Five tips for busy parents to encourage children to read and write for pleasure at home

Angela James author 01aWe want the best for our children, but with work and the pressures of time constraints it often means that we have to be more selective about how we achieve this. Take reading and writing for example, they are basic skills that we need to make progress in our lives.  So what can we do to encourage their pleasure for reading and writing at home? One way is to be inventive about how you can double-up on tasks. Here are five tips:

  • A favourite book

Ask them to find a favourite book and read out aloud to you for ten minutes whilst you prepare a family meal. Afterwards, discuss what they have just read. Adapt according to a child’s reading abilities.

  • Baking

At weekends, instead of you baking, get the children baking. Something like cupcakes for tea is quick and easy.  Learning to bake helps to improve their reading, how to follow instructions, and adds to their life skills, with the reward of sharing and eating their goodies with the whole family. Supervise children and always make sure they use the correct heat protection equipment when taking hot items from the oven. During their baking session, you can do other jobs in the same vicinity such as sorting washing for the machine or planning next week’s meals and shopping list.

  • Online library

Your children are enjoying books, but you don’t have time to keep visiