Top tips to encourage children to read by choice
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Top tips to encourage children to read by choice

28 April 2021 By Leanne Jephcott – Curriculum Specialist at Peters

child reading

Encouraging children to read can have many benefits, including helping to promote improved concentration, strengthening of vocabulary and language skills, and development of imagination. Explore our top tips for teachers and parents on how to get children to read more, and how 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 at home 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 story time 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.

Create excitement

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 to encourage reading time. 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 reading materials and can be the perfect way to get reluctant readers hooked and further develop reading skills. 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.

Book clubs

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.

What next?

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 range features book packs that 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 titles have some wonderful stories which can be enjoyed along the way making learning fun!

Take a look at the range here.


Useful blogs:

Top tips for a fun and engaging reading area

How reading can boost your mental health

Having a positive impact on children’s wellbeing

Categories: Education

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