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Top Tips on Sharing Books


• Sing rhymes and tell stories to your unborn baby. They can hear you from around 18 weeks and will recognise and love your voice even before they are born.

• Join your library as soon as you can – your child is going to enjoy thousands of brilliant, exciting and amazing books and you simply won’t be able to buy them all – so take full advantage of our wonderful, wonderful libraries.

• It is important to own books – if you really enjoy a library book, buy it! Mark every birthday, Christmas and other special occasions with the gift of a book or book token.

• Try and share stories and rhymes every day.

• Set aside some time.

• Find somewhere quite without any distractions – turn off the TV/radio/computer.

• Ask your child to choose a book – sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matter sand they are more likely to engage with the book.

• Sit close together – encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages

• Point to the pictures if there are illustrations and relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.

• Encourage your child to talk about the book – talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel.

• Don’t be afraid to use funny voices – children love this


• And lastly and above all – make it fun! It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together.

Older children

Here are some tips for encouraging reading in your home with older children:

• Ensure that your children see you reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a cookery book, a romantic novel, a detective mystery, short stories, a computer manual, a magazine ….. anything!

• Encourage children to join in – ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are watching TV

• Give, and encourage others to give, books or book tokens as presents

• Visit the local library together on a regular basis and enjoy spending time choosing new books

• Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this too!

• Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy. Try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the Harry Potter series, or the Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Read books you can all talk about but make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning.

• Go to libraries or bookshops when authors are visiting. Children and teenagers love meeting their favourite writers – Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that re miles long!

• Make sure your home is a reading home – have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children’s bedrooms as well.

• Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again – be honest, we’ve probably all done it!

• Encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other – this will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading.