A lovely quote from Mem Fox (author) underpins all the following ideas: “When I say to a parent, ‘read to a child’, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.”
A few ideas are below:
Choose interactive books for very young children, books that require children’s involvement: lift the flap type books, multisensory books etc.
Talk about the physicality of books to encourage respectful book handling behaviour: spine, front cover, back cover. Talk about the creation: author, illustrator, publisher…
Make, or buy bookmarks to prompt a child into marking their favourite (interesting, scary, happy…) part of the story.
Choose books based on children’s interests.
Read favourite books again and again: my parents still have a very worn out copy of a favourite childhood book of mine: A Big Ball of String: Marion Holland.
Use books, rather than simply providing your child with the answer to any questions they might ask; your child will come to see books as an information source.
After visiting attractions, have some books available so children can extend the visit.
Talk about the front cover of the book and try to get your child to predict what the book will be about.
Choose a special place to read, or certain time like before bedtime. In order to make this time more fruitful, turn off mobile phones and other technology. Doing so will send the message to your child that “reading together” is a special time where they receive one-to-one attention.
Have some books handy in the car (train/bus) for your child to take with them; similarly, buy (or make) your child a book bag to take to a friend’s house restaurants etc.
Create a list of favourite authors and visit their websites-or even better- take your child to a book signing.
Explore the same books in different mediums, board, paperback, hardcover, BIG book, online and books that have been made into feature films: Alice in Wonderland, The Snowman (a perfect winter treat) by Raymond Briggs etc…
When birthdays come around invite your child to choose a book to give as a present.