Having gone through the ‘learning to read’ process four times so far,  I thought I would share my tips for getting children reading and enjoying it, some may seem obvious, others not so.

  • Frequently people ask me how they can get their children to read but more often than not it is the reading material that is the problem not the reading ability.
  • Start reading with your baby as soon as possible. I used to spend hours looking at books with my son and he was reading CS Lewis at five year’s old. That’s not to say that was the only factor of course but I’m sure I encouraged his love of reading from a young age.
  • Incorporate a bedtime story in your daily routine and keep it up for as long as the child wants to be read to.
  • Read books to toddlers that are interactive, such as replacing words for pictures that your child can say. They learn to follow the words from left to right and feel encouraged. PB Bear by Dorling Kindersley  is fantastic for this and should be available at libraries.
  • Encourage your children to ask for book tokens for their birthdays so that they can shop and choose their own reading material
  • Go to the library.
  • Let children choose. Sometimes school reading books are extremely boring. Please let there be a new reading scheme other than the Oxford reading tree by the time Little M is in school.
  • Just as adults have book preferences children are the same. I don’t really like books about animals, I remember as a child ploughing through Watership down and Black Beauty very very slowly. I am still the same if I am reading a book that hasn’t really captured my attention. It becomes a chore.
  • Allow quiet time and space to read. Turn off the television
  • Some children prefer non fiction and as long as they are reading  it really doesn’t matter what the book is about even if it is “Where does snot come from?” ( I made that up by the way) or another grusome fact book. ‘Ripley’s Believe it Or Not’ and ‘The Guiness Book of World Records’ are great for this. My one reluctant reader learned to love reading when I introduced him to the ‘Horrible Henry’ series.
  • Factor in reading time at bedtime for older children.
  • Listening to story CD’s in bed can encourage children. Some books come with CD’s so the child can follow the words.
  • If all else fails there are comics,there are still new words in them to learn. For older children there are monthly magazines such as The National Geographic that may interest them.
  • Never force or get angry as you could scare your child and put them off reading forever
  • Read books yourself.
  • And lastly, I repeat…read, read, read to them all the time and remember that the book content is just as important. If it doesn’t interest the child then it’s going to lessen the incentive to stick to it!

This has been posted for the Friday Club Carnival at Notes from Home.

Here are the other entries in this parenting tips carnival:

Blue Sky at Looking for Blue Sky gives us some teenage tips.

Gemma at HelloitsGemma’s Blog gives us her working mum tips in This working Mummy’s guide to life.

Maggy at Red Ted Art shows us how Baby Can Draw!

Chris at Thinly Spread gives us her Secret to Relaxed Parenting.

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family shows us how she teaches her children about other countries and cultures whilst having fun in America Day.

Helen at Cheeky Wipes gives us her tips in Fussy Eating.

Mummy Beadzoid gives us some Parenting tips for the NICU/SCBU parent.

Kelly at Domestic Goddesque shares her advice in Terrible Twos: tips for dealing with tantrums?

Ella at Notes From Home gives us her tip for encouraging children to tidy up at the end of the day.

Tiddlyompompom shares her weaning tips in her oh so helpful guide to weaning.

Mymumdom shares her tips in Parenting Tips (Me Over The Edge).

SouthoftheRiverMum tells us her plans to set up a Reward System at Home.

Not so single mum at Diary of a Not So Single Mum shares her advice on doing what you feel is best for your child and your family.

Jax at Making It Up discusses behavioural issues in a quandary in search of a tip.

Bod for Tea shares her advice on finding a ‘helper’ to encourage your child to do things they don’t really like doing in Bunny says.

Hayley at Simply Hayley tells us about Hugs and Love.

Make Do Mum shares her stickability scale in Know Your Enemy.
The Friday Club

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37 thoughts on “Parenting Tips- Encouraging children to read

  1. Great tips for getting kids to read more. It seems like you have had a lot of experience dealing with children.

    Posted on February 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm
  2. Great advice! I’ve been reading to/with DD since before she was born weirdly, as my sister told me to read a book to the bump everyday when I was pregnant. I read it ‘Green Egg and Ham’ and strangely this used to calm DD down when she was very tiny…

    Posted on February 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm
  3. I love that bedtime book too… 🙂

    Posted on February 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm
  4. Posted on February 13, 2011 at 6:56 am
    1. Thanks very much, I will pop by later. 🙂

      Posted on February 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm
  5. Some great tips there 😉

    My 5y/o is struggling with his reading and I did get quite stressed about it and could feel myself getting frustrated with him a little bit which was awful. He’s now getting some extra help at school and is lots more confident with it and I’ve realised that everyone will learn at their own pace which makes reading together a lot better for us. My 8y/o is the opposite and loves reading as much as I do, she’s into Roald Dahl at the moment.

    Posted on February 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    1. That’s good that your son is getting help. It would be so sad for people to miss out on the joy because they struggle to read.

      Posted on February 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm
  6. Great post. We love reading and it is a wonderful gift to give your children. We always make bedtime stories a treat and each of them (8yo, 5yo and 3yo) are asked to choose a short book or chapter for me to read. We do stories in the sitting room and they all listen to each other’s stories while doing a quiet jigsaw or playing with Silvanians. I love storytime too.

