5 top tips from SF Said on making every child a reader

Published on: 13 August 2023

Our Writer in Residence SF Said shares five top tips for making every child a reader

Read the transcript below:

Hello, my name is SF Said and I am the author of the Varjak Paw books and Tyger and I'm the current BookTrust Writer in Residence. The theme of my residency is every child can be a reader and I have been talking to brilliant, inspirational teachers and librarians. I've been talking to them about how we can help every child to become a reader. And today, I just want to share with you five top tips that I have learned in the course of these conversations. Five things that I think might really help you to help all kids to read for pleasure. And this is so important reading for pleasure. We know has the biggest positive impact of any factor on children's life chances. So there is nothing more important. Here we go with five top tips.

1. Create a buzz around books

Make books central to everything you do. Make reading central to everything you do.

2. Be a reader yourself

Let kids always see you reading. Read all sorts of stuff. Read children's books so you can talk with children about what they are reading. But whatever you read, talk to them about what you're reading. Share your passion. Share your love for books and reading. They will catch on.

3. Have a library

Have a library and a librarian. Take kids to libraries. Give them the biggest possible, widest possible range of books to choose from. Choice is absolutely crucial to becoming a reader. We all need free choice in what we read, and children are no different to us. So let them choose, give them guidance. Expert guidance from librarians whose whole mission in life is to help kids find the right book at the right time.

4. Read aloud to children every single day

This is so powerful. I would describe it as a kind of magic. When you read aloud to kids, even if it's just for 10 minutes a day, it can change their lives forever. It's one of the most powerful ways of helping kids fall in love with books and reading.

5. Make time for children to read for pleasure themselves every single day

When I say read for pleasure, I really do mean that. There should be no strings attached to reading for pleasure. It should just be for fun. If there's a fun test afterwards, that's not fun. No test is fun. Reading for pleasure is just reading for pleasure. 

Never dismiss their choice. Let them read whatever they like. Comics, graphic novels, manga, nonfiction, sports reports. Whatever they find exciting. Let them read that and enjoy it. Then you will very quickly find they begin to recommend reading matter to their friends, and you begin to build a real culture of reading for pleasure. It is so powerful. It is so important. I hope you find these five top tips helpful.

Happy reading.

Read more of SF Said's blogs

Read SF Said's interview with librarians

Read SF Said's interview with teachers


Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 16 titles.

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