Hectic family lives and busy work schedules often get in the way of us sitting down to bond over a book with our children. Just 15% of parents read aloud to their child every day and yet 97% of us agree that it is fundamental to raising a confident reader[1].

By making the time to read to our children we are sending them an important message – reading matters. Instilling a lifelong love of books in children is vital when you consider that reading is more likely to determine how well a child does at school than their social or economic background [2].

But how exactly does reading to your children determine their future pathway?

Expanding their world

Reading allows us to step into another world, full of people and cultures that we might not otherwise come across. By expanding children’s knowledge in this way, we can help them to better understand the things they see, hear and read.      

“Reading can take you places
you have never been before.”

Dr Seuss

Building vocabulary

Listening to stories exposes children to a wide range of new words. This helps them build-up their own vocabulary, which is an important part of learning to read. By picking books that are just beyond your child’s reading level you will stretch their understanding and encourage them to improve at their own independent reading.

Developing empathy

When we read or listen to a story, we imagine ourselves in the position of the characters. It gives us the opportunity to experience a range of emotions, which helps children to become better at empathising with real people. It also helps them understand a bit more about their own emotions and how to handle them at those tricky moments when it can feel like they are about to overflow.

Improving concentration

For younger children, listening to a story can help to improve their concentration. This is a key skill which is vital in the classroom and helps to make children better all-round learners.

Tips for reading with your child

    • Start young – it is never too early to read to your children
    • Make it part of your routine
    • Encourage variation but don’t be put off if they choose the same books – repetition is good
    • Have patience – there are so many things they don’t already know
    • Continue the discussion once you’ve finished the book

Taken from highspeedtraining.co.uk

Encouraging reluctant readers!

If your child does not want to listen to you read, don’t worry. It might just be the case that you need to switch to something that interests them. According to Pearson, research shows that boys are more likely than girls to say they don’t read outside of the classroom. They suggest changing the type of books you are reading together – for older boys, you could try non-fiction books, or even magazines on subjects they like. Any reading is better than no reading!

There are also lots of ‘bookfinders’ online and most of them categorise their recommendations by age and interest. Our top three are listed below:

The Reading Agency

If you are struggling with the cost of buying new books, why not join your local library and borrow books for free? There is always a wide selection of books for all interests and abilities, plus the option for them to order books in if they don’t have the one you want.

Reading together = time together

Whatever you choose to read, the most important thing is the time you are spending together. Reading to your children is a special time to bond, even as they are growing up and becoming confident, independent readers themselves. Though it might be difficult to find the time, when you do it reminds them how important reading is.