Supporting reading at home: tips for parents

March 12, 2020

Two students reading

Parents are often encouraged to read at home with their children while they are off school for longer. However, we often hear from parents who face daily battles over getting their kids to read.

If this sounds like you – you are not alone!

Why is reading at home important?

The National Literacy Trust reports that:

Children and young people who enjoy reading at home, are five times more likely to read above the level expected for their age, compared with their peers who don’t enjoy reading (17.0% vs 3.5%).

 

Tips for parents to help with reading at home

Here are the three top tips we believe can help you and your child when it comes to reading time.

Picking the right book.

Kids are more likely to enjoy a book that they have chosen themselves, but what can parents do to help? Children love stories that they can relate to themselves – so when searching for the book that will encourage your child’s love of reading at home, think about:

  • Characters: do they resemble someone your child cares about or knows well? Or can they see themselves in the main character? If you have a cheeky pet, try looking for a book that features one too!
  • Setting: is it set somewhere they have been before? Or somewhere that they find exciting (as there are plenty of good stories about space but not many children who have been there!) A book about a zoo is way less exciting if they have never thought about the animals inside.

Top tip: for young children especially, you can try and match books with their daily activities. After visiting the park with friends, can you find a book about the park in the library? This also means you can talk about the book and their own experiences together – which is great for helping kids enjoy their reading.

Reading to your child is not cheating.

Even students studying literature at University will be read aloud to – because listening to a story rather than reading it (especially a challenging one) allows you more brain power to concentrate on what is really going on. This gives you more of a chance to understand and enjoy a book – it can be difficult to enjoy reading something that is very complicated! Reading to your child also shows them that you also enjoy it, whether it’s a book, magazine or article online.

For children learning to read and write, reading the words of a story out loud can help develop their comprehension skills. Sound out words to help them become familiar with letters and sounds.

Explore our English tuition for more help with reading and writing.

10 minutes of reading every day.

Did you know that 80% of rarer words are learnt from reading, not from speaking? This means that if you can build in just 10 minutes of reading at home every day, you and your kids will be filling up your minds with awesome vocabulary, enabling them to read even more challenging texts.

Find a time that suits you to listen to your child read, whether it’s before dinner so that you can chat about what you’ve read together, at bedtime as a relaxing activity, or even in the car on your way out. And even better – it doesn’t have to be a new page every day! Re-reading things that you love helps children take in details they may have missed the first time. As well as help them to really cement new words, spellings and ideas in their mind.

 

We encourage children to discover their love for storytelling and develop a real love for English! Have a look at our creative writing course or speak to your local Explore Learning team to find out more.

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