Emma, our fabulous blogger, shares some top tips to help you get your children into books

With World Book Day just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to share some top tips to help your little ones, get away from the screens and into the pages:

There are more distractions than ever before when it comes to being a child today. If they’re not engrossed in the television there’s an iPad seemingly surgically attached to their hand, or failing that, they’re hunched over a laptop whether for homework or leisure.

As much as the age of technology has improved our lives, there’s no debating the detrimental effect that too much time spent using it can have. Our attention spans have been scientifically proven to have fallen to just eight seconds from twelve in the year 2000 – around the time the digital age as we know it began.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure our children develop a healthy relationship with technology, and are still engaging their brain and using their imagination on a daily basis. And what could be better to achieve this? Simply picking up a good book and getting lost in its pages.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of tips to get your child to down the iPad and pick up a copy of Harry Potter, The Famous Five or perhaps one of Roald Dahl’s classics.

  1. Read together. Whether the traditional ‘bedtime story’ or switching the television off in the afternoon and sitting together on the sofa while you read your own book and your child reads theirs quietly, make it clear that reading is something you enjoy and they’re likely to follow suit.
  2. Make it fun. Closing the book doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you’re finished. Discuss what’s happened, imagine what might happen next. Think of activities to play that relate back to the story – a treasure hunt, perhaps, if you’re reading about pirates. If you’re reading The Secret Garden? Head out into your own garden and look at the plants and flowers, encouraging your child to describe what their own secret garden might look like. Don’t just read the book – act it out. Be as creative as you can.
  3. Offer a reward. Set out a goal – for example, ‘I will read one book a week’ – and decide on what the reward will be. Additionally, this can become a creative project; get the craft materials out and work on a chart to monitor the books as they are read each week, perhaps putting it on their bedroom wall or the fridge. This will visibly give your child a sense of accomplishment and – hopefully! – spur them on to the next book.
  4. Make sure they have access to plenty of reading material – we’ve all felt disappointed when we’ve started reading a book, only to find we simply can’t get into it. Your child should be excited to read, and if one particular book doesn’t get them going, make sure you’ve got something they can move on to instead.
  5. If your child has loved a particular story, get them to write a follow-up as to what they think might happen next. Not only will this improve their creative writing skills, but it will ensure they’re using their imagination well after they’ve read the final page.
  6. Make sure to set aside time to discuss what they’ve read each time. It makes sense to spend five minutes discussing the events of a particular chapter, what they liked about it, what they didn’t, any parts they had trouble understanding. Encourage questions and offer suggestions as to books they might enjoy next – getting your child to love reading often comes down to you demonstrating the enjoyment you get from it and being open to conversation.
We have many ways to help you get your children reading. For more information, drop us an email: [email protected]