Our aim at Parrot Street Book Club is to get children thinking about and enjoying good books, not testing them on their reading skills. With so many digital distractions competing for their time and attention, how do we inspire them to choose and engage with a good book? Here are five top tips that we believe will help you and your child celebrate the fun in fiction:
1. Make it part of family life
We know that lots of you are booklovers and probably read regularly – but do your kids see you reading? They are much more likely to want to do something if they see you doing it and enjoying it. Make sure you have lots of books in the house and that they see you reading and enjoying a good book as often as you can manage.
2. Your child is never too old to be read to
We all read out loud with our four year-olds. But why don’t we read with our fourteen year-olds? We firmly believe that reading is a social activity and something we can all enjoy as a family, and that your child will get just as much out of having a book read to them as they will reading it by themselves, whatever their age. Maybe you could take it in turns to read a page or a chapter out loud to each other. Try to have a book on the go together all the time, even if you don’t manage to read it every day. And don’t forget to take it with you to the dentist/optician/sibling’s swimming lesson/anywhere you’re going to have 10 minutes to kill. Keep reading on the go!
3. Talk about what you’re reading
As keen bookclubbers ourselves, we know how much pleasure we get from talking about the books we read. Our activity packs include book club-style questions that are designed to prompt thought and discussion about how the books we’re reading make us feel and how they relate to our own lives. There are no rules and no right or wrong answers. Why not start your own family book club, or encourage your children to start a book club with their friends?
4. All reading is good
The debate about good books v. bad books is complex and will be the subject of a future blog post, but in short we believe that any book that gets a child reading is a good thing. So-called ‘bad books’ can provide an accessible gateway for reluctant readers, giving them the confidence they need to develop a regular reading routine. Encourage your child to choose books for themselves, or to find inspiration from their friends or the magazines they read, as well as making your own suggestions.
5. Plan activities inspired by the books you’re reading
A great way to engage your child more deeply and constructively with the books they’re reading is to plan activities that relate to them. You could organise craft or cooking activities at home, inspired by something they’ve read. But why stop there? You could also plan trips and activities that take you out and about that will help bring the stories they’ve read alive. Find out what they’re reading about and ask them for ideas. It’s a great way of helping your child connect the stories they’re reading with their own experiences. We’ll have ideas for specific activities and trips in future blog posts – and of course our activity packs contain a host of great ideas related to the books we send each month.
Find out more about how a Parrot Street Book Club subscription can inspire a life-long love of reading in your family at www.parrotstreet.com.