How to help your child get more from reading

Reading is beneficial for so many reasons: it entertains us, bringing beauty, fun, poignancy and excitement into our lives; it broadens our vocabulary and enriches our syntax; it helps us see things from different perspectives, taking us to places that we’ve never been and might never go; it teaches us empathy, helping us to imagine living lives other than our own.

 

Books can be a wonderful escape too, and sometimes there’s a temptation, particularly for children, to hurry on from the book they’ve just finished to immersing themselves in the next. But the benefits of a good book don’t stop when you get to the final page.  And while we don’t want to turn everything we read into an academic exercise, it’s worth taking time after finishing a book to ask some questions about it.

 

Here are some you can try with your child:

 

  • Who did you care most about in the book? Why do you think that was? Do you think that was the person the author intended you to care most about?

  • If you could meet a character from the book, which one would it be and why?

  • What do you know about the author? When did they write it and who were they writing for? If it’s an old book, how do you think they might write it differently today?

  • Is it a book you’ll remember? What will you remember most about it and why?

  • Would it make a good film (if it hasn’t already been made into one)? And if not, why not? Do certain kinds of books make better films?

  • Who else do you think would benefit from reading this book?

 

Your child is likely to have done this kind of analysis in their English or literacy lessons at school. But there’s always room for further exploration and sometimes the demands of the school curriculum and the distractions of a large classroom or busy environment make it harder to have those in-depth discussions. These sorts of questions can also be a lovely way of understanding more about how your child sees the world.

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