First things first, reading is not a race. It is something both adults and children should enjoy, plus it has amazing benefits. Whether you are a parent, friend, teacher, or family member, reading at home/school can be fun (even if it’s a little hard to know when to get started). But don’t worry, we are here to help!
Follow this short guide to find out how to start reading with the children in your life.
Why is reading important for children?
So, why is reading important for children? The benefits of reading with children are endless. Reading prepares children for their later lives and targets key development areas within the brain. Research has shown reading to young children gives them a head-start in life and has a direct impact on their schooling outcome, regardless of background or home environment.
Reading also helps children become better communicators and inspires creativity. We recently covered 5 benefits of storytelling in an earlier article.
When do children learn to read?
When do children learn to read? This is a common question, and the answer will vary from child to child. Most children learn to read between 4 and 6 years old, but they are never too young or old to start.
We would recommend trying to develop early pre-reading skills at home to begin with. If you’re a parent, you could start sharing fun short stories together and reading to your child before bedtime and if you are a teacher you could set trackable reading assignments for children to continue outside of nursery/school.
Ideally, you would want to focus on the following pre-reading skills:
- Phonological awareness: awareness of sounds/words.
- Alphabet awareness: awareness of letters of the alphabet and how they sound.
- Letter/print recognition: seeing print and recognising the different forms of prints/seeing letters and recognising the difference between letters.
- Oral language: developing the skills that go into listening and speaking.
How do we get started?
Here at For the Love of Reading, we are passionate about promoting the joy of reading and we have made it our mission to spread that joy globally. With reading having such a substantial impact on children’s future success, it can easily become an overwhelming task and chore for both adults and children. This is why we encourage you to utilise the power of storytelling to put the fun back into reading.
Finding books that utilise the power of storytelling to captivate their audience means children will see reading as fun, choosing to pick up books because they enjoy it and not because they have to.
Author of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, Cressida Cowell gave great advice on how to get children to enjoy reading. She said: “My advice? If the books your kids bring home from school don’t interest them, try others from the library. Don’t force your son or daughter to finish a book they don’t like. Follow your kids’ interests; there really is a book for everyone. Keep reading with your kids way beyond the age they can read for themselves. Try to read together for 10 minutes a day. It can be really hard to carve out time in our busy lives, so rest assured that it doesn’t need to be all at once. A couple of minutes here and there is better than not at all.”
Our tips for making reading for early readers fun
Our founders have put together their own tips on how to make early reading more fun. Here are our suggestions from the For the Love of Reading team:
- Find books you wouldn’t normally pick up with eye-catching covers, diverse characters and interesting blurbs you know will grab any child’s attention.
- Explain the reading process thoroughly before any reading sessions with a focus on developing pre-reading skills such as how to identify letters and sounds.
- Talk about the book in detail after you have finished reading it.
- Regularly let the children take the lead whether it’s reading a word, sentence or the whole book.
- Use fun voices and animations for different characters.
We will soon be releasing our own modern and vibrant suite of books and EdTech services to facilitate parental engagement with reading development. With a focus on the power of storytelling and enjoyment, our content has been created by a team of teachers, researchers, parents and children.
Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more information on our release date.