    Posted on February 12, 2011 at 11:40 am
    1. Thank you. I like that idea of listening to each other reading. 🙂

      Posted on February 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm
  7. Great tips Nova! I thank the library and The Book People for enormous quantities of reading material for my voracious consumers. There is nothing more important than giving them stories…with a love of books you are entertained and informed for life. It’s a great start! (We love the Bath Kids Lit Festival too…it’s FANTASTIC!)

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    1. Thank you. I love The Book People too, such good value. A children’s festival sounds fab, I will have to see if there is one around here.

      Posted on February 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm
  8. Reading is so important. I was a book worm myself, but my kids don’t read much. But I haven’t given up and I still read to aspie boy, even though he’s nearly 10. We’re working our way through all my favourite Children’s books. Currently it’s the weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. Anyone remember that?

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    1. Oh I have never heard of that, I am going to investigate right now. 🙂 x

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm
  9. These are really great tips. I especially like the one about the TV, I think I must make more of an effort to get away from screen time and actively encourage a bit of reading.

    One of the things I do to encourage them is to leave books lying around and I sometimes display them in rotation on a shelf. The book may be on the shelf for months but when I put it out somewhere I invariably find someone with their nose in it!

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm
    1. I know with my boys they tend to take the top of everything …clothes, food and probably books too, no browsing there so you’re right it’s a good idea to rotate books. Little M is at the stage of wanting the same bedtime story for days on end. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm
  10. it’s so true! reading is such a nice, quiet thing to do together from really early on. and you get cuddles at the same time. bonus 🙂

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    1. Yes and anything that involves cuddles is always great. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm
  11. I think that a love of reading is one of the most important gifts you can give your child. I’m lucky with mine as they both adore stories: Bella has just learned at 11 months, to get the books down from the shelf and sit and turn the pages. Cecily is beginning to tell herself stories she knows well just by looking at the illustrations.

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm
    1. when I thought that one of mine would never discover that joy I felt very sad but with the help of a very good teacher he discovered that joy and hasn’t looked back. That’s lovely that yours like books so much. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm
  12. I think the other thing to say is probably don’t stress it – children learn to read at different times and in different ways. Keep it fun and it will come.

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm
    1. Definitely, fun and enjoyable is the most important point.

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm
  13. I empathise with this one ‘Never force or get angry as you could scare your child and put them off reading forever’. When Archie started school, reading was painful and frustrating for both of us. I LOVE reading and wanted him to feel the same but reading almost became a battleground.

    Thankfully I realised before I was too late and backed off, still encouraging him but not forcing him and letting him take it at his own pace. He’s now in year 2 and is very proud to have started reading ‘chapter books’ by himself, via a childrens encyclopedia (I remember being enthralled by my encyclopedia when I was small).

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm
    1. Oh me too…I still have the very out of date encyclopedia. I loved reading all the facts. It really doesn’t matter what is read does it as long as they enjoy it. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm
  14. Great Tips! My daughter used to adore reading, never had her head out of a book, but these days she’s more interested in playing out with her friends (not that fresh air isn’t great too). Saying that, she loves a cuddle and a bed time story, even if she’s “too old” at the grand old age of 9 to admit it!

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm
    1. Everyone goes through phases don’t they. I know I do. Sometimes I can’t put a book down but then it could be months before I read one again. I just love if they find how fun it is to lose yourself in a book. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm
  15. Those are all great tips but I just wanted share my experiences of our 3 girls learning to read. DH and I are great readers and we read to the kids a lot, a bedtime story is an essential part of their bedtime. Despite this, none of them could read before they started school. We didn’t try to teach them, as we thought it was best they learnt at school and although they could recognise the odd word, DD3 didn’t even know her alphabet.
    Not being able to read when they started school didn’t hold them back at all. They went through the school reading system, DD1 and DD3 were keener than DD2, and the older two are now avid readers, both in extension groups at school. DD3 is enjoying learning and is flying through the levels. DS has special needs so we don’t know what he’ll be able to do but he loves books and will look at one by himself or with us happily.
    So I’d like to add that even if they aren’t reading novels in reception, they may still develop a love of reading and be pretty good at it to boot.
    My older two are starting to show and interest in the news and both like First News, so they get this delivered weekly.

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm
    1. Oh I hope I didn’t give that impression, none of my children could read before they went to school either, I wouldn’t know where to start in teaching them. My second son had glue ear and was a lot slower learning to read than his peers but it was his reluctance to read that made me sad and a lot of it was down to what he was reading. Sorry I didn’t mean to imply that my son reading novels at 5 was down to me, he is an exception. I’m just glad they all enjoy reading as much as I do, but everyone is different and learn at different speeds. Thanks for letting me know your experiences. x

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm
  16. Instilling the love of reading is a gift! Great tips!

    Posted on February 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    1. Thank you. When I thought number 2 wasn’t going to like reading I felt quite sad. Was thrilled when he discovered the love. 🙂

      Posted on February 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm