How to read with your child
Research proves that children who enjoy reading do better at school in all subjects.
Reading together increases literacy skills and does so much more - it helps to build a strong and loving relationship between you. And it's never too early to start reading with your child!
How to read with children of any age
Set aside some time
Find somewhere quiet without any distractions - turn off the TV/radio/computer.
Ask your child to choose a book
Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book.
Sit close together
Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages.
Point to the pictures
If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
Encourage your child to talk about the book
Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling, or how the book makes them feel.
And lastly, above all - make it fun!
It doesn't matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Don't be afraid to use funny voices: children love this!
It's never too early to start reading with your baby
Here are some ways you can try to share stories and rhymes with your child every day.
Sing rhymes and tell stories to your unborn baby
They can hear you from around 18 weeks, and will recognise your voice before they are born.
Ask your health visitor about your free Bookstart Baby and Treasure packs
You will get two free books and lots of good tips and advice to get started.
Join your library as soon as you can
Librarians give great book advice and recommendations. And libraries have more books than you could ever own!
It is important to own books
If you really enjoy a library book, buy it! Mark every birthday or special occasion with the gift of a book.
Below you'll find links to resources that you can use to read with your child. We have videos to show you how to read with children, booklists to get you started, and more!
You can also try out our free online story books, which offer tips as you read.
Reading With Your Child
Sharing a book with a child is fun. It’s a time for closeness, laughing and talking together.
The Reading with your Child booklet for parents can be read here in English and in translation to 26 other languages. Just use the drop-down search options below to find the right version for you...
Choose an age group
- All age groups
Choose a language
Please select an age-group before choosing a language preference.
- All languages
- Chinese Traditional
- Chinese Simplified
Our Bookstart website gives more advice and guidance on reading with your baby or toddler. You can also find out more about the free book packs we give out to start you on your reading journey.
These are former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson's favourite picture books to share.
With so many other activities competing for children’s time, how can you encourage older child to keep reading for pleasure?
Research shows that in most families it's mums who do the majority of reading with children, but we want dads to have the chance to enjoy time reading with their children too.