Top tips on sharing books with children of any age
Set aside some time
Find somewhere quiet without any distractions - turn off the TV/radio or computer
Ask your child to choose a book - sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters and they are more likely to engage with the book
Sit close together - encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages
Point to the pictures if there are illustrations and relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures
Encourage your child to talk about the book - talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is and give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel
Don't be afraid to use funny voices - children love this
And lastly and above all - make it fun! It doesn't matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together.
ENCOURAGING older children to read As children get older, there's no need to stop enjoying sharing books and reading together. Research has shown that children who enjoy reading and spend more time reading for pleasure have better reading and writing skills, a broader vocabulary, and even an increased general knowledge and understanding of other cultures. But with so many other activities competing for children’s time as they get older, how can you continue to encourage your child to read for pleasure?
Tips for encouraging reading in your home with older children:
Ensure that your children see you reading. It doesn't matter if it's the newspaper, a cookery book, a romantic novel, a detective mystery, short stories, a computer manual, a magazine... anything!
Encourage children to join in - ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are watching TV
Give, and encourage others to give, books or book tokens as presents
Visit the local library together on a regular basis and enjoy spending time choosing new books
Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this too!
Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy. Read books you can all talk about but make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning
Make sure your home is a reading home - have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children's bedrooms as well.
Don't panic if your child reads the same book over and over again - be honest, we've probably all done it!
Encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other - this will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading.