Whether your children are just starting to engage with books or you're struggling to find a book to interest your older child Dymocks has some tips on how to foster a love for reading in your kids.
Even small babies can enjoy books. Babies love it when you read them stories, poems or rhymes. Board books and bath books are often the first books children will come across. They can be treated as toys, but they will help them learn how to handle books, how to turn pages and how to enjoy the shapes, colours and pictures.
Choose books with colourful pictures and simple words. Encourage your toddler to point out objects, repeat words, and talk about the story. Children often want to listen to the same story again and again. This is fine, as it builds confidence and familiarity with words, and reinforces that stories are fun. Try to share books together each day, and not just at bedtime.
Continue reading to your child. As your child learns to read, take turns reading to each other. Don't continually correct your child as that will ruin the flow of the story. Help your child develop reading comprehension and ask them open-ended questions about the story such as, "What do you think will happen next?"
How can you tell if a book is 'just right' for your child? Use the five finger test - open the book to a middle page and ask your child to read. If there are less than five words they don't know, then the book should be 'just right' for them. It is also fine for them to choose an easy book (a holiday read) or a more challenging book but 'just right' will also help your child practice their reading and gain experience.
Proficiency in reading is crucial to a young person's future. One of the best ways of achieving this is to encourage them to read every day for pleasure. The challenge is to instil a sense of pleasure in reading materials that young adults find interesting and relevant.
For ideas on what books are suitable for your children's age you can find Dymocks' 2012 Guide to Children's Books online at www.dymocks.com.au.