How to

Eight ways to share the power of reading with your children

literacy-day-Mme-Afrika-col-flatSharing books with your children gives you the opportunity to build a strong and loving bond with them while also helping to develop the literacy skills that are so important for their success at school.

Reading helps to open your children’s eyes, hearts and minds to other people and to different situations. And, when you read to them, you help to establish reading as something they will continue to do for pleasure throughout their lives. So really, reading to your children is just good parenting!

Here are some tips for sharing books with your children, no matter what their age.

* Invite your children to read with you for at least 15 minutes every day.

* Find somewhere quiet and comfortable to read. Beds and couches make good indoors reading places. Turn off the radio, TV and computer.

* Ask your child to choose a book for you to read together. This shows that you care about what they think and they are more likely to engage with a book that they have chosen!

* Sit close together and encourage your child to hold the book themselves or to help you do this. Younger children enjoy turning the pages. Invite older readers to read the words of one of the characters or a paragraph or two of the story.

* Try different things to make stories come alive! Use different voices for different characters. Read softly in quiet, gentle parts of a story. Read quickly if a character is in a hurry, or is being chased. Read in a big, booming voice for loud noises in the story.

Talk about the story together. Encourage your children to share their opinions of the ways in which the characters in the story behave and the choices they make. Develop your children’s prediction skills, but asking, “What do you think is going to happen next?” at different points in the story.

* If the book has illustrations, enjoy looking closely at them together. Comment on things you notice and like in the illustration and encourage your children to do the same.

* But most of all, simply enjoy sharing different books together. Relax and do whatever it takes to make these times fun for all of you.