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Tips for getting into reading from a young age

Improve Literacy Newsletter

Hi all,

Just a short newsletter this month as it's a hectic time of the year for us at the moment! We'll have a jam-packed issue next month to make up for it.

Anyway, here are our top 5 tips for getting your child into reading from a young age:

1. Join the local library!

In the past the local library was nearly always a grey, dreary place where you had to be completely silent or else risk the anger of the librarians and other readers. Nowadays they are mostly bright, friendly and comfortable places where children are encouraged to go and learn all about books and reading in a fun environment. All you need is a library card - which is almost always free - and the motivation to go there with your child once a week. It's a great and cheap way to introduce an inquisitive child to the world of books, and the librarians will always help you find suitable reading material tailored to the child's age.

2. Read with, not to, your child

It's always a good idea to treat a reading session as an interactive exercise rather than just a one-way activity. Rather than reading the book, or chapter, from beginning to end, check your young reader's understanding of what is happening in the story as you go. You can ask her questions about what has happened, or what she thinks is going to happen next. Also, asking whether she feels happy or sad about events in the story can promote emotional involvement in the story, and can really help with early reading comprehension skills.

3. Subscribe to a comic or magazine

Depending on your child's age, getting regular comic books or magazines delivered can be a great way to get your child to read avidly. The anticipation of the next instalment is bound to keep your child excited and, because of the content, he won't feel like reading is a chore in the way that he might with a school book. Just make sure that the content is suitable for the age group, and be on hand to help with any tricky words or phrases.

4. Record books on to cassette

A really good activity for a children's party, or for a small group of friends, is to take turns reading a story out loud and recording it on to a cassette. It's always funny to listen back to the recording, and you can guarantee the kids will love hearing their own voices when it comes to their turn. Alternatively they could each play a different character in the story,and read out that character's lines.

5. Create a bedtime reading routine

Start a bedtime reading routine that your child can really look forward to. It could be once a week, or every night if you want. A popular one is start off with a bath, with lots of toys and bubbles in the bathtub. Then it’s on with the cosy fresh pyjamas and snuggle up in bed together with as many books as you have time to read. Each child chooses at least one book to bring along, and the adult chooses one too. After all the books (or as many as possible) are read, it’s time for sleep.
A further twist on this is to choose books within a specific category (magic, adventure, a particular author, etc.).

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