The importance of reading is something every parent knows about. Good readers make good writers and successful communicators so it is essential for parents to encourage a reading culture in our children. Often children will happily read the same books over and over again if they like them, or if they are unsure what to move onto next. But how do you, as parents, know what books to select in order to keep your children interested and engaged in reading?

Children Reading

One key is to help them select books that match their interests and styles. Children who like football or ponies will clearly enjoy books about football or ponies. Enjoyment of what they are reading is half of the battle. Who would like to read something that does not interest them? It is important not to allow any chances of children seeing reading as a ‘boring’ activity. There are plenty of books out there for your children to love and enjoy.

Secondly, the level of difficulty of a book is key. If your child is picking books based on the front cover, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will enjoy the book. In terms of useful difficulty levels in order to facilitate learning, you need to make sure they will learn something from the book they have selected but also make sure it is not too challenging. A rough guide for 5 year olds is the rule of 5. If there are 0-1 new words for the child to read and learn in the book, it is simply too easy. If there are 2-3 new words, the book could be called a ‘medium’ challenge. 4-5 new words introduced in a book is a little more challenging and any more than that is simply too difficult. Older readers, who have good knowledge of phonics and who can decode words independently would be able to cope with far more.

It is also a great idea to ensure your child is not restricting their reading to the best sellers. A good non-fiction book can be incredibly interesting and, when selected carefully and in consultation with their teacher, it can help them learn about the topic he or she is covering in school. If they are learning about Titanic in school (ready to write a story about Titanic), for example, reading a non-fiction book about Titanic would be extremely beneficial.

There are so many possibilities for reading. Asking a librarian, consulting a teacher or simply browsing the internet may open many doors for you if you are struggling to select decent reading material.

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