Tips for reading with your child

Read 10 tips to help your child with their reading and get them interested in words. You can borrow books from the library, point to signs or notices to read outside the home, use learning games and subscribe to magazines.

Children's sleeping times 

A child aged between one and three needs between 10 and 12 hours sleep at night. 

Bedtime routine

When your child is one year old, it's important they have a routine before bedtime.  The routine should last about 15 to 30 minutes. Before going to bed, they should do the same things in the same order at the same time every day.

Cuddle up and read

Quiet times together allow you to bond and read together. The cuddling can be as important as the reading. Put some drama into your voice or let your child read along with you on every other page. As you read, explain any new words or ideas.

Be a reading role model

When your child sees you reading, they'll want to imitate you. It won't be long until they learn that reading is fun, interesting, and a 'grown up' thing to do.

Visit the library

Libraries have books, magazines, newspapers and internet access. If you're near a public library, ask the librarian about books for your child. They can tell you about any library clubs you could join,  such as reading groups. 

Find your nearest library at the Libraries NI website.

Library activities for children under four years old

To find tools, tips and fun activities to help develop your child's communication and language skills, go to:

Alphabet fridge magnets

If you have alphabet fridge magnets in the kitchen, your child can make words and short sentences.

Learning new words

Reading stories helps build important skills as well as capturing your child's interest in books. Books are a rich source of information for your child as they contain words you might not use in everyday conversations. But you should also take everyday opportunities to read with your child.

Your child's world is filled with words – on cereal boxes, street signs, shops, posters and bus stations. Wherever you go, you can always find new words and point them out.

Using games to learn new words

Board games or card games such as memory and rhyming cards can be a fun way to learn about words, letter sounds and reading.  You could create your own by cutting out pictures, writing words on cards and getting your child to match them.

Using children's websites to learn new words

Educational websites have links to fun activities and learning games. If your child uses websites to learn, it's important to limit their time online.

Books and book vouchers

Suggest to family and friends to give a book instead of a toy as a gift. Make sure you tell them about your child's reading level and interests.  

Subscribe to a magazine

It's quite exciting to receive post. Let your child subscribe to a magazine that's suitable for their age and watch their excitement when each new issue arrives by post.

Reading books, magazines and newspapers

Keep other books, magazines and newspapers around the house. For easy access, you could store these a box in the kitchen or living room.

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