).
If we can help in any other ways, plese let us know.
Links and Further Reading