Tips for reading with your child
Here are some 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.
When your child is one year old, it is 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. A child aged between one and three needs between 10 and 12 hours sleep at night.
Encourage your child to read
Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.
Read aloud regularly
Try to read to your child every day. It is a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.
Encourage reading choice
Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time - it does not just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.
Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it.This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.
Create a comfortable environment
Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read. Sit close together and put your own phone away. Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages.
Make use of your local library
Libraries across Northern Ireland offer a wide range of free services including the loan of books and magazines, local history resources, eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, eNewspapers, computer use, internet access and Wi-Fi.
You can find out more information about where your nearest library is and how to join at:
Talk about books
This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it shows and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you have been reading and share ideas.
You could talk about something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.
Bring reading to life
You could try cooking a recipe you have read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you have read.
Make reading active
Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photographs from your day and adding captions.
Read with children in a way that suits them
You know your child best and you will know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested.
Above all, make it fun. It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Do not be afraid to use funny voices - children love this.