Reading with their child really is one of the most important things a parent can do. The evidence is vast and clear; reading with your child helps build a bond between you, develops their imagination, language and vocabulary skills and even impacts on the development of curiosity, critical thinking, morals and empathy.
Sadly, although it’s recommended that children should spend at least 20 minutes per day reading, 20% of UK parents spend no time at all reading with their children and 50% of parents with young children read for only 1 hour each week.
So how can we as parents help?
It’s never too early - learning to read is about listening and understanding, so even though your child cannot make sense of what is written on the page, you can expose them to a wide range of words, sounds and phrases
Find their interests - lots of children are reluctant readers however, there are always books that can be fun and engaging, you just have to find them
Try to build a home library - whilst you don’t have to have hundreds of books try and create a small collection that they can browse through when you aren’t around. If money is tight most libraries let you borrow up to 10 books at a time
Practice everywhere - remember it’s not just reading books that help, audiobooks, magazines, the back of a cereal packet and even shop signs are all part of learning to read. You can even make up a story and get your child to help pick names for characters or make watching TV with stories your special time i.e. Bedtime Stories each evening at 6.50 pm on CBBC
Set an example - children learn from your example so if they see you reading, even if it’s a magazine, it will help encourage them. It’s about making reading a pleasurable habit: In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background
Build comprehension and recall - ask your child questions as you progress to ensure they comprehend what the story is about and it isn’t just a load of random words
Reading aloud makes all the difference - there is even a World Read Aloud Day on 1 st February and getting your child to read builds their self-confidence and esteem