'No wrong book' - how to get your child genuinely loving reading

Published on: 03 November 2016 Author: Kate Hancock

Children don't always gravitate towards the books you think they 'should' be reading - and that's OK, says mum Kate Hancock.

Fiona Lumbers illustration

Lego scattered around for people with bare feet to tread on. Leaving the little wrappers in a box of After Eight mints. Fruit on pizza.

There are lots of things that could be considered 'wrong'. But what about a child's book choice?

With so much testing and targets around reading, it can be easy to think that the books your child (or you!) are reading aren't the 'right' ones.

But, outside of age-appropriateness, there really is no 'wrong' book.

Benefits of reading

Reading for pleasure has many benefits for us all, whatever our age - including emotional wellbeing and improved communication, vocabulary, concentration and imaginative thinking.

It is something that can be easy to encourage, even if you feel a bit stuck in a reading rut.

Fiction, non-fiction, picture books, activity books, graphic novels, cookbooks, comics, magazines, game guides and many others can all play an important part in developing a love of reading.

Picking the next book

If you or the children in your life are feeling a little confined by the books you feel 'expected' to read, or are looking for some inspiration on what to read next, here are a few handy tips and ideas to help you:

  • Next time you are in the library or bookshop, chose each other's books. This can be useful if you feel your child reads the same sort of thing over and over. Just remember to select something you think they will really enjoy - and be open-minded about the book they've picked for you!
  • Don't forget picture books. It's a common mistake to think that picture books are only for young children, but they can be enjoyed by all ages. Picture books are a fantastic way of sharing a book together, and often have lots to look at and discuss in both the illustrations and text. If you haven't looked at picture books in a while, then give them a go - they can be a great way to try something different.
  • Don't worry too much about age. Let your child chose the book they want to read. If you have concerns about the subject matter or content of a book, then ask your librarian or bookseller (or read some online reviews) to learn more about it. If you are still a little worried, you could even read it yourself first. You may discover a new favourite author!

'Right' books for us

Kate Hancock's book recommendations

To help you get started on finding your next read, here are a few of my favourite books of 2016 so far:

  • Oi Dog! (Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field) - Fantastic follow-up to the hilarious Oi Frog! This brilliant picture book has lots of scope for creating your own funny rhymes. There are also amazing illustrations that will have everyone laughing.
  • Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea (Morag Hood) - Deceptively simple picture book with lovely artwork that will appeal to very young children. It is also a brilliant book to discuss, explore and celebrate differences with older kids.
  • The War Next Door (Phil Earle) - Fabulously funny and touching book from former BookTrust Writer-in-Residence. The riotous illustrations help bring this brilliant series alive.
  • The Many Worlds of Albie Bright (Christopher Edge) - Fascinating, moving and hugely enjoyable story that explores physics and science in a new and imaginative way. A perfect read for anyone after something a bit different.

Whatever your next read, do remember that there is no such thing as a 'wrong' book.

However, if you are enjoying After Eights while you read, then please don't leave the wrappers in the box!

Tips and advice

Get useful tips and advice about how to read as a family, setting up a great bedtime routine, and how to encourage reading in your school.

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