As parents, we start our children on their ‘love for reading journey’ in the first few months of their lives, through exposing them to books, reading stories, talking about pictures and practising turning pages.
Young children are captivated by books, and story time is something magical to them. It’s so important we protect this and positively encourage our children on their own reading journey. Learning to read is a slow and ready journey. It shouldn’t be rushed and it certainly shouldn’t be stressful. Children who learn sounds (phonetics) correctly will feel more confident and capable in their ability, therefore making reading an enjoyable experience.
Here are a few of my helpful tips to encourage a love for reading.
Introduce books early!
It’s never too early to start reading books to your child, make this time special, fun, something to look forward too. Create a love of books and have them accessible to children in various locations, the car, the bath, their bedroom, a reading corner.
Outings in honour of books!
Go to your local Library weekly, grab new and exciting books and join in story time. Children love hearing other people read to them and sharing this time with other children is special too.
Daily reading is probably the most important of all, and for so many reasons. New learnings, new vocabulary, practise and exposure to text. Children learn so much from you as their first teacher and watching you ‘model’ how the read, the way you use expressions or ask questions about the text are all valuable learning opportunities for them. Make reading informative, choose books that complement their current interests and mix in a few different genres- fact, fiction, picture books, big books, small books.
Talk about books, predict the storyline before reading, ask questions (lots of them) throughout the book, as well as at the end of a story, to see how well your child is comprehending and understanding the text. Comprehension is a vital part of becoming a confident and fluent reader long term.
Fun beyond Reading!
Have fun creating activities relating to your favourite books. Craft is the perfect means to explore characters and building on new learnings. Dress ups, role play and painting scenes are also great activities.
When it comes to children beginning to read, it's important they have already established a love for books and reading. We want this to be a fun, enjoyable experience for them. There is a lot of prior knowledge that must first be grasped (phonics, letter sound recognition, simple blending and segmenting) before beginning to read.
If your child is starting to read, repetition and practising a daily reading routine is very important. When children are confident with their sounds, decodable readers are fantastic and not overwhelming. Children are able to ‘sound out’ simple words without the stress of unfamiliar words or spelling rules. As they progress, you can introduce new high frequency words each week.
As adults we must remind ourselves that learning to read is a gradual process and shouldn’t be challenging or stressful for our little ones. Children learn at different rates and finding their own confidence is the key to their own progression. Praising them for their efforts and providing them with supported opportunities of repetition, will positively foster their love of reading and in turn help them on their way to becoming confident readers.