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.

Family reading together

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.

Grandparent and baby reading

  • 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 pack and your local library about your free Bookstart Treasure pack.
    You will get 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's 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.

More information

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.

Alison David, research director at Egmont, has also written a parent's guide on how to Help Your Child Love Reading.

Sharing a book with a child is fun. It's a time for closeness, laughing and talking together. To help, you can find our Reading With Your Child booklet below - click here to go straight to the English version or use the listings below to find it in 26 other languages.  

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