How to help your child
grow as a reader!
Putting down strong roots – the pre-reading and early reading phase
- Tell your stories to each other – the story of your day; stories of what you did when you were little; stories you can tell in your own words; the story of what you plan to do in the holidays.
- Say and sing nursery rhymes and poems.
- Share books regularly; talk about the pictures and what happens; revisit books until they are known by heart; notice which books your child particularly enjoys, whether it be picture books, fairy tales, rhymes, non-fiction books or shopping catalogues.
- Read or tell bedtime stories every day.
- Talk about print in the world around you – in the kitchen, in the supermarket, in the street.
Caring for the seedling – building confidence in beginner readers
- Reading to your child, talking about books and enjoying them together is the most important thing you can do. Continue to read or tell bedtime stories regularly.
- If your child brings home word games or simple reading books, this is the time for them to show you what they can do. Help them sound out simple words if they are stuck. If the word is tricky to sound out, just tell them the word.
- Talk about the pictures and characters in books. Encourage your child to talk about books, for example re-telling a story in their own words using the pictures, or predicting what might happen next.
- Show that reading is important, necessary and fun – look up a recipe, read ingredients on labels. Show that you enjoy reading newspapers, magazines or books.
- Visit the library with your child and encourage them to take out a range of books – fiction, non- fiction, poetry and rhymes.
Encouraging growth – building independence and reading stamina
- Bedtime stories are still invaluable! Start to read longer, chapter books. By reading books which your child may not yet be able to read independently, you will feed your child’s imagination, vocabulary and develop their understanding of story structures.
- At the local library, start to encourage an interest in favourite authors. Many children at this stage will ‘latch onto’ a particular author and want to keep reading them. This is to be encouraged. Try to introduce them to new authors as well – the children’s librarian will always be happy to suggest suitable books and authors.
- Encourage ‘real world’ reading – choosing TV programmes from the newspaper; planning trips, holidays or shopping expeditions together using brochures, maps, catalogues or the internet.
- Support research for school topics by looking things up together in books or on the internet
In full bloom – confident readers enjoying wider range of reading
- Read the books your child reads so that you can talk about them together. Children’s books are wonderful and many adults read them in preference to adult literature!
- Use the library or internet to find out more about books and authors.
- Encourage your child to widen their reading experiences: look out for new prize winning authors as well as the more well-known classic fiction for children.
And remember that you can never be too old for a bedtime story!