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Five Ways to Get Your Kids Interested in Reading

Southend on Sea’s award-winning Children’s Library © Andy Spain www.asvisual.com

With World Book Day on the horizon and parents around the country scrambling to put together costumes for the kids, we’re all thinking about the books that we love. It’s a great way to get kids to be creative and learn about new books from their friends, but what do we do for the rest of the year when books just aren’t as engaging to kids as gadgets or screens? Although the girls both love a bit of screen time, they’re also complete bookworms and love reading, so I thought I’d share with you five tips on how to get kids interested in reading:

Give Them Freedom

There’s a tendency with a lot of parents to try to get their kids to focus on “real” books, steering them towards novels which they feel their kids should be reading. However, we’ve found that giving kids freedom over what they read is a much better way to get them to read. Whether it’s a comic, magazine, joke book, even a recipe book – if they find it engaging, it’s ALL reading! Their tastes will likely change over time, but removing the pressure can have a profound effect. Happy Beds have released a new World Book Day campaign, which looks at the UK’s best bedtime books. This is a great list and hopefully your children will love the thought of reading some of these!

Read With Them

While some kids find snuggling down in a corner with a book a pleasant experience, some kids find it isolating, which in turn discourages them. Ask if you can read to them, or let them read to you, and make it something fun that you can do together. You can even sit together and read your own books to yourselves, but a sense of closeness and companionship can really help.

Make it Fun

There’s are SO many ways to make reading fun. Pick a corner of the room and make it your reading nook, get some blankets and torches and make yourselves a reading den, pick a character each and do your own voices for them! Kids will engage with a book in a much bigger way if they feel that what they’re reading is fun and exciting.

Visit a Library

Library use is way down in recent years and far fewer parents take their kids to the library than ever before, which is such a shame. Check your library for fun events, as they often have things running in the holidays. Also, when you go to the library, don’t just check your books out and leave – many libraries have comfy little spots where you can sit and read while you’re there, which will maximise the value of your visit and give your kids a sense that going to the library is an event in itself.

Be Topical

Kids often like books when they have context to their lives. If they’ve watched a film about space, find a book on the same subject so they can learn more. If they’re currently mad about dinosaurs or cooking or a sport, encourage them to read about the subject as this will help improve their knowledge and vocabulary.

Do you have any tips for getting kids to become book-lovers or fun ideas for how to celebrate World Book Day? I’d love to hear them, so please do leave me a comment below.

World Book Day

Here in the Mum’s the Word household, we’re HUGE fans of reading. Husband has just finished the mammoth task of working his way through the A Song of Ice and Fire series (and is waiting with baited breath for Mr. Martin to publish the next in the series) and I’m currently doing a bit of light-entertainment with a John Grisham novel, a go-to of mine when I just want a book to pass the time. Of course, Sausage is getting on on the act these days too, with her reading coming on leaps and bounds in the last year. She’s a lover of all things Dr. Seuss, amongst other things, and just recently bought her new sister a plush tiger from The Tiger Who Came to Tea, hopefully kicking off a love of books in the newest member of the family.

Fancy Dress Ball recently conducted a survey to see which children’s books and authors were the most popular and the results were much as I’d expected:

Top 3 Favourite Fictional Characters 

Harry Potter (15%)

Gruffalo (2.9%)

Winnie The Pooh (2.8%)

Top 3 Favourite Fictional Authors
JK Rowling (12.5%)

Enid Blyton (7.5%)

Roald Dahl (7.4%)

I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books myself and I can’t WAIT until Sausage is old enough for me to read them to her. I’m sure she’d like them now, but I reckon she’s got a couple of years before she can really, truly comprehend and appreciate the series fully, so I want to wait until that optimum time! She’s already a fan of Roald Dahl, with The Twits being her all-time favourite, but George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda all feature highly on her list of beloved books.

Unfortunately, Sausage’s school aren’t doing a World Book Day dress up this year, otherwise I reckon constructing a Mrs. Twit costume would have been super fun! twitsFrom Wikipedia “Mrs. Twit is the hideously unattractive, menacing wife of Mr. Twit, whose formerly pretty countenance was erased as a result of constant horrible thoughts over time. She takes advantage of her glass eye to play practical jokes in revenge against her husband, and demonstrates multiple acts of cruelty and viciousness throughout the story; it has been mentioned that the main reason behind her use of a walking cane was as a weapon against innocent children and animals, she participates in the torment of the couple’s pet monkeys the Muggle-Wumps, and serves Mr. Twit a lunch of earthworms disguised as spaghetti. Albeit she also frequently demonstrates acts of stupidity, she has also exhibited intelligence; she managed to manoeuvre her way out of a prank that ended with her being carried off into the sky with balloons by chewing through several of them and landing safely on the ground. However, aside from this, she is portrayed as being hideous and unhygienic.”

Creating a costume for Mrs. Twit sounds like it would be a lot of fun! I’d find a dress in a local charity shop and add as many grim stains as I can, give Sausage a walking stick, back-comb her hair so it looks super untidy, and possibly even accessorise with a few stuffed monkeys and balloons tied to her arms!

Who would you choose to dress up as for World Book Day, and how would you achieve the look? Let me know!