- If your child defines themselves as not being a ‘reader’ then sometimes beginning with a lengthy novel is too off putting. Therefore, beginning with the reading of magazines, graphic novels, comics and even news articles or web articles is a great place to start!
- Be led by your child’s interest and hobbies. Following any fashion isn’t always the best thing for anyone; not everyone will love Harry Potter. So try not to force a certain text on to your child. Allow them the option and begin with what they love or are interested in.
- Encourage your child to bring the act of reading into their everyday lives as much as possible. Reading lists of ingredients; recipes for tea they may be helping to make with you; instructions; timetables; menus; TV guides. These are all little but important activities that will have your child reading without them even realising.
- Another myth regarding reading is if you are listening to a book then you aren’t really reading! It’s a lie! For many people, listening to audio books and podcasts are so much more accessible and interesting. There are so many ways for you and your child to sign up for audio books and/or podcasts, both for free or for a small fee.
- Take an interest in what your child is reading. Setting aside 10 minutes a day to read for or with your child is one of the most motivational ways to get your child on board. However, if they prefer reading independently, then even spending a few minutes talking to them about what they have just read and their opinions on it will make a huge difference. See the following model below called PEER, as a guide in supporting the reading process.
- Prompt your child to say something about the book/magazine/article they are reading. (What is happening? What are the three main things that have occurred so far? How would describe one of the characters?)
- Evaluate their response by actively commenting on what they have said. Using phrases such as ‘Really, I didn’t know that’ or ‘That’s so interesting, you’re right in what you’re saying there’.
- Expand their response by asking further questions to unpick it or rephrase/ add to it. (So you said that…does that mean that..? What do you think the writer is trying to say here? In your opinion, do you agree with what is being said? In other words, am I right in thinking that … or have I misunderstood you?)
- Repeat the prompt to help them learn from how you have just expanded it. (So quickly, can you summarise what is happening again? So just to make sure what you are saying is..’)
Other useful questions to help start a conversation: Would you change anything in the novel? What questions would you ask ONE of the characters? What would happen if..? Would you recommend this book and why/why not? What questions would you ask the writer?