Once your child has a strong, daily reading habit in place you can relax. Children who read for enjoyment and have a regular routine in place will continue to improve and extend their learning without any further input from anyone. It’s just one of those essential and wonderful things.

And the problem is, it can’t be faked. Children who don’t have a regular reading habit just haven’t the tools at their disposal to do as well as their peers – either in class – or in tests (which do have a habit of focusing on comprehension and writing skills).

The aim of this post is to encourage your child to read for pure enjoyment. Focus on the entertainment side of it, and your child will be able to sustain the habit for life.

Step one

Have an honest chat with your child about reading and books in general. Accept their opinions, listen closely to why they avoid reading regularly and help your child to understand that choosing a reading book has to be a very personal decision if it is going to be the right one every time. There are millions of books out there to choose from.

Take your child to a book shop and be prepared to spend a long time in there. Picking up books, talking about books, suggesting your ideas and being knocked back by your child. Relax about font-size and encourage your child to look at all sections no matter what age the books might have been written for. Encourage easy reads and fun, or non-fiction, or graphic novels. Don’t worry one bit about your perception of each book’s reading level, allow your child to choose freely.

If you can’t get to a book shop – CLICK HERE instead. It is a link to a brilliant site called Lovereading4schools. Sign up, it’s completely free, and click on your child’s school year group. Click up or down a year or two if you don’t feel your child is at that level but don’t try to push him or her into reading books they are not ready for yet. You will spoil the fun.

The joy of the Lovereading4schools site is that you can click on every single book and read the first chapter online. Teach your child to choose from the blurb summary first and then read the first couple of paragraphs of a handful of books until one takes their interest.

Step two

If you can afford it, buy the cheapest kindle or e-reader of any brand. Don’t be tempted by a Kindle Fire or anything with free access to the internet, or your child may use it for online gaming and the true purpose will be blurred.

CLICK HERE for the basic touch screen Kindle

For children, books can seem old-fashioned, alien and dated. But reading hasn’t died, if anything it is more popular than ever, and e-readers are the future. Children are generally very comfortable with touch screen technology and happier reading on a screen.

The biggest advantage of an e-reader (apart from the fact that font-size can be set by your child, and word-definitions are a simple click-through) is it allows a continuous reading programme. When a book is finished, a new one can be instantly downloaded. Your child doesn’t have to remember to swap it, or find time to go to the school library. Whole days can be wasted this way! Instead you can click back on Lovereading4schools and pick another one straight away.

Step three

Keep talking about reading in a positive and lighthearted way. Put in place a daily evening slot – even on weekends with younger children – of at least 15 minutes at bedtime before turning the light out. If you find teenagers have a more erratic evening schedule, then encourage a timed reading slot on the sofa the moment they get home from school instead.

Instead of letting the focus slide, take responsibility for keeping the habit in place over the first few weeks and months. Tackle challenges and lack of interest head on, and offer solutions. Chat about books and have a giggle about them. Make sure any book that isn’t interesting is dropped really quickly, there are so many more out there. Once the habit is in place, you can begin to discuss varying the material – but don’t try this too soon, or you will risk taking away the fun and making reading a chore again.

Our favourite links again:

CLICK HERE for the basic touch screen Kindle

Lovereading4schools.co.uk

Children’s books at amazon.co.uk and do have a look at the ‘What other people bought who bought this’ section underneath any book that you click on, for ideas.