As a specialist reading teacher, success for me is when a child picks up a book to read for pleasure without any prompting.
How can we assist our children reach this milestone?
Set aside a designated time for reading.
- In our busy worlds and the proliferation of screen-based activities, it is often difficult for our children to find time to read.
- Set aside a time each day for reading. I would recommend that this be a part of your child’s bedtime routine and is non-negotiable.
Whet your child’s interest.
- If your child wants to read a book, you are on your way. Look at the title, the pictures and the blurb on the back with your child.
- Read the first chapter to ‘hook’ your child into the story.
- Make sure you read a part of the book to your child each night.
- Choose books from a series because if the first book is enjoyed, other books in the series will be just as enjoyable.
Don’t make it a lesson.
- There is a time for teaching reading and a time for reading purely for enjoyment. Don’t make reading books a chore!
- If your time for reading is at night, your child is likely to be tired, so just tell them words that they don’t know.
- Don’t ask questions because this is testing and reading for pleasure should not be associated with assessment.
Visit the library regularly.
- Set aside a time each week or fortnight and go to the library as a family.
- Let your child have the joy of selecting their own books, some of which they may not enjoy (and that’s okay).
- Participate in library organised activities.
- If you can’t/don’t have time to visit a library, make sure you have a large stock of different types of books in your house.
Model reading for enjoyment.
- Make sure your child sees you reading for enjoyment.
- Discuss books that you are currently enjoying reading and books you enjoyed reading in the past including when you were a child.
- Take a book with you (and one for your child) when you are going to be waiting (e.g., doctor’s surgery).
- On cold, rainy days, curl-up together with a book in front of the heater and on fine, sunny days take a rug and books and read in the garden or a local park.