Children and reading

Keen readers are good readers. The best way to help your child become a good reader is to encourage them to love books. Take your kids to the library. See our libraries' opening hours (PDF, 255KB, 1 page).

Tips on how to encourage you child to read:

  • Read aloud to your child. Learning to read is hard work, and the books that new readers are able to read by themselves limit vocabulary to aid in learning. It's important that they still have books read aloud to them because what you read will introduce them to new and more complex words. It also reminds them that books can still be fun. Children are more likely to persist with the hard work of learning to read if they can see that the end result is worth it.
  • Let your child choose their own books. Research has shown that children are more likely to finish a book if they have chosen it themselves. Just like adults, children sometimes want to reread an old favourite, or stick with a favourite author, or relax with a book that is 'too easy.' And like adults, kids just 'can't get into' a book, and may not want to finish it. Forcing them to finish it will only turn reading into an unpleasant chore. All libraries sort their children's book by broad age group, to help you direct your child to a range of books that are likely to be suitable for them.
  • Value your child's reading, no matter what it is. Reading doesn't just mean story books. Some children prefer nonfictional information books about subjects they're interested in. Magazines, comics, websites and computer game manuals are all reading too.
  • Let your child see you reading. Children follow your example, so if your child has never seen you enjoying books, they are less likely to believe you when you tell them that reading is worthwhile.
  • Enrol your child in the Summer Reading Challenge, held in all libraries during the summer holidays. Every year, we get comments from island parents saying that the summer reading challenge made their reluctant reader enthusiastic about books.

Websites about books

  • Reading Matters has book reviews written by children and teenagers
  • Booktrust has lots of book-related activities, along with reviews, hints and tips, booklists, and a book finder
  • LoveReading4Kids has loads of book suggestions and booklists for all ages
  • The Guardian Children's books webpage has reviews and recommendations
  • Words for Life has lots of information for parents on how to help children love books and develop their literacy and communication skills