Siobhan O'Gorman

Encouraging Your Child to Read

Thu, February 09 2023

Young children love being read to at bedtime, or any time really. Their brains are wired for a sensitive period of language and literacy development.  As they get older and learn to read, fostering a love of reading becomes more important, and there are many things you can do to ensure children continue to find joy in reading books and learning. Read on to learn some tips.

Pre school years: Read early and often 

It's never too early to begin reading to your child.

1. Read together every day
Make it a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close. Bedtime is ideal.  It is a great way to end the day and spend valuable time with your child.

2. Give everything a name
Build your child's vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, "Look at that airplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?"

3. Say how much you enjoy reading
Talk about "story time" as the favourite part of your day.

4. Read with fun in your voice
Read to your child with humor and expression. Use different voices. Ham it up!
Books and poems with rhymes and repeated words or phrases are great for getting your kids to join in and remember the words. Green eggs and ham anyone?

5. Know when to stop
Put the book away for awhile if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention.

6. Be interactive
Discuss what's happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions.
Start with “Where did we get to last time?” “Can you remember what’s happened so far?” and “What do you think will happen next?

7. Read it again and again
Go ahead and read your child's favourite book for the 100th time!

8. Talk about writing, too
Mention to your child how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.

9. Point out print everywhere
Talk about the written words you see in the world around you. Ask your child to find a new word on each outing. If you are off to the dentist/doctor, take a book to help pass the waiting time.

10. Get to know your local library
Ask the children’s librarian for recommendations, audio books can be great for long trips or when you are preparing dinner. Ask about story time and other activities which are often free and in holiday time. Go to your local library website.

Near Montessori East we have Waverley Library and Woollahra Library

Group reading to young children

School aged children: widen the repertoire 

The best thing parents can do to support their children’s learning in the classroom is reading together according to education researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU).


1. Read to and with your children
Expose them to books they might not yet be able to read on their own. Don’t let them tell you they are never too old to read with you. Not true! Reading to them exposes them to more complex ideas, vocabulary and content that they can talk and think about.

2.  Ask your children questions about what you read with them
-Some of the best questions to ask are questions you do not know the answer to yourself.
-For example, ‘what would you do in that situation?’ or ‘what do you think will happen next?’.
-These questions help children actively engage with the text by encouraging them to think and talk critically about what is being read and to make connections to their own life and the world. This type of discussion is strongly linked to increased comprehension skills.

3. Set a good example
Be a role model of good reading practices for your children. Show them by your own actions, and through discussion that reading can be done for pleasure, as well as to gain knowledge. There is strong evidence that children who are exposed to positive literacy practices at home experience greater success in their own learning journey.

4. Encourage them to read widely
Encourage your children to read a wide variety of texts, some children are much more interested in non-fiction than fiction.

5. Join your local library 
Make library visits a part of your routine.

6. Encourage strategies when tackling unknown words
Rather than just telling your child what an unfamiliar word means, encourage them to try to decode the meaning themselves; prompt them such as “Does it look like any other words you know or any letter patterns you know?” or “ Can you read on and then work out what the word means?” or “Is there anything else on the page that helps you work out the information?”

By doing this you are reminding them of the strategies they have been taught at school and helping them to practice these important skills and to gain confidence.(Source: Edith Cowan University)

two children reading a book together


The Children’s Book of Council of Australia Awards

Aussie Reviews - A book review site 

What Should I Read Next? - If your child likes a certain book, this website recommends other books that might also appeal.

Common Sense Media - This website helps you work out whether a book is age appropriate and usually has a brief synopsis

50 Books Kids Should Read Before They're 12 - This link is an interesting conversation starter for you and your child; which books have they read, enjoyed (or not enjoyed), or which ones would they like to read next?

Good Reads This link is great to explore different categories of books by age. i.e fantasy for 9-12 year olds, best series, best read-aloud chapter books.

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