Reading with your child

January 21, 2022


Reading a book together is great fun! It’s a time to be close, laugh and talk together.

If you aren’t confident in reading aloud and sharing books with others, don’t worry. There’s no wrong or right way for everyone to enjoy a good story. Here are some tips for you.

It’s never too good to start.

It’s never too old to share books with your child – while they may not understand some words, they will love reading the stories, cuddling up, and listening to your voice.

  • Talk to you bump. Talking to your bump regularly will help your baby recognize your voice, and they will be able to comfort you and hear your sounds even before their birth.
  • If your child is young, you might give black-and-white books a chance. The Bookstart Newborn pack might be yours. This contains black and/or white images you can share. These are ideal when the baby’s eyes are still developing.
  • Ask your health visitor in England and Wales about where to pick up your Bookstart Baby Pack. This pack includes books, tips and guidance to help start.
  • Join your library. You’ll find lots of great tips and recommendations at the library. Rhymetimes for young children and other sessions may be held at your library. These are great opportunities to have fun with family and meet new friends.
  • Involve other family members. Storytime can be enjoyed by everyone, and it is a great way to bond. There are many books available about the relationship of grandparents and grandchildren. Your little one might enjoy sharing one of these stories, or even a few with their granddad.

As your child becomes a little older

The sharing of picture books can be great fun. However, your child may get distracted from the book, chew it or wander off. This is perfectly normal. Don’t worry about how much time you have available – even a few minutes can make an enormous difference.

Here are some other tips to make storytime enjoyable together.

  • Ask your child to select the book they want to read. The story will appeal to them more if they pick it themselves. You can rest assured that they won’t keep returning to the same story.
  • Turn off the TV, radio, and computer as soon as you can. It’s easier and more enjoyable for you to read the story together, without having to be distracted.
  • Sit near each other. Encourage your child or grandchild to read the book aloud and turn the pages.
  • Take a look through the photographs. The words are not the only thing you need to see. Perhaps you find something funny in the photographs that you can share a laugh with, or maybe your child enjoys guessing which next thing will happen.
  • Ask questions about the book. Picture books can be used to talk with your child about their fears and worries or to help them process their emotions. Talk to your child and find out their feelings about the scenes in the story.
  • Have fun There is no right or incorrect way to tell stories. All that matters is that you and the child have fun. Do not be afraid to use humor or create situations for your children. They will love it!

Encourage a love of reading

How can you encourage your children, as they grow older, to read when there are so many activities competing for their time?

Here are some of our ideas.

  • Do not be afraid to learn! It doesn’t matter the format – grab a magazine or a newspaper. Encourage your children and ask them to join the fun. Do they have to read the listings when you watch TV?
  • Give books to your children as presents. Encourage your children’s friends to give books as gifts.
  • Together, visit your local library. It’s always fun to find new books. Also, keep an eye on local bookshops for special author events. Children love meeting their favourite authors. Jacqueline Wilson & Anthony Horowitz have long queues to sign books!
  • Encourage your child to keep a book close at hand. Children will never get bored if they have a book with them (this is something that you can do too!)
  • Make sure you have a bookcase for the whole family. You can also have bookshelves installed in your children’s bedrooms if you wish.
  • Keep reading together. Don’t stop sharing stories with your older children.
  • Do not be alarmed if your child loves the same book again and again. Let’s be frank, we’ve all done that!