I love nothing more than reading a book to the children in the evenings, with every page turn a new adventure unfolds and we are able to submerge ourselves in a pirate adventure one day, walk around in Giant country with the BFG the next and learn historical facts from our past on another day.
My children love their books too but it wasn’t always that way – there was a time they would refuse a bedtime story and want to carry on watching TV instead, don’t get me wrong we don’t read every day but we certainly do try.
Here are my top tips for encouraging children to read
Teach by example
If your children see you reading often it will help to spark their imaginations and love of books. If you don’t pick up a book and read to yourself or to them then your not showing them how fun it can be.
Choose a story you can enjoy together, put on funny voices for the various characters and have fun together.
Talk about the stories with them – ask questions and encourage them to do the same.
Have books readily available
Hiding them away in a cupboard will only help your children to forget about them, try putting some in the rooms most used for the children – the front room/play area, their bedrooms – you could also purchase waterproof books for in the bath to read with babies.
Rotate books too so they aren’t reading the same ones over and over again, if you only have access to the same books you’ll not want to re-read them would you? Children get bored too so try changing them around once in a while – bring books from top shelves lower, visit the library to change and borrow books or ever do a book swap with their friends.
Create a reading nook
Reading doesn’t always have to be done in bed at bedtime. Why not make a quiet corner in your home for children to enjoy books quietly?
Both my children have dedicated corners in their rooms where they have a little comfy armchair to sit in and a basket of books next to it, I’ve actually been looking at replacing these with bigger beanbags as they are fast outgrowing their small chairs – I’ll be sad to see these replaced as they have had them since they were very small but I’d rather they were comfortable as they will sit reading for longer. I’ve also been looking at armchairs from Lionshome which would certainly last them longer and mean I could sit in them too (without fear of getting stuck or breaking them).
If you are lacking space you could use floor cushions, rugs or even blankets to create a comfy reading nook.
Make sure this area is light as you’ll not want them straining their eyes.
You could add a bookcase to display their books, or for smaller spaces wall mounted spice racks can make a cute display space for smaller books or even baskets.
Make it fun
Why not read a story together and then recreate the story yourselves?
The only limit is your imagination really – you could wear a hooded coat, grab a basket and be Little Red Riding Hood, let the kids wear their parents shoes and become the BFG stomping around giant country.
You could even make snacks in the shapes f your favourite characters ready for a picnic
Sign them up to the Summer holiday reading challenge at your local library – this runs every summer holidays and the children sign up in the library and pledge to read 6 books over the course of 6 weeks, once they have read a book they report back to the librarian to talk to them about the story and they will then receive a sticker in their book – once they’ve read all 6 they will receive a certificate and a medal at the end of the holidays.
Apps and games
Children also learn through play and there are loads of educational games and apps which can help encourage even the most reluctant of reader. Have a look together and see if there is one with their favourite character or even ask friends for age appropriate suggestions and recommendations.