Reading With Your Child

The benefits of making the time to read with your child at home are well documented. Research tells us that regular reading at home improves school performance as it helps children to increase their vocabulary, improves their self-esteem, builds the skills necessary for good social relationships and quite literally strengthens their brain. Reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in our brains. As a child’s reading ability matures, those networks develop to become stronger and more sophisticated. Regular reading at home will also increase the likelihood that your child will find reading enjoyable in the future.

Apart from the wonderful benefit of improving their schooling outcomes, reading with your child also has benefits for their wellbeing. We adults are aware of the pleasure that becoming lost in a good book brings and children can also benefit from the escapism that reading creates. Studies have shown that children who enjoy reading and do it regularly outside school are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than those less engaged. Once children become independent readers, we sometimes phase out reading to them, but continuing to share books is a wonderful way to foster closeness and conversation with your child which has a positive benefit to older children’s mental health.

Tips for encouraging your child to read:

  • Establish a home reading routine which involves reading aloud with your children everyday. Ten minutes for each child around a book of his/her choice. Turn off all electronic devices and give the reading your undivided attention.
  • Find a reading time that works for your family. Limit the time and set a timer if reading in the past has always been difficult. It is better to have an enjoyable 10 minutes that 30 minutes of frustration for everyone.
  • Share your excitement for reading and this will be the attitude your child will adopt. Model being an enthusiastic reader. Talk about what you have read.
  • Allow your child to make choices about books they read. Fiction / Non-Fiction / Magazines / Graphic Novels ... use whatever you can to encourage reading for pleasure.
  • Reading time is only ten minutes so just do some of the following before starting to read a new book: talk about the illustrations and the title, read the blurb and talk about the author, talk about any unusual words, discuss the characters.
  • At the end of reading for 10 minutes encourage discussion. E.g. What was your favourite part? What do you think will happen next? What do you think about that setting? What do you like/dislike about the book?