Earlier this year my son started school and with that we’ve been introduced to the daily ‘reader’. If you’re the parent of a school aged child you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Every night your child brings home a book from school that they are required to read. You sign it off in their little reader diary, with a comment and count of how many nights of reading they’ve completed. For many parents, the nightly reader can be torture; even though it is so important it can sometime seem like it’s just one extra thing you need to get done in the day, am I right? You might be lucky and have a child who delights in reading and is happy to sit down every night and do their reader. Or, like the vast majority, you might have a child who can’t sit still for more than 30 secs, is tired and grumpy after a long day at school or just isn’t interested…..and then the reader can turn into a daily battle. But it really doesn’t need to be like that. Here are some tips for encouraging your child to read:

  • Read about things they are interested in.

Even though my son brings home a particular book from school every day it might not necessarily be the book we end up reading….or it might not even be a book at all; we also read magazines and comic books. Let your child choose what they would like to read, and if that’s the shopping list then that’s ok! Think about it, would you be eager to read something that you have no interest in whatsoever?

  • Make it part of the nightly routine.

Take some time to observe your child and figure out what time of the afternoon/night is going to be best for them to read. For some children, that might mean reading as soon as they get home from school, then it’s done. For others, like my son, they might need that time to wind down after school, have a snack and just chill out. So we like to read just before bed. It doesn’t matter when you do it but having it as a consistent part of your nightly routine will mean that eventually, it will just become an automatic part of the day that your child will come to expect and accept.

  • Play games.

Make reading fun! Create or buy some cards with key words that your child is currently learning. Play games like snap, memory and match ups. One game my son loves is when I hide the cards around the house and he has to go and find whatever word I tell him to (also a great distraction when you’re trying to cook dinner!) Learning to read doesn’t have to mean sitting and reading a book; you can help your child learn to recognise words in a wide variety of fun and engaging ways.

  • Don’t force it.

At the end of the day, if you’re child really isn’t in to it and flatly refuses to do their nightly reader then my advice is to not push it. There might be some days here and there when it’s just not going to happen and that’s ok. Maybe read them a bed time story instead. Also talk to your child’s teacher; they are a wealth of information and might be able to give you some tips and resources to try.

How do you manage the nightly reader battle?

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Parenting strong