Developing Reading Skills
Reading is about more than fiction books; it’s important to encourage reading of all kinds of literature. If your child loves reading then that's fabulous but, if your child is a reluctant reader – don’t despair! Factual books, comics, magazines, shopping lists, recipes, cereal packets and road signs are often more appealing to children who don’t love to curl up with a good book, and these opportunities to develop and practise reading can easily be overlooked. As adults we read more frequently than we generally realise – words surround us! Encourage your child to read the print that they encounter in their everyday life and they will be practising their reading skills without even knowing it.
Many parents stop reading to their children as their children get older but reading to children, whatever their age, is still important even when children are able to read to themselves. By choosing to read your child a book that is a little above their independent reading level you will be encouraging the development of your child’s vocabulary, their imagination and their knowledge of sentence structure and character development (without them even realising it) as well as showing them that reading can be a fantastic shared experience and something which grown-ups enjoy too. Making sure that your child has understood the trickier words that you have read and having a chat with your child at the end of a chapter (or whenever you finish reading with them) will help your child’s understanding of stories and will in turn aid their comprehension skills. It’s common for children not to see their parents reading and showing them that you enjoy a good book can go a long way to aiding their own enthusiasm.
Some time spent with your child browsing in the local library or in a friendly bookshop, and giving your child the opportunity to select and reject - since they won’t be inspired to read every book they pick up - books for themselves will be time well spent. Encourage your child to read the blurb on the back cover and have a flick through a book before they make a selection – let them know it’s ok not to choose the first book they pick up; encourage them to find a book they think they will enjoy, even if that takes a little while.
For those of you whose children are already enthusiastic readers, it's important to encourage reading of a wide range of texts. Adding non-fiction books, poetry, recipes, instruction manuals and magazine articles to your child's reading material will ensure that they have access to a wide range of texts.
The Week Junior is an award-winning current affairs magazine for children aged 8–14. Filled with fascinating news and engaging information, it feeds curious young minds and helps children make sense of the world. My own children enjoyed this publication and I would highly recommend it. Click here to subscribe or to take a look!
If you're looking for specific book suggestions then please head to my Facebook page as you'll find lots more recommendations in my Facebook album of 'KS2 Book Recommendations'.
Most of all, whatever you choose to read, enjoy it!