How Do I Get My Child To Read?

How Do I Get My Child To Read?

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We live in an age of technological overload where children are constantly juggling phones, I-pads, laptops, computers and X-Box or whatever it’s called!  Added on top of that, we have hundreds of television channels competing for our attention as well.

In a nutshell, today’s children have far more distractions that I ever did as a child of the, ahum, 1970s.  I can remember a time when there was no TV in the mornings and only three channels.  I used to settle down to read Enid Blyton before school in my ‘special corner’ and what’s more I loved it.

So, as part of my 11+ / Education series what can you do now in the 21st Century?

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Make it Fun and Pleasurable

Forcing a child to read is a highway to nowhere and worse still, they will end up resenting you.  I always saw my mum reading and enjoying the experience and this is a really important aspect of getting your child to understand that reading can be so much fun.

I loved my special corner where I felt cosy, safe and warm.  It was by a window and I particularly enjoyed losing myself in another world when rain was pelting down.  I felt so safe and cocooned that it feels as if it was yesterday.

Perhaps you could create a special reading corner.  It doesn’t have to be anything special.  It could be as simple as a beanbag in a quiet corner or a more elaborate affair inside a child’s wigwam, for example.

Think about what your child loves e.g. Disney or football and then create a reading zone with that theme.  That way, they associate reading with something they love.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Read Together

I still remember my mum reading to me when I was in bed and then begging her for another page.

When children are at school and there are none of the abovementioned distractions in the classroom, they tend to be transfixed by the teacher who’s reading them a story.  I still remember sitting on a square of carpet and my Year 1 teacher reading us The Little Wooden Horse and Carbonel.  Such lovely memories.

We all lead such busy lives now but if you factor in some reading time with your children it really will pay dividends.

I always feel as if reading to your child is like creating a cinema screen inside their heads.  You create the atmosphere and the voices.  What’s more, you also get special bonding time with your children too.  This is the foundation block of your child’s reading experience so make the most of it.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Encourage Dressing Up and Re-enactment

Children love to pretend and they also love to re-enact the stories that they read.

Why not create a dressing up box for your child to bring ideas to life?  You can ask friends and family to donate items or alternatively, you could visit a charity shop for cheap clothes, jewellery and hats etc that you don’t mind getting wrecked.

By bringing characters to life, you are helping your child to improve their own imaginations and as a private tutor, I always say that in order to be a great writer, you must be a great reader too.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Don’t Dismiss Factual Books

I often get asked by parents about what their child should be reading.  If a child is reading virtually nothing then there is not much point presenting them with a full box set of Harry Potter and asking them to get ‘stuck in’.

I never dismiss factual books such as books on sport or their favourite hobby/animal.  Short magazine articles, information on cereal packets or leaflets that come through the door are all access points to encouraging reading.  Don’t dismiss them as ‘not good enough’.

Small stepping stones can still lead to a destination even if the journey takes that little bit longer.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Try Short Stories

Why not try a shorter story instead of overfacing your child with a set of heavy duty novels to wade through?

The Book Trust has some really good recommendations that you may find useful to get your child on the road to reading for pleasure.  Their suggestions state that they are good for ‘dipping in and out of’ which again takes the pressure off your child.

In my work as a private tutor, I am always praising the benefits of working in manageable chunks otherwise overwhelm can take over and destroy confidence.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Try Audio Books

If your child is a little older and doesn’t want you to sit reading to them, there is still a way that you can help them make the move to reading books for themselves.

Audio books have grown in popularity and adults enjoy listening to stories in the car or on a train commute.  In the same way, a child can slip into another world simply by putting in their earphones.

The website Loyal Books has a database of over 7000 books and what’s more they are FREE!  You can find Anne of Green Gables, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Myths and Legends and so much more.

As a child I would have loved this as another dimension to my reading.  Cosying up in bed, in the dark and just listening to stories sounds wonderful and I think I may well consider doing it now as an adult!

How Do I Get My Child to Read? – Your Local Bookshop / Library / Free Kindle books

Don’t forget your local library, if indeed you still have one available to you.  Very often they have reading sessions and/or invite local authors to read extracts of their books.

The very environment of a library is so obviously conducive to reading and may spark something in your child too.  If you don’t have a library then look out for local bookshops running free events.  Very often, authors will do guest appearances and the bookshop will create a themed experience which adds a fun factor for your child.

Not only are these functions free, they are also excellent for capturing the imagination of your child.

Amazon is also great for searching free books.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to find out what your child likes to read.  If you just search ‘free classic kindle books’, you will get a wide range of books you can try for absolutely no financial outlay at all such as The Jungle Book and Robinson Crusoe.

How Do I Get My Child to Read? –  My Top 5 recommended author collections

Here are some of the books I love to recommend: –

  1. The Roald Dahl collection
  2. Enid Blyton – Adventure Series
  3. Michael Morpurgo Story Collection
  4. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  5. The Alex Rider Collection

How Do I Get My Child to Read? –  Useful resources

Some useful websites: –

How Do I Get My Child To Read?

How Do I Get My Child To Read?

Here’s to life on your terms,


Rachel a.k.a The Life Hack Tutor

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How Do I Get My Child To Read?

How Do I Get My Child To Read?

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