How to Inspire Your Child to Read

A father teaching his daughter to read

How to Inspire Your Child to Read

Reading is one of the great enjoyments your child can look forward to in life, but learning to read can be challenging. Approaching reading with patience, good humour and an open mind will help.

For most adults, reading has become second nature. It can be difficult to remember what it is like to simply not understand words. It doesn’t help that all languages – and English is no exception – come with a strange array of rules and behaviours that at times defy logic. This is the beauty of language and also the heartache.

But learning to read can, and should be a wonderful time for your child. It can also be an enjoyable trip down memory lane for parents, who may rediscover a love of reading. Whatever your child’s natural inclination towards language, there is one golden rule and that is that reading should be fun. If your child is not enjoying reading, try to identify where the stumbling blocks are.  You can then approach these individually.

How Practice Can Make Perfect

As with any new skill, reading requires practice! Here are some guidelines for helping children with this important milestone.

  • Make use of phonics: There are many games available to help children with phonics, have fun seeking some out.
  • Practice sight words: Use sight words in conversation, giving them a natural context.
  • Reading from pictures: Point to visual cues to help children recognise words.
  • Keep the flow: Help beginner readers with difficult words so they can enjoy the flow of reading. Trying to perfect every word can cause frustration and hinder motivation. These difficult words can be revisited later.
  • Audio learning: Some children are audio learners. Reading out loud together can help with comprehension.
  • Visual learning: Visual learners see concepts as ‘pictures’. Children can draw pictures to relay the story.
  • Kinaesthetic learning: Some children learn through physical movement. Try acting the story out with them.

Keeping their Interest

  • Read to children regularly, even for a short time.
  • Read a variety of things – as well as home readers try jokes, silly poems, songs, comics, signs and cereal boxes!
  • Tell a story for fun, in place of screen time.
  • Take the pressure down

Repetitive drills and frustrated moments can hinder motivation. Remember this is a big step for your child and an interest in reading is more important than fluency at this stage.

Reduce anxiety around your child’s reading stage, by remembering that all children learn to read at a different pace.

Consider that their attitude towards tasks they can’t do will have a big impact on their frustration levels. Reassure them by focusing on the things they can do and gradually working towards other goals.

Should My Child be Able to Read Already?

The short answer is no. Literacy is a fundamental life skill and our educators at Ally’s Kindy in Ipswich, take this very seriously. However, a whole understanding of literacy takes some time to develop.  We encourage reading for enjoyment with your children, for ten minutes every day. Getting to know how your child feels about reading and writing will enable you to support them in the years to come.

Stay focused and patient with the task. Building a strong foundation for literacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.