It’s much easier for children to develop and enhance their literacy skills when they enjoy reading books in the first place. Upon discovering their ability to turn words on a page into a bright and vivid story, you might struggle to get them to put the book down!
Okay… baby steps. But you get the idea.
If you’ve ever started reading a book, only to realise moments later, it’s been several hours, and you’re hundreds of pages in, then you know the sheer power a good book holds. You find yourself absorbed into a world of mystery, crime, adventure – whatever tickles your fancy.
While literacy rates worldwide are growing steadily, around 1 in 5 people cannot read proficiently. And with the United Nations declaring literacy “a fundamental human right for all”, it’s time to start thinking about some creative ways to get kids into reading from an early age.
What’s in This Blog Post?
- Encourage Reading Every Day of the Week
- Celebrate Awesome Writers
- Play Simple Word Games
- Reading Aloud as Often as You Can
- Don’t Just Read the Book, Explore It
- Create a Reading Nook
Encourage Reading Every Day of the Week
Like brushing teeth or eating fruit and vegetables, you can encourage children to read every day so that it becomes part of their daily routine. This type of repetitive encouragement increases a child’s confidence in literacy and improves their reading speed and accuracy through spaced repetition.
And remember, reading includes fiction and non-fiction books – the more, the better! Simple habits like these ensure reading becomes a natural part of a child’s routine, providing ideal foundations for the future when making developmental jumps from early years to higher education.
Celebrate Awesome Writers
Nothing excites children more like a celebration. Whether it’s the end of term, the summer holidays, Christmas – nothing beats departing the usual classroom lessons for a day of celebrating!
You could spend some time asking children what their favourite books are and then dedicating an author to celebrate – and then you can recommend books by the same (or similar) authors to expand their abilities beyond their ‘comfort book’.
Remember Biff, Chip, and Kipper? Always getting into trouble! Famous author Roderick Hunt gave these characters lives back in 1986 and continues to publish children’s books in 2022!
Play Simple Word Games
Simple word games like rhyming or ‘beginning with’ encourage children to identify sounds and apply words to them. A great example is asking questions like “What rhymes with ____?” and “I’m looking for something beginning with _”.
These tasks are super effective and straightforward, giving you the freedom to practise your word games wherever you are. Whether it’s the playground, at home, or even while eating lunch – you can make time for literacy almost anywhere.
Reading Aloud as Often as You Can
Reading aloud to children has many benefits, you probably didn’t realise. As you read out loud to children, not only are they able to follow along with the story, but they’re also experiencing a fluent reader sounding out the words properly – enhancing their vocabulary and comprehension in the process.
Reading aloud also gives children confidence as they attempt to imitate words when looking at the books themselves. However, you have to make sure they understand.
Don’t Just Read the Book, Explore It
You can improve children’s comprehension skills by asking them questions about the book while reading along. For example, each time you get to a new chapter or page, consider asking the child some questions about it. Questions about the characters, the setting and the themes can help children remember what they’ve read and formulate their own thoughts and feelings about the book.
Create a Reading Nook
Last but certainly not least, why not create a cosy reading nook? If you have the space, set up a corner with some cushions and a bookshelf where children can familiarise themselves with the area and associate it with reading books. And if you’ve got even more space, why not completely transform your school library?
The more inviting you can make the space, the more likely it’ll be used by inquisitive young minds!
Psst. While you’re here, why not check out: 5 Tips for Better School Library Design to Engage Young Readers.
You can find more information about School Library Design and Space Planning here!