Learning to read is fundamental to our children’s academic success – not to mention cognitive development, forming bonds and kick-starting their imagination.

Fuel your child's imagination / Photo credit: Unsplash
Fuel your child's imagination / Photo credit: Unsplash

In the world-first ‘Education Report’, online tutoring company, GoStudent, found that 20% of children in the UK fell behind in English during the last academic year.

Furthermore, just 23% of boys and 36% of girls in the UK cite reading as a hobby.

GoStudent share their top tips on how to help your kids to get into reading so that you can foster a love of literature together.

Start 'em young

It is widely understood that the critical age for reading growth is from 3 to 5 years old. However, research also suggests that our little ones are harvesting important skills that they’ll use in reading from birth. So, it’s never too early to start your child on that all-important journey towards reading independently.

When you’re reading with your child, encourage them to read aloud. Use your fingers to run over the words and keep to a calm speed. This way, they are more likely to read slower too, concentrate on the words, comprehend their meanings and ask questions if they need to.

Little and often

Regularity is key – in fact, teachers recommend that students read for 20 minutes a day at home. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, making sure that storytime occurs at least once a day works well. Bite-sized chunks of book-related fun will soon become normal and what’s more, a daily dose approach helps children learn the importance of routine, especially if reading comes just before bedtime.

Make sure you’ve set up a fun and safe space to read in. Better yet, leave books within easy reach in your child’s bedroom. Giving them the autonomy to open and enjoy books when you’re not there will let them know that reading is for them – a fun solo activity that they can always turn to.

Follow their lead

Take a cue from your child’s personal interests. Are they drawn to animals and the natural world? Are they a fan of fantasy? Or maybe they’ve already got an appetite for facts? The more engaged they are with what they’re reading, the more likely they are to enjoy the process and keep coming back to it.

It may feel tedious but try not to roll your eyes when your little one asks to read the same book again and again. Re-reading is vital when it comes to overall comprehension. One method to keep things fresh is to read it together the first time and then let them read it themselves the second time – this will help to build up their confidence too.

MORE: Three reasons to encourage your child to read about autism (femalefirst.co.uk)

Make it fun!

Although learning to read is a serious business, that doesn’t mean that reading time can’t be full of fun. Reading for pleasure is one of the best-known ways to ensure a student is successful with their reading growth.

Pick books with regional characters and try out their accents, create your own sound effects, play dress up and make use of silly props. Allowing your child to exercise their imagination will help them to improve their ability to visualise new worlds, characters and perspectives.

Mix it up

Your child probably already receives reading assignments from school. Encourage them to do their own research online or at the library to find complementary books that aren’t already on the reading list. Hopefully, they will find the investigation inspiring and their teachers will be impressed by their initiative too.

Most importantly, remind them that literature comes in all shapes and sizes. If stories aren’t going down too well, opt for reading rhymes and song lyrics. Poetry might appeal if your little one has a creative mind, alternatively, magazines and graphic novels offer a great introduction to journalistic writing and the interplay between the written word and design respectively.

Exclusively written by GoStudent. For more information visit, www.gostudent.org.