There is a lot of pressure on parents to help their children to read. Although some primary schools will not encourage parents to start their children reading until they start school, there will certainly be a lot of expectation once they start school to read with them. You may therefore wonder what sorts of books you should be reading with your children in order to help them the most.
Books from school
If school have sent home books for the children to read then these are the first things that you should be reading with them. You might feel that the books are too easy or hard or that they are too dull. However, school has a good reason for sending those books home. They will know what books are right for the children as it is their job to know this. Therefore make sure that you read the books with them. If you are concerned that the child is struggling or that they are doing really well, so you think the level they are being given is not right then you can discuss this with the teacher. However, chances are that the teacher will be monitoring their progress and feels that they will benefit form that level of book. However explaining your concerns may allow them the opportunity to explain to you why they have allocated that level of book and this will allow you to understand more about their decision.
Books they have an interest in
In order to get children excited about reading it is a good idea to make sure that they read books that they have an interest in. This could mean that they will be reading fiction books by a favourite author or non-fiction on a topic they are interested in. If they are young it may be that you will be reading the books to them, which is a great way to have fun together as well as introducing them to the joy of reading. It can be fun to go with them to the library and let them choose books that they think they will enjoy. This will introduce them to a massive amount of titles and they should be able to understand why reading is such a useful skill to have and that will hopefully encourage them to learn more quickly and not get frustrated when they are learning but actually be enthusiastic.
Books you enjoy and can read to them
Seeing other people enthusiastic about reading is also great encouragement to children with their own reading. Therefore reading to them can be a really good way for them to see that lots of people read and for them to want to copy that behaviour. When you are reading to them you want to have fun as well and enjoy what you are reading. This means that you should read books that you like. Although some material will certainly not be appropriate it is really good to think about what they might like. There might be some children’s books that you enjoyed as a child and would like to share with them, for example. Alternatively you might want to read some children’s book sthat you have never had the opportunity to read before. There may also be things that your children are interested in that you want to read to them about. The books may be too grown up for them, but if you are reading them then you will be able to explain things as you go along.
Anything at all
If you speak to many teachers they say that it does not matter what your child is reading as long as they are reading. All reading is good practice so whether they are reading road names and signs while you are out, the cereal packet at the breakfast table or the names of foods in the supermarket, it is all good practice for them. These are all things that we read as adults and so it is equally important for them to be able to read them as well. It does make sense for you to read the material that school send home, but if this causes problems, perhaps they do not like reading formally like this with you, then reading other things might work better for them. Even if they enjoy books then reading other things can still be great practice for them. It will introduce them to words that they may not come across in books and will allow them to understand that words are everywhere.
You may see lists of books that children should read. This is usually classic books that people for generations have read or modern classics that are popular. Although this can be a good guide as to what books to choose for them it is not something that you should take that much notice of. Think about similar lists of books for adults and how you have probably only read a small selection and may not have even finished or enjoyed all of those. It is so important to read what you enjoy rather than what you feel you have to so that you get a love of reading.
It is worth noting that in households where the adults read children are far more likely to learn to read more easily. Make sure that there are books around and that children understand the importance of reading. Help school to teach them to read using the methods that school use so that they can do it more easily. Buy them books which they will be interested in so that they can have a lot of fun with reading and they will not feel that reading is a chore. Stay patient with them and make time to read with them. Sit with them on your lap and hug them if they find it hard so that they feel safe and secure and enjoy their time with you. Give them books as presents so they see them as a treat and when they are young make sure that you study the pictures in detail as well as the words so it is not all about the hard work of reading but also the joy of enjoying the story.