This year Children’s Book Week takes place from 3-9 May, and 2021 also marks the celebration’s 100th anniversary. Children’s Book Week aims to inspire children everywhere to love reading for fun. Below are some top tips for teachers and parents to encourage all children to develop a love of reading, including even your most reluctant of readers!
Be a reading role model
Be a role model for your children! If you show them that you love reading, they’re likely to pick up on this too. Tell them about what you’re reading, and why you’re enjoying it. Reading shouldn’t be a box to be ticked each day – make it something to look forward to instead.
Research shows that 345,000 children in the UK are read to for less than 15 minutes per week at home, which makes storytime at school or nursery even more vitally important, as reading aloud to a child is one of the most effective ways to encourage them to read for pleasure.
Let children choose their books themselves
Even if they’re very young, a child is far more likely to be interested in a book if they have chosen it themselves and it’s something they have an interest in to begin with. Put out a small selection and let them pick. There is a book for every child out there, even if they haven’t found it yet.
If you’re reading aloud to your class or group, make sure you build excitement throughout the process! Keep the discussion going – if it’s a picture book, pause regularly to talk about the illustrations. What’s happening in the pictures? What mood do they create? At key points in the story, ask children to guess what might happen when you turn the page.
Make a comfortable space
Ensure as far as possible that there is somewhere comfortable for your children to sit and relax with a book. It should be somewhere they really want to spend time.
All reading is good reading
Don’t forget all reading is good reading – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a book. Magazines are equally valid and can be the perfect way to get reluctant readers hooked. You could also try newspaper articles, catalogues, or even instruction booklets!
Don’t forget non-fiction!
Those who don’t enjoy fiction might find a non-fiction book on a topic they’re interested in. Boys in particular can be reluctant to pick up a story book, but find themselves hooked on non-fiction. It’s great for dipping in and out of, so can be read in chunks rather than all in one go.
Encouraging group reading and discussion in a supportive environment can help reluctant or struggling readers to form ideas and responses to the books they read. Presenting this as a positive experience rather than something to be feared (or endured) helps develop a reading for pleasure culture.
Sometimes children may get stuck in their reading habits and need a little help branching out to try something new. Find out what they’ve read recently and why they liked it, so you can recommend other, similar books by lesser-known authors.
Make sure you’ve got the best books
Looking for new books for your pupils? YPO’s new range of book packs have been carefully selected by Peters’ specialists and offer a broad range of books both fiction and non-fiction to support children with their language development, vocabulary, grammar and spelling. The new titles have some wonderful stories which can be enjoyed along the way making learning fun! Take a look at the range here.
For more Children’s Book Week inspiration, visit the dedicated YPO page here.