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How to read to your child

Reading with your children is really important because it emphasises the importance of reading and demonstrates to your child that this is something that grown ups do. Kids learn best by copying others behaviour, and as a role model that reads, this will encourage your child to pick up a book too!

Parents are the first teachers that children interact with. They understand the child best, what they like and what they find exciting and are therefore best placed to make reading a fun and interesting hobby.

What can you do at home to help your child learn to read?

Be a role model. Children will try to imitate what they see in their environment. So when you take the time to read yourself, engage with your child and show reading in a positive light.

Continue with reading from school. Children always bring a reading book home and are asked to read just 10 minutes a day. The bedtime routine is a perfect place to do this and will also help them switch off from the days activities. Seeing reading at home and school helps emphasise the importance and provide a consistent message. Parents showing their child how to read has a much stronger impact than school lessons do as it is a one to one environment.

If reading becomes part of a daily routine, it is more likely that they will read on their own. Reading doesn't necessarily have to be a story book. A set of instructions, the newspaper, street signs and leaflets are a great way to encourage children to read in short bursts too. Writing letters, Christmas cards or the shopping list is also a great little tip, writing then reading back will help your child develop and help you understand what they are finding difficult in the English language.

For very young children, it doesn't have to be a book that you read to them. Telling them folk tales, or stories from when you were little helps engage children into "story time" - Later when they grow older, the routine is established and the stories can come from books where you can show the words as you read them. A good technique is to intentionally get a word wrong, to see if you child picks up on this and corrects you.

Finding out what your child is interested in is another great way to keep them engaged. If they love history, or kings and queens - why not get stories based on the subject, or even non fiction books full of facts. If the subject isn't interesting, the child will switch off. Everyone has different tastes, so keep your child engaged. Comic books are another great way to encourage children to read. Many kids see comics as a treat, but at the end of the day, they are written words on the page that will all help with their development.

Once your child becomes more proficient in reading, the focus should move onto how fluent they are. Are they picking up on the punctuation in the sentence and are they able to explain what it is that they have read, did they take it in?

How can you encourage good reading habits?

A good reading environment is whatever makes the child comfortable. Setting the right environment will keep it interesting and distinguish it from chores such as homework. Why not do reading before you give your child pudding? This way, reading becomes a mechanism of being instantly rewarded.

Establishing a routine will help too. Reading at the same time every day will help your child engage and keep them focused.

10 - 20 minutes per day is perfect. Any longer and it can become tedious for child. Unless they love it, then just keep going.

Having access to books is important. Make sure your child can get to their own books and read them at their leisure should they wish. Having newspapers and magazines around the house also encourages a good reading environment

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