Helping your child to read: Ways to engage!

March 16, 2021

helping your child to read - girl reading and smiling

Create a reading culture that inspires and changes their mindset from seeing reading as a chore.

Looking for tips for parents to help with reading at home? Discover how to help children to read and develop a love of books

How can I encourage my child to read?

  • Find the right book 

Exposing your child to different genres of children’s books can ignite their spark. For those who have little motivation when it comes to reading, any form of reading counts – even if it’s not the most eloquent prose.

Let them choose their own topics; things that they are already passionate about, such as a Minecraft tale, reading Seriously Silly Stories, or  ‘Kay’s Anatomy: A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body’. Browse our recommended reading lists for all ages to get you started in discovering the right book for them. 

  • Encourage reading everywhere

Reading often enhances literacy skills and can transform struggling readers into avid book worms! From reading information signs at your local nature reserve to reading dessert menus in their most persuasive voice – you can find reading opportunities in everything you do. 

  • Create a reading zone

Make a safe space where your child can relax and get lost in the pages of a book. Begin by displaying a range of different books in the zone, encouraging your child to browse and get stuck in. 

  • Role-model 

Do you feel like reading is a fundamental skill for your child to have? Then let them see you enjoying reading! Setting an example by demonstrating your love of books and reading in front of your child can inspire them to copy. 

  • Join a library

For those convinced that reading is boring, open up their eyes to the world of books by letting them explore your local library. Can they find an author who has the same initials as them? Encourage your child to pick out their favourite book, and only one at a time to make them treasure it more. Leave them looking forward to their next trip!  

  • Listen instead

For children who prefer to listen first before attempting to read themselves, audiobooks or videos can be a great way to spark their interest. Try BBC’s history podcasts for them to discover everything they didn’t know already about Romans or find out some surprising facts about Shakespeare. Is your child in love with everything Science? Then Brains On’s Dino Edition or ‘Why do siblings annoy each other’ podcasts are perfect for you!

Perhaps your child would love to hear stories brought to life and read by our very own Explore tutors! Here’s Chelmsford tutor Mel reading a synopsis and chapter from ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo.

Spoiler alert – if you want to listen to the full series from Chapter 1 – you can check it out on Explore tuition centre Chelmsford Instagram page.



  • Make time to read

Reading is best when not rushed. It’s never too early to start reading, so make time before school, or more loosely in the evenings as a wind-down routine. Ask your child when they like to read best to involve them in this decision, leading to more accountability. 

  • Bedtime stories

Bedtime reading can relax your child and send them off into a peaceful sleep. Without the daytime distractions, it is also an opportunity for your child to take the pressure off if they’re finding reading difficult/ This quality time lends itself to being the perfect time to slow things down and address any reading difficulties. Take your time supporting your child to sound out difficult words, and celebrate when they blend letters together successfully. 

  • Family bookshelf

Let your child choose where their favourite books are going to go on your family bookshelf. Should they be arranged alphabetically, or in colour order? Perhaps their book of the month can take pride of place. Investing your child in this process can support their engagement and enjoyment of reading! 

  • Talk about the book

Wondering how to help a child struggling with reading? Connect reading to their world. How would they feel if the same plot happened to them? Encourage vocalising stories in their own words. Develop their comprehension skills by asking your child a series of questions related to what they’ve just read to support their vocabulary.

  • Read together

Engage them with authors to make them want to read more. Sharing fun facts about your favourite childhood authors can motivate them to pick up the same books and lead to co-reading sessions. Did you know that Lewis Carroll invented a way to read in the dark? Or that C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien once went to a party dressed as polar bears which turned out not to be a fancy-dress party? 

  • Gift books

Encourage those who aren’t as engaged by getting them to give the gift of reading. Book exchanges between friends can create excitement for your child, and can support them in wanting to finish their new book so they can discuss the story with their friends after! 

  • Encourage writing activities 

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Let your child wear their author’s hat and task them with working feverishly on their own story after they’ve finished reading. 

Where do they think the story goes next? What different ending would they want to happen? What adventures would the characters embark on next time? Keep them engaged by asking them to share their work with you after.


How to help a child struggling with reading


There’s plenty of downloadable activities just waiting to support your child with their comprehension at Explore’s ‘The Club’ – get exploring! 



Teaching your child how to read can be tricky when starting from scratch. You can support your child with learning phonics at home and their letter sounds with this handy guide: 



A new word a day supports your child with enhancing their vocabulary. Adopting this method can introduce a bit of fun and learning routine for your child. Choose a word, whether it’s a high frequency one or more archaic, and set a competition to see who can use it the most throughout the day! 


81% of parents agree their child is making progress in English at Explore Learning. If you’re looking for more advice on teaching your child how to read or ways to keep them engaged with their reading, we can help.

Contact us to discuss your child’s needs and discover how our expert tutors can support your whole family. 



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