How to help your child to read

Your precious little one now knows how to read, but shows precious little interest in books. What can you do? We've compiled a handy guide on how to encourage your child to read.

Children are not all that different from adults. They will take the path of least resistance, and do what amuses them.

Do you read? If you do, talk to your child about the satisfaction it gives you. Don't expect your child to read when you're watching the telly.

Read to your child, every day. This is a good way to spend time with them, and the right book will leave them wanting more. Reading to them will also help you discover what books they enjoy, so you can direct them to related books.

Talk to your child generally about what interests them, and suggest books or magazines they might like.

Drop the snobbery: The printed word is the printed word, be it online, in a magazine, or a book. If they are interested in a topic, let them read about it. Wikipedia is vast, free, and highly conducive to spending hours lost in reading. Reading things they're interested in will motivate them to read more.

Ask your child to read to you something they enjoyed. Take interest and ask them questions that get them thinking: What was it they liked about the book? If they were part of the story, what would they have done? Would they change the ending?

[ See also: Are you getting your parenting five-a-day?]


Provide a reading opportunity, by making sure that there is lots of reading material around your house - in their bedroom, the living room. Boredom is a condition of childhood, so if there are books lying around, it's likely your child will eventually pick one up.

Make sure too that they have somewhere cozy to sit and read - a good sofa and a good light, as well as a night table lamp.

Make reading a treat. Allow them to stay up later at night on the weekends if they read in bed.

Take them to book shops and libraries, and make them excited by being excited about it yourself. Let them pick a book for themselves.

Talk to other parents about what their children are reading, and encourage your child to find out what their friends are reading.

Finally, don't nag. If you force them to read, they'll be put off. If you want your child to enjoy reading, allow them to discover the pleasure of reading of their own accord.

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