Top reading tips from the National Literacy Trust

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Reading advice for families of pre-school age children and primary aged children from the National Literacy Trust.

Contents

0-3 years old

1. It's never too early to start sharing stories. Point out the pictures and encourage your baby to babble.

2. Your baby will love the sound of your voice. Find a quiet place to enjoy a story.

3. It's good to share favourite stories again and again. Repeating phrases helps build children's language.

4. Introduce your child to a wide variety of books. Books come in all shapes and sizes - squashy books, books which make noises, books with 'touchy feely' bits.

5. If your child shows no interest in a book which you are keen to share, don't push it. Try it out again in a few months. Very small children don't always follow a story easily so it may be that you simply spend time looking at a single picture.

A great idea Make a scrapbook about your child full of pictures and words. Read the words with your child and get them to say what else should be in their story.


3 - 5 years old

1. Let your children pretend to read. If your child is familiar with books, they'll get on better when they start school.

2. Help your child to join in. Let them turn pages and guess what happens next. Follow the words with your finger, point out pictures and talk together about the story.

3. Use funny voices, toys and actions to make the characters come alive.

4. Young children can get bored quickly, so little and often is best. A good ten minutes is better than a difficult half-hour.

5. Choosing books to read together can be fun. Don't object if your child wants the same book again and again - if they keep going back to a book it is because they are getting something from it.

A great idea Play the nonsense game. Cut out pictures from catalogues or magazines of objects that all begin with the same letter, plus a few that don't. Write down the names of the objects and get your child to match the picture to the name. Can they make a nonsense sentence with their words?


5 - 8 years old

1. Encourage your child to read to you. Follow the words with your finger and sound out the words (c-a-t: cat).

2. Be positive. Praise your child for trying hard at their reading. It's all right to make mistakes.

3. It's not just books. Point out all the words around you: labels on food, street signs, etc.

4. Keep in touch with your child's school and ask their teacher for suggestions on how you can help with reading and writing.

5. Read yourself. Set a good example by reading for pleasure and talking about the reading you do at work and home.

A great idea Find your family's top five reads. Ask everyone in your family to name their favourite reads - it could be a book, magazine, comic or newspaper. Involve grandparents, cousins etc. And see if the neighbours agree.


9 - 11 years old

1. Encourage independent reading but remember, children will still love a bedtime story.

2. Help your child to read aloud with expression so the story comes to life. This will help them read more fluently.

3. Don't worry if your child reads newspapers, magazines, comics and the internet as well as books.

4. Discuss reading. Ask your son or daughter about what's interested them in anything they've read recently

5. Read yourself. Set a good example by reading for pleasure and talking about the reading you do at work and home.

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