Make reading fun at any age

From baby books to first novels, tips and ideas for encouraging your child to get the most out of reading at home

The sooner a child gets a taste for reading, the better, and even the youngest child will enjoy a colourful picture book.

But what if your child is more reluctant reader than bookworm? We’ve got lots of ideas for any age group, and the half term holidays are a perfect time to get reading.

Babies and toddlers

First words, colour and shape identification, and counting skills are all enhanced by sharing books at this stage.

  • Use fabric baby books and large colourful board-page books. Let babies handle books like toys.
  • Describe pictures to your child using lots of interesting language (talk about the colours, what people in the pictures are doing etc).
  • Reading a book just before nap times or after bathtime is a great way to wind down.

Kids under five

Picture books with funny stories or rhymes encourage children to have fun with their own talking skills.
If you don’t like reading books yourself, just use the pictures to make up your own story.

  • Young children look at the same stories over and over again so there’s no need to buy lots of books.
  • Stories are useful for exploring new experiences – starting school, being ill, getting a new baby brother or sister…

Children under 10

Children’s reading skills develop at a wide range of ages so don’t push your child too hard.

  • ’First reader’ books have large type, short chapters and lots of pictures so they’re not too daunting when your child is learning to read.
  • Get your child to read a bit of an easy book, then you can read a chapter of a more ‘difficult’ book to keep things varied.
  • If your child is tired, use storytime to have a chat. It’s still quality time together.
  • You’ll find more advice on reading with this age group here.

Over 10s and teenagers

Even for kids who aren’t bookworms, reading offers valuable downtime.

  • Magazines, novels, fact books, comics – ANY reading is good!
  • Audio books are excellent for children who aren’t keen on sitting down and reading printed pages.

Share your tips

What do you do to get your kids reading? We’d love to hear your ideas.


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