The one skill that provides the key to unlocking all other skills is your child’s ability to read. Often, that ability is determined by one word: routine. At Fred Longworth High School, we ask parents to encourage their child to read every day – even just ten minutes a day can expose children to accurate spelling, a variety of punctuation, challenging new words and, most importantly, escapism to new and exciting worlds.

How can I encourage reading at home?

Here are three ways you can encourage and develop your child’s reading ability:

1. Interest

Try to be as interested as possible in your child’s reading. First, take an interest in their book selection, encouraging your child to choose books targeted at their age to avoid them feeling under-stimulated by its content. You can look at the Carnegie Medal shortlist https://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/ for some of the most recently nominated books for young people.

If your child is struggling to engage in fiction, explore what they read online. Are there any news website they may like or perhaps blogs they could follow? Reading non-fiction is still valuable reading and, especially if monitored, can massively benefit your child’s reading ability and confidence.

2. Normalise Reading

Reading yourself is an essential way to encourage your child to understand the importance of reading and enjoy its benefits. You might simply have an hour where all devices are turned off and you all enjoy a read. Alternatively, you may like to read to/with your child.

3. Talk

Asking your child questions about what they read is very important. Ask them about the plot, characters, twists, or their predictions about the ending. This will help to deepen their understanding of what they have read and encourage them to draw inferences from the text.

For children engaging in non-fiction, discuss their reaction to what they have read. How far do they agree? What else have they found out? What questions do they now have? Conversations that springboard from current affairs can be a powerful way to engage children in the written form.