5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

We’re still at the beginning of our experiment to produce an avid reader as Little M is only five, but she’s already showing an interest in books and reads for enjoyment.  With book-obsessed parents, she’s definitely had a head start, but just like other kids, she’s not always in the mood for reading.  Here are some techniques that have worked for us:

Create a Reading Habit

This only has to be for 10 minutes a day, but create a set time and place where your child can read to you.  We make space for this as soon as we get home from school and sit in the same chair each time.  Afterwards Little M has a snack and a play, but she knows that this has to read her pages first.  It’s much harder to get her to sit down later on as she’s either too tired or distracted. We make this time fun and cosy so it’s not a chore.

Break it Up

When Little M is struggling with a school book, we don’t force her to read it all in one go. Instead we focus on getting her to sound out the words slowly encouraging her for effort then call it a day after a few pages.  It’s better for both of us to finish the activity on a positive note rather than turn reading into a frustrating experience.

Encourage Your Reader

Rather than tell her that she’s got a word wrong, we ask her to try again or sound it out.  This one is pretty hard to do because we know the words so well ourselves, but if we always say ‘no’, or ‘that’s wrong’, we’ve noticed that it makes her wary about reading.  We aim to keep it neutral or positive and motivate her to problem solve on her own. This doesn’t mean praising indiscriminately, just choosing how we point out errors.

Let Them Take Control

Children love to be in charge.  We ask Little M to explain the story to us and point out details. She gets satisfaction from being in the driving seat.

Set An Example

It’s tough to find time to read books when we have busy lives, but if you can show your child that you enjoy reading then they’re much more likely to have a go themselves.  If you don’t have time to pick up a book yourself, then factor in 10 minutes to read to them before bedtime – that way you’ll both be able to enjoy the story together.  Little M knows we love books and so she loves them too.

So for us it’s mainly about keeping it routine, bitesized and fun. Have you tried any of the above or have any other tips for encouraging children to read ? We’d love to try them out!









Book Review: The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine DoyleWhen Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

Who could resist such an enticing cover (illustrated by Bill Bragg) and blurb? Not me – that’s for sure! So when Bloomsbury offered me a review copy of The Storm Keeper’s Island * I jumped at the chance.

Initially, I was drawn in by the idea of overlapping worlds in this middle grade novel. I’ve always been fan of low fantasy where magic intermingles with reality and the tale really delivers on that score. From the outset we know that Arranmore is enchanted, especially for Fionn and this sense of power is richly developed as the story unfolds.  Doyle casts us into a landscape that’s full of gods, myths and half-buried histories.  At the centre of this, Malachy – Fionn’s grandfather and the current Storm Keeper – is trying to hold everything together from his homely cottage filled with mysterious candles, but his strength is waning and so a successor must be found.  Malachy is a beautifully drawn character, one of my favourites in the book, full of humour and kindness – very much like Fionn who is also incredibly witty.  The sparky dialogue between the characters is a real highlight of the novel. I’d read more by Doyle just for her banter alone!

Of course, where there are heroes, there are also villains.  The island has a motley crew of unlikeables topped by Morrigan, an evil sorceress who wishes to rise again. This is where it got a bit more complicated as different timelines began to interweave but I enjoyed the intricate plot and will be interested to see how the author brings everything together in the sequel (out July 2019).

A compelling summer read for 9-12 year olds and fans of old-school novels such as The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner.

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