Is your youngster a reluctant reader? Despite tempting them with every type of book, do they still only read when they ‘have’ to at school and not for pleasure?

Former primary school teacher Emma Shingleton of education resource experts PlanBee shares some great tips for the summer holidays.

The long summer holidays are an ideal time to work with your youngster. Hopefully, they’ll soon be ditching their screens and curling up with an engrossing story book instead.

We all understand the importance of reading in a child’s development, and with Ofsted hot on schools’ heels to improve language development and comprehension, teachers are always looking for ways to engage children in reading. If you can redouble their efforts at home, that just might make all the difference.

Reading for pleasure is an important part of encouraging a love of reading in children. So let’s get started:

Create a reading den

Every home should have a reading corner or den; a place that is inviting and excites children. Choose a quiet spot and add some pillows, bean bags or cushions to curl up on. Perhaps you could put up some posters to get them in the mood for imaginative thinking. What about:

  • Under the sea
  • Rainbows
  • Castles
  • Transport
  • In the jungle

Try to provide as broad a range of reading materials as possible. This includes everything from recipe books to graphic novels, blogs and instructions as well as traditional books. It matters far less what your child reads than whether they read: if a hoover manual is what they enjoy, that’s fine. Once they’re reading for pleasure, they’ll move on to more traditional reading material.

Children enjoy reading about characters that they can relate to. Make sure to include picture books, and those that depict children from different family structures, cultures, religions and also physical abilities.

Friends and family may have books their children have enjoyed that they will be glad to pass on to you. Charity shops are a fantastic source of reading material. And of course borrow from your local library so that the selection keeps changing every few weeks

Get the whole family involved

Children take great pleasure in reading with younger or older children and this can have a great impact on children’s progress. So if you have more than one child, encourage siblings to get involved.

And why not enjoy a book yourself? Leading by example and enjoying a book yourself will encourage your child to do the same.

Different ways to read and listen to stories

Reading doesn’t have to be the traditional reading of a book in silence.

Why not record yourself reading a story? Think of it as CBBC bedtime stories. Persuade other local parents to do the same and share videos with one another.

You could also use your phone to film yourself reading a story and send in the video to your child’s teacher when term starts again. If other parents do the same, the whole class can enjoy a story read by someone other than their teacher.

Children can also listen to stories on different forms of technology depending on what you have available: a tablet, iPad and CD player are all options. If you have the budget and are feeling fancy, there are some fabulous story telling devices such as a Toniebox or Yoto player. These are really child friendly and great for a range of ages.

Discuss what you read

When you read to your child, encourage them to think about characters and how they might be feeling, or how they would react in a certain situation. Bring characters to life by asking questions throughout the day about how the children think a character would react. For example, when resolving a sibling dispute, you could ask how they think the wicked witch would solve the problem.

Other fun activities include:

• Put your child’s favourite programmes on without sound but with subtitles. Can they read along and understand what is happening?

• Host karaoke sessions where children are challenged to read and sing lyrics on the screen.

• Why not learn a topical poem alongside your child: find one about holidays, the weather, or beaches to fit the season!

• Host a book ‘cafe’ play day at home: put a range of books and reading materials on a table and encourage children to sample them and then discuss with one another.

By Events Reporter

Staff reporter writes about events coming up in Renfrewshire.

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