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25th Oct 2023

Six easy tips to encourage your child to start reading

Anna Martin


It can feel impossible to get your child to trade a screen for a book and get reading.

While there is an abundance of information out there, it can feel overwhelming when you’re being bombarded with different methods and advice.

On top of this, there’s the issue of being a busy parent; between life and work, how exactly do you make time to sit down with your child and read a book?

We’ve gathered together six tips and tricks that will not only help encourage your child to read but also boost their confidence.


Focus on the sounds letters make

We used to be taught things like ‘a’ stand for apple or ‘b’ stands for ball, which we can all recall as very confusing at a young age.

That’s why it may be more effective to associate letters with the sound they make rather than a word, so make the sound of the letter a so your child knows how to sound it out in a word.

Now, does this mean that if your child began learning by matching alphabet letter names with words, they won’t learn to match sounds and letters or learn how to read.

Every child learns differently, so this may just help them to understand how to sound out words faster.

Add phonics into the mix

Phonics is the relationship between sounds and symbols and if a child can get to grips with this, research shows they tend to become stronger readers in the long run.

This method can help your child go from letter to letter, to blending the sounds they make together. This will helping them to read new words they may never have encountered before.


Sight words

Firstly, what are sight words?

They are common words we encounter in everyday life that aren’t pronounced the way they would be sounded out.

These words should be memorised to make reading easy and fluid without undoing all the work you have put into understanding phonics.

While an important part of learning to read, this shouldn’t be your key focus at the beginning of the journey as a focus on phonics will help to develop their vocabulary faster.

Make it fun

Reading time should never feel stressful for either you or your child. There should be no pressure to get in 30 minutes of a book after a long stressful day at work.

On top of this, the books you choose don’t have to be boring, text-heavy, hardbacks, they can be full of bright images and illustrations to keep your little one engaged.

Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. If your child doesn’t want to tackle a certain book try another genre, just experiment and see what sticks.


Read together

While you read with your child, consider asking them to repeat words or sentences back to you every now and then while you follow along with your finger.

There’s no need to stop your reading time completely if your child struggles with a particular word, instead a reminder of what the word means or how it’s pronounced is enough.

Another option is to split reading aloud time with your child. For emerging readers, you can read one line and then ask them to read the next. For older children, reading one page and letting them read the next page is beneficial.


Play word games

A book isn’t the only way to get your child reading, if your kid loves a bit of competition you can try out some word games.

Though there are plenty to purchase in your local toy shop, you can get started with just a stack of Post-It notes and a pen.

For this game, write sight words or words your child can sound out on the paper. Then stick the notes to the wall.

Your child can then stand in front of the Post-Its with the bunched-up sock in their hands. You say one of the words and your child throws the sock-ball at the Post-It note that matches.

Plus this way they get to throw stuff around in an educational way!