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Tips to help your child enjoy reading
Taken from the Oxford Owl guide for parents 'Your Child’s First Year At School'
- Talking This is the foundation of reading. Tell family stories, ask your child lots of questions and ask them to recount things that they have done in the day, encourage them to tell you what they think or feel and sing songs, recite rhymes and riddles and just have fun with language.
- Read every day (if possible!) Children love routine, and reading is something that you and your child can look forward to every day.
- Lead by example If your child sees you reading, for pleasure or information, they will understand that reading is a worthwhile activity. Let them see the pleasure to be found in being engrossed in a good book, newspaper or magazine!
- Make reading fun Reading aloud can be a lot of fun, not just for parents but for all family members. You can use different voices for different characters in the story, use your child’s name instead of a character’s name, and read stories that have repetitive parts and encourage your child to join in.
- Listen to your child read As your child learns to read, listen to them read aloud. Reading to you gives your child a chance to practise and to improve their reading skills. Give your child time to figure out tricky words, and show your child how they can learn from mistakes.
- Talk about books Discussing a book with your child helps them understand it, as well as helping to enrich their vocabulary. Encourage your child to ask questions and to comment on the story and pictures in a book – before, during and after reading it.
- Make reading relevant If the book is about something that interests them, your child will be happier to read it. This is just as important as choosing books for their level. Look at both fiction and non-fiction books to show your child how reading allows us to explore our interests and the world.
- Don’t push too hard It may be tempting to try to move your child up a level (and you may be sure that they are ready), but this can damage their confidence if they find it too difficult. At home, give your child books that you feel are a little bit too easy for them as this will give them a feeling of achievement. As well as encouraging them to read on their own, it will reinforce the fact that they can read, and read well.
- Give praise Remember, your child needs to know that you value their efforts. Children learn to read over time, with lots of practice and support from parents and teachers. Give praise whatever level your child is at, and remind yourself that they’re doing amazingly well. Think of how far they have come in the last few months and how little they knew this time last year!
Have fun sharing books with your child