Raising Readers: 6 Tips on Teaching your Child to Read at Home
The benefits of reading for a child’s development are well documented at every stage of life, so starting on the right foot is essential. ‘Books are portable magic’ as Stephen King said, they entertain, they condole, they inspire. In this month's blog we’re looking at some of our favourite tips for getting little ones into reading from a young age.
Baby books are essential. Whilst some may presume that you can get away with leaving books till they are able to sit upright, it has been repeatedly proven that even the smallest reader benefits from listening to stories.
Reading out loud is one of the easiest ways to help your little one start to identify words and phrases. Be sure to animate your voice and facial expressions along with the characters in the book; this can help when it comes to recognising more nuanced emotions and character profiles.
Specifically with babies, be sure to engage as many senses as possible, avoid simply putting on an audiobook. Get them to feel the pages, enjoy the illustrations, and listen to their parents' voices. Textured books are especially helpful for young readers.
Our Osbourse ‘Touchy Feely’ collection is perfect for this, you can find them here.
Create a comfy environment
No one enjoys reading at an uncomfy desk. When it comes to cultivating the best reading space, comfort should be a high priority. The environment in which your child reads will have a big effect on the overall experience.
To encourage a long reading session, ask your little one what would make them comfy. On the sofa under a blanket? Would they enjoy creating their own reading fort where they escape reality for a few hours as they read about far off adventures? Let them decide!
Make it a tradition
Include reading in some of your family traditions. When Christmas time comes around why not create a book countdown? Each night you could read a themed book in the run up to the holiday or event. This is also a good opportunity to encourage them to read out loud.
Each night they could read the first few pages of the book before you take over. Also, if you make it an annual tradition, your kids will look forward to the special Christmas or birthday books each year.
Let them take the lead
Find out what they want to read and see if you can work a reading schedule around it. All reading is beneficial, it doesn’t have to be a fairytale or a young adult book, it could be a history book or an encyclopaedia. Allowing them to choose will help them get excited about reading time.
You can find our First Dinosaur Encyclopedia here.
Books before films
Make this a rule and see if they can stick to it. It is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences for an avid reader to see one of their favourite books released on the big screen and it's almost impossible to get the same effect the other way round!
When it comes to seeing the film finally, ask them what they are expecting, what they think the climax will look like or a certain character. Getting them to think about the book and cultivate their own interpretation is crucial for raising an independent reader.
Make it a daily thing
Even if it is just ten minutes, encouraging them to read everyday is the perfect getaway for making it feel like second nature to them. This will be an easy thing to implement, especially if you've created a cosy reading nook for them to escape in.
The gift of reading, especially a love of it, is priceless. Children who read at home perform better at school, they understand different people and cultures and will also be able to use reading as a personal self care tool whenever or wherever they need it.