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  • Writer's pictureZanell Diedricks, Shannon de Winnaar

Help Your Child Develop a Love for Reading from a Young Age

Introducing your child to books, even before they can read at a very early age is incredibly important. Some people do not realise how many vital things children can learn from being read to at a young age. When you read to a child even when they are babies, they are learning components and concepts of print. These concepts of print are:

  • Book handling – holding the book the right way

  • Recognising the front and back of a book

  • Understanding you start at the front cover and finish at the back cover

  • Knowing you turn the pages from right to left

  • Understanding the opening is on the right side of the book

  • The knowledge that words are separated by spaces

  • Recognising letters, numbers and punctuations

If you use your finger to point at the words, the baby or child will learn:

  • How to read the page and words from left to right, top to bottom and line by line

  • Return sweeping – reading from left to right and then sweeping back to the beginning of the text

  • Word to word matching

  • Word to picture matching

Encouraging your child to start reading from a young age has many benefits, but helping your child develop a love for reading will spark a world full of curiosity and imagination. We need to remember three important things when it comes to reading:

  1. It should not be forced.

  2. Children should always have freedom of choice when it comes to selecting books.

  3. Reading should be relaxing, exciting and an escape to another world.

Important areas to focus on to help your child develop reading skills during different phases:


In the beginning stages of reading getting your child to read decodable readers that they can sound out. When your child stumbles on a word, ask them to sound it out and blend it. Use sounds not letter names.

To learn more about letter sounds you can read ‘The Importance of Phonics’


When they are fluent readers asking them to pick books they are interested in, if they find an author or series that excites them taking them to a library or bookstore to get more books Continue to listen to them read!

There are many ways to help your child find books they love:

  1. Allocate time to read as a family; when children are surrounded by books and parents who model how much joy a book can bring them, children will be motivated to continue looking for something they love.

  2. Make your trip to the library exciting. Show your child the different sections at the library and get them to choose various books to read at home. Ask the librarian what activities are happening to get your child more involved in books they love.

  3. Read a book with your child, discuss what they love about the book, how it makes them feel, and if they would like to read something different.

  4. Do not get upset with your child for only reading one type of book, this is probably a phase and will change over time.

  5. Ask your child questions about the book they are reading. By doing this, parents are making sure the child understands the content. Your child will not love something that he or she cannot understand.

  6. Discuss different characters in the book and bring them to life by doing a role-play with your child. Pretend you are the evil villain or try to mimic their favourite character from the book.

After you have read to your child or they have finished reading to you, you can:

PRE-READERS - Ask your child to:

  • Find different pictures on the page.

  • Find letters, numbers or punctuations on the page.

  • Find small words on the page e.g., the, in, is, an. (High-Frequency word recognition can be very helpful in getting your child to be a fluent reader)

  • Retell the story.

FLUENT READERS - Ask your child to:

  • Retell the story in order of the events.

  • Who were the characters and what were their traits?

  • Stop the story before the ending and ask to predict the ending, with reasons why.

  • Any questions that match the story.

  • Any questions that might make them think what the story means, with reasons why.

Reading should be fun! To make this fun for children at home you can create a reading nook your child will love.

Find out more about Razum International School by booking a tour here.

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