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Top tips for encouraging your child to read

How can we encourage young people to read more? Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, otherwise we'd have rocketing literacy levels, booming book sales, and people walking round with their noses buried in books rather than their eyes glued to screens! However, there are some simple, research-based techniques proven to have an impact on children's reading habits:

  1. Be a good role model - research shows that children and teens imitate their parents' and carers' behaviour. Put this to good use by making sure that your child sees you enjoying reading. If you normalise reading by doing it often, it is far more likely to become a habit for them too.
  2. Read to them - in a classroom, nothing can replicate the impact of reading aloud to a class; it's like a special form of hypnotism! Not only is it calming and enjoyable to listen to, but you can learn a lot about language and expression from hearing someone else read.
  3. Have books in your home - whether you go shopping for books together, take regular trips to the library, or host book-swaps between family and friends, research suggests that young people are more inclined to read for pleasure if they feel ownership over the books they are reading.
  4. Give them choice - as any English teacher will tell you, it is no mean feat to drag someone (metaphorically kicking and screaming) through a novel they don't want to read! Make sure that you involve your child in the selection process when it comes to choosing books. And if they aren't choosing something that is challenging enough, or serious enough, just remember that it's more important they are reading, than that they are reading the 'right things'.
  5. Talk about reading - whether you ask them their opinion of the book they have just finished, or you encourage them to analyse their favourite character in detail, it is important that you support your child in exploring texts deeply by discussing them, as this will cement their understanding and develop their appreciation of each novel they read, making them all the more likely to want to keep reading!

And if you are in need of another idea, Grouty's Guide book clubs will be launching on October 1st, allowing children and teens to enjoy and learn from experiencing a range of fiction.