How to raise an eager reader
Borrow books, magazines and books on CD from local libraries. It is possible to join more than one library in a neighbouring council area if your child is a bookworm.
Make sure your child is borrowing from their school library.
Read to, with and in front of your child. Talk about what you read.
Listen to stories on CD in the car. Try Bolinda or borrow from the local library. Many stories are entertaining for both adults and children. Buy a small CD player for your child's bedroom, a bedside table and a bed lamp!
Buy books for presents. Try second hand bookshops and swapping with friends to minimize the expense. Sometimes shops such as Australia Post, Big W and The Reject Shop have good cheap books. Basement Books at Central Station has books for as little as a dollar.
Limit time spent on TV and computer games and have books available around the house instead.
Try some reading websites with e-books
Check out websites of popular children's authors. Some authors have audio files on their websites e.g. Poetry for kids
Load stories onto ipods and MP3 players.
Buy children's magazines such as K-Zone, Wacky but True, Geo (National Geographic for Children) and Hannah Montana at the newsagents or borrow copies from the library.
Watch movies and read the book e.g. Matilda, Mary Poppins, Fantastic Mr Fox, Lemony Snicket
Always have books with you on the train, in the car, while waiting in banks, doctors surgeries etc.
Read and talk about articles from the newspaper of interest to children.
Ask your child for help with reading (and writing) shopping lists and locating products in the supermarket.
Try popular series with lots of titles. It is likely that your child will read one and want to read all the other titles. E.g. The Floods, Tashi, Zac Power, Captain Underpants, Beast Quest, Goosebumps, Animorphs, Deltora Quest, Un series by Andy Griffiths, Pony Mad Princess, Rainbow Magic, Aussie Nibbles, Aussie Bites, Aussie Chomps, Horrid Henry or Horrible Science.
Ask teachers, librarians and booksellers for recommendations. For example, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is very popular at the moment.
Read other things around the house – TV guides, instructions on packets and catalogues
Read and follow instructions for games, science and craft projects and recipes.
Watch documentaries on TV and DVD together. Watch programs with the captions on.
Take advantage of the $2.50 tickets on public transport on Sundays to take your child on outings around Sydney. The tickets can be used for trains, buses and ferries all day. Children with a good general knowledge and broad experiences are able to comprehend what they read much better. Here are some suggestions:
- Visit the Australian Museum in College Street Sydney. There are great displays of dinsosaurs, Egyptian mummies, skeletons and minerals. There are also fun children's activities.
- A day out walking through the Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera is free.
- Why not go to Circular Quay and jump on a ferry to Manly.
- Pack up lunch and head to the beach to eat it - another free activity.
Suggested reading for parents
Jennings, Paul (2008)
The Reading bug and how to help your child catch it.
Fox, Mem (2006)
Reading magic How your child can learn to read before school - and other read-aloud miracles.
Trelease, Jim (2006)
The Read-Aloud Handbook