Childrens' books

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As parents of three young children, we are keen to get our children’s education off to a good start by assisting them with their reading.

I’ve written on a few occasions about the value of reading if we want to continue to develop ourselves and would love to be able to pass on this value to my children so that they can be well prepared, not only for their education, but for their long-term future beyond school.

Whilst I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in this area, there are a few things that we have learned that we try to put into action to assist our children to become not only competent readers, but lovers of books.

We’re not there yet by any means, but here are a few tips that I have learned so far.

Start early.  Starting to read to your children when they are still babies is a great idea as it gets them used to books, as well as stimulating their senses, helping them to concentrate and most importantly, giving you valuable time when your attention is on them.

Be consistent.   Read to your children on a daily basis.  It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, but just do your best to sit down with each of your children to read to them every day.  Someone once told us to aim for two children’s books per day.  Whilst we don’t always achieve that personally, it’s a great principle to be reminded of.

There are times when our oldest son’s reading has stagnated, but I’m glad that we’ve remained reasonably consistent with his reading, because you can see the benefits over the course of the past year.

Give books as presents.  Kids love presents and if they receive a couple of great books in the midst of their toys and video games, it may help them to appreciate them and enjoy them.  This can also be a great gift idea if you are an uncle or aunt and don’t know what to buy a child in your extended family.

Role-model reading.  As with most things, if your children see you doing and valuing something, then they are likely to imitate you.  By reading your own books in their presence, they can see that reading isn’t just a chore that you are imposing on them, but can be an enjoyable experience.

Join the local library.  Whilst it’s always a great idea to have lots of books around the house, I understand that this can be expensive for many families.  With this in mind, I would recommend joining the local library as they will have a wide range of books to keep your children interested.  Additionally, making a trip to the library can become an outing that the children look forward to, increasing the perceived value of reading for your kids.

Make it fun.  Nagging or yelling at your kids to ensure that they remain consistent with their reading is a counter-productive exercise.  The more fun you can make reading, the more they will look forward to it and get something out of it.  Remember, we want our children to have a long-term love of reading, not consider it to be a burden.

I certainly don’t claim to have always got this right with my kids and aim to do better, but I thought that I would share what I have learned so far about helping your children with their reading.

Do you have any great tips that you would like to share?

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