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Encouraging reading

You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be
I had a mother who read to me.

Strickland Gillilan

As parents we all know the importance of reading. But what do you do when your child just doesn't seem interested, or worse actively resistant?

What's this all about?

I think it's always useful to stop and consider why it is that your child is a reluctant reader. Obviously all children are different, and it's unrealistic to expect all children to be bookworms. However getting enjoyment from books is key: you want your child to enjoy reading, not view it as chore.

Some children don't like reading because they find it difficult. And it's hard to enjoy something which is a struggle, right? Others might think that reading is boring. Perhaps they've not found the right books yet?

How should you handle it?

Well you can't force children to like reading; and pushing it can actually make things worse. If you're constantly battling to get your child to read, you're more than likely making them dread it even more. Instead, try talking to your child. Do this in a calm quiet moment. Ask them if they enjoy reading. If they say no, ask them why. Do they find it difficult? Ask them what would make it easier: would it help if you sat down and read together?

If they claim that they find it boring, probe a little further. Is it the books that they find boring? Many children (and adults) don't really get on with fiction. Do they think the books which they are reading are too babyish? Is there something else which they'd rather read?

Nicola Morgan, author and founder of the Child Literacy Centre says "Reading should be for pleasure. Let children read the books they enjoy, not the ones you think will improve them."

I think that the best place to start is the library. Rather than going straight in there and pushing your child to choose a book, instead wander around the whole building (not just the children's section) and talk about the vast array of books that there are out there. Point out the sections which are likely to be of interest. If your child likes creepy crawlies, perhaps show them a book about that. Encourage your child to pick out their own book - remember it doesn't need to be a traditional fiction book, non-fiction is fine. Your child is far more likely to read something they have picked out!

Agree to make some time to sit and read it together. This is particularly important for those children who find reading difficult. Help and encouragement is key. Reading doesn't come easily to all of us, but with your support your child will improve.

Play & pretend

Spending time just having fun with your child is really important. Change Three Things is a Perform game that's really popular with the children. Why not have a go at home?

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