8 ways to help your child love reading

8 ways to help your child love reading


Reading difficulties can be one of the struggles that children with dyslexia experience. Our guest blogger, Samantha Buttle, Head of Teaching and Learning at Dyslexia Sparks, gives her top tips for parents and carers wanting to support their child with reading for pleasure. Encouraging a love of reading, alongside appropriate support, can boost dyslexic children’s literacy skills as well as their confidence and self-esteem.

See Sam's top tips below:


1. Anything goes

It really doesn’t matter what your child reads – as long as they’re reading something, that’s great!

A child reading under a chair

It's easy for us as parents to get hung up on the idea that reading must mean sitting quietly, ardently pouring over a book. And if that’s what your child likes to do, fantastic. But if not, that’s ok too.

What do they like to read? Are they comic, magazine or graphic novel fans? These are all reading materials that can help develop and strengthen children’s reading skills.

We know that the cost of magazines and comics can soon mount up, so check out your local library as many have a range available to borrow. Or if your child has a particular favourite, how about a magazine subscription for a family birthday gift? Many offer free issues when you take out a subscription.

LEGO Life Magazine offers an entirely free subscription for five- to nine-year-olds. It’s delivered free to your home four times a year. And in this technological age isn’t it so exciting for kids to get something through the post?!

2. Better together

It doesn’t always need to be your child reading out loud to you, how about taking it in turns to read to each other?

Take time to read together, pause and ask each other questions about what is happening in the story. This gives parents a chance to check comprehension as well as fostering a love of stories by taking time to think about and explore: “Oh my goodness! What just happened?!”.

Get your pets in on the action – children can enjoy reading aloud to their furry friends!

3. Den-tastic

Creating a den to read in

Create a cosy area in your home that can be used as your child’s special reading place.

It doesn’t need to cost a lot – make a reading den with old blankets and chairs and give them a torch so they can get stuck in. Or create a cosy reading nook with a few cushions and a blanket in the corner of a room for your child to curl up in with their favourite reading material.

4. Plan the time in

In the hustle and bustle of family life, reading can easily get pushed down the pecking order.

Then it becomes a rush to quickly get it done. If your child struggles with their reading though, feeling rushed can add to the pressure and stress that they connect with reading.

Plan in a set reading time as part of your daily routine – just like you do with mealtimes. Perhaps this could take place in your newly created cosy corner or reading den!

5. Anytime, anywhere

Reading while sitting on a subway

As well as a planned reading time, take advantage of opportunities to encourage your child while you’re going about your day.

Perusing a menu out at lunch perhaps? Reading a recipe while baking on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Reading signs when you’re out and about? Could they take on the important role of quiz master on a family games night? Some children like reading subtitles while watching TV – pop them on while they catch the latest episode from their favourite show or YouTube Kids vlogger.

These are all ways that you child can consolidate their reading skills without even realising they’re doing it.

6. Bring the fun!

As parents, we can inadvertently make reading quite serious – especially when it comes to reading homework which we know needs to be done.

Why not inject a bit of fun back into it? Do silly voices. Take it in turns to see who can do the best silly voice. Or bring the characters to life and have a giggle together recreating favourite scenes. Stories are interesting and fun after all.

7. Listen... and read

Listening to a book counts as reading a book. Yes, really!

I’m a huge fan of audiobooks personally and professionally. Listening to audiobooks helps develop lots of skills such as sentence structure, grammar and widens vocabulary. Many libraries carry a range of audiobooks that you can borrow for free.

8. Age appropriate

A woman reading to children

Make sure the material you’re asking your child to read is accessible for them.

If it’s too difficult for their reading ability, it can easily lead to frustration. If their reading ability is below their actual age though, it doesn’t mean their reading material needs to be. No child is going to want to read a book that doesn’t match their interests – no matter how much it may match their reading ability.

We often recommend Barrington Stoke books to our clients. They’re dyslexia-friendly in many ways –  our favourite is that they create books that match reading ages with content appropriate to the actual ages of their readers. A winning combination!


Thank you to Sam at Dyslexia Sparks for sharing her expert insight. Find out more about Dyslexia Sparks below:

Hull and East Yorkshire’s only registered charity for dyslexia, Dyslexia Sparks, supports individuals to fulfil their potential through diagnostic assessments, specialist tuition and free advice and guidance.

For information on Dyslexia Sparks, visit www.dyslexiasparks.org.uk. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to be kept up to date with their latest news and events including regular free online parent support groups on other useful topics.

The logo for Dyslexia Sparks.
Illustrations © 2019 Maisie Paradise Shearring