There are opportunities for all of us to engage in reading every day. Encouraging children to read starts at home and it’s never too early to start.
I suggest that parents create a reading environment where reading is regarded as enjoyable, important and necessary. There are so many simple ways in which parents can plant the reading ‘bug’. Providing children with easy access to books so that they can help themselves at any time is a great starting point.
Here’s my top tips to inspire boys to read:
- Pick a good time: make sure you read together when nobody feels rushed or under pressure.
- Remove distractions: turn off the TV and all electronic devices. Really make the most of the time you are spending together.
- Talk: take time to look at and discuss the pictures, unusual words and the story. Help your son to connect what they are reading to their own experiences. For example, if you’re reading Dear Zoo talk about the family trip to the Zoo, or another favourite book from your childhood that was about animals.
- Making reading a social activity. Reading with other family members, such as older siblings can help engage younger readers.
- Read favourite books over and over again. Research has shown that repeated reading can boost vocabulary by up to 40 percent. It also helps young readers to recognise words quickly and automatically and become comfortable with rhyming and predicting patterns of texts.
- Don’t limit reading experiences to books. Find urgent reasons for reading, like signs, recipes or directions to put toys together. This gives reading a context.
- Check for understanding. Encourage your child to think about the story and characters as they go. This teaches him to stop and reflect as he reads.
By helping children to recognise the need for reading for pleasure, we are giving them the best possible opportunity to develop the literacy skills they will need to become passionate readers.
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