Encouraging older children to read

As children get older, there's no need to stop enjoying sharing books and reading together.

Research has shown that children who enjoy reading and spend more time reading for pleasure have better reading and writing skills, a broader vocabulary, and an increased general knowledge and understanding of other cultures.

Teenager reading

But with so many other activities competing for children’s time as they get older, how can you continue to encourage your child to read for pleasure?

Here are some tips for promoting reading in your home with older children:

  • Ensure that your children see you reading. It doesn't matter if it's the newspaper, a cookery book, romantic novel, detective mystery, short stories, computer manual, magazine - anything!
  • Encourage children to join in - ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are watching TV.
  • Give books or book tokens as presents (and encourage others to do so!)
  • Visit the local library together on a regular basis, and enjoy spending time choosing new books.
  • Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this, too!
  • Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy. Try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the Harry Potter series, or The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Read books you can all talk about but make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning.
  • Go to libraries or bookshops when authors are visiting. Children and teenagers love meeting their favourite writers - Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that are miles long!
  • Make sure your home is a reading home - have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children's bedrooms as well.
  • Don't panic if your child reads the same book over and over again - let's be honest, we've probably all done it!
  • Encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other. This will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading.

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