Getting started with reading – Our top tips!

As a teacher I’m always telling parents one of the most important things you can do to help your child at school is to read with them regularly.  Reading with your child doesn’t necessarily mean sitting down every night to hear them read their school book, it can also mean reading them a bedtime story, playing a word game, looking for print in the environment . . .

As a parent I know it can be hard to find the time, or motivation, to sit down and make your child read the same school book every day when they’re tired and really not very interested.  Ben is now into his second year of full time school it is a real pleasure to watch him learning to read for himself however he can’t always be bothered to sit and read his books to me.

So here’s our top tips for reading with your little one:

1. Don’t force it

There’s no point reading with them if they’re not in the mood.  Choose the right time to do it – when they’re desperate to do something else is not going to be the one. Straight home from school isn’t always ideal either as they’ve just spent all day learning and need a break.  You know your child and your own routines best.  Find a time when you can both concentrate on doing a good job otherwise you’re just going to waste your time and put them off for next time.

2. Make it seem like a treat not a chore

It’s all about how you sell it.  “Right Ben we’ve got to get this reading done” versus “Ooh Ben you’ve got a new reading book, shall we have a look at it together” . . .  We always do his reading cuddled up on the sofa together and I use it as an opportunity to give him a bit of fuss and make sure I’m really focused on what he’s doing rather than half listening while I’m doing something else.

3. Play games

There’s loads of games out there to help with reading, particularly with learning high frequency or “tricky” words. (Have a look at the parent section on Twinkl as a good starting point for ideas)  We have a number of phonics games or flash cards – a particular favourite is Orchard Toys – Alphabet Lotto which Ben got for his birthday.

4. Read a bedtime story – every night

Every time you sit down together to share that bedtime story you are helping your child with their own reading. You’re modelling what a good reader looks like – setting them the right example and teaching them valuable book skills.

5. Don’t just read books

Read things when you’re out and about, for example notice car registration plates What sound does that letter make? Can you think of a word that starts with that sound?” Read signs and talk about what they mean.  Ben is often trying to read words on vans or road signs when we’re in the car – it keeps him occupied!

Basically just do it.  Just do it and enjoy it.


  1. September 16, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    We love reading! I always read LP bedtime stories but both her and Little Man will often get a book out during the day too. It's so important. PS, I didn't realise you were a teacher! x

    • September 17, 2014 / 12:08 pm

      Really?! Quite proud that you didn't know that lol.

  2. September 16, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    Fantastic tips Colette! We have such a huge selection of books for our baby already and can't wait to start reading more of them as he gets older. And you're right, it's not just about reading books. My dad and I would read the cereal box every morning before school lol

    • September 17, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      Top marks to your Dad 🙂 It's just so important to realise that reading isn't just books – print is everywhere! x

  3. Karen Monkeyfooted Mummy
    September 19, 2014 / 7:45 pm

    This is just what I needed to read , we are just heading into independant reading and my boy has little interest, although he loves his bedtime stories

    • September 22, 2014 / 9:44 pm

      It has taken Ben about a year to be really bothered about reading to me – don't push things. We just focused on recognising letters on number plates and so forth for ages 🙂 x

  4. katefever
    October 24, 2014 / 8:41 am

    Great tips. We always have a bedtime story, no matter what. It's a lovely time of day, and it has definitely helped my children to have an interest in reading and books from a very early age. #TheList

  5. October 24, 2014 / 8:05 am

    Fab post, my kids love story time and now my eldest is learning to read we're doing the same, making it more fun than ever, printing out words he likes, playing word and number games, going to the library and making it part of every day like drawing his name in the sand recently! Lovely post. #thlist

  6. October 24, 2014 / 10:45 am

    I love reading and want my little two to love it tok as my oldest has no interest at all now she is older she would rather watch videos of people making loom bands all day long . So these are some great tips xx #TheList

  7. Mum Reinvented
    October 24, 2014 / 6:14 pm

    Great tips. My two have always loved reading and happily sit and entertain themselves with books for hours. I can't wait to start making more out of my little ones books now he's approaching pre school age.

  8. October 26, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    Really great tips hun! We love reading to Baby it is so rewarding and you feel really bonded. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

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