How to encourage a love of reading in primary school children

Encouraging a love of reading at a young age is so important, and a big responsibility for parents and teachers alike.


But how can we encourage a love of reading in primary school? Especially in instances where there may be barriers, such as dyslexia, or lack of parental interest?


Here at Gold Education Recruitment we have put together our top tips for encouraging a love of reading for primary school children.


Not all children like the same books

As we all know, no two children are the same. If a child seems uninterested in the books that are being read in class, this may not mean that they are uninterest in reading; more that we haven’t found their go-to book.


For those with conditions that make reading more difficult, such as dyslexia, books with less words and more pictures may ignite their love of reading; or comic-based books can often be a good resolution to those that find continuous prose difficult or maintaining attention.


Some great options are the Cat Kid and Dog Man books series by Dav Pilkey.


You can also show the fun side of reading for those that don’t find the activity naturally fun or easy. By including reading in your daily class timetable, creating reading diaries.


World Book Day has some great resources on ideal books and way to encourage reading. You can find out more here.



Book Clubs

For those that find reading too solitary, bringing a social element into reading can really help to show the advantages beyond individual development. Starting a book club in your school can show that reading can be more than an individual activity. It can also help those that love reading put into practice the multiple language benefits, by discussing books, themes and genres.


You can also use book clubs to bring out other passions and interests, such as using book themes to pick books that tackle a range of topics, or bringing in additional activities such as designing alternative book covers, acting out sections of a book or creating bookmarks and/or film trailers.


If book clubs aren’t possible, consider reading buddies as a great way of bringing friendship and social benefits to reading.



Use themes for in-class reading

For those that have yet to find their love of reading, linking books to favourite themes or topics can be the way children discover their love of reading. If they realise, they can find out more about the things they love, by reading about them, the skill of reading becomes all the more interesting and important.


Great examples for themes are:


Modes of transport

From trains to walking in the woods, there are so many books that can show children the mass of information they can find out if they read)


National dates

From Halloween to Christmas, Chinese New Year to Roald Dahl Day; there are lots of dates across a year that can tie into book choices and reading themes.


Sport

Sport themes can coincide with major sporting events, or general sporting interests that you discover your class/ children enjoy.


Around the World

Books that showcase differing cultures, countries where children and their families originate from, or books about different countries, can ignite imaginations and educate at the same time.


Author Visits and Workshops

It can be so exciting for children to meet book authors and writers. They are not only inspired by to read but can also be opened up to the prospect of writing as a career.


Poet Tomfoolery, Tomos Roberts, offers free school workshops, where he helps ignite not just a love of poetry and writing, but also a love of reading. For those who struggle to find a love for reading based on not finding a genre that piques their interest, introducing poetry can be a great way of igniting that love in primary years.

You can find out more about Tom’s school workshops here.


It’s also important to consider representation and role models when looking at the range of visits and workshops available. If budgets are tight, consider asking key workers to come and read with children; from police officers to doctors, and more. Research shows that boys are more likely to find reading difficult to engage with, so consider including male-led workshops and visits to show the boys of your school, that any gender can love reading (and be good at it!)


Book Fairs

School books fairs are a great way to not only encourage reading, but also raise funds for your school. You can bring in independent sellers which will give your school additional books and/or income based on sales, or host swap stalls and second-hand book sale stalls.

Regardless of how your school chooses to host them, book fairs can bring your school together, demonstrate your interest in childhood reading to parents, and make finding the right books fun and engaging.


It’s a whole-school thing

When reading becomes part of the whole school’s mantra and mission, it encourages the love of it even more. It should never be down to one teacher to demonstrate the wonders of reading; but should be a whole-school initiative.


From showcasing photos of staff holding their favourite books, to having reading-related resources on school websites and in newsletters; schools can show their feelings about the importance of reading in many ways. Having a well-resourced library also helps to showcase the importance put onto reading and literacy skills.


How do you encourage reading in your school?

Do you have any top tips you would add to the list?

Let us know.


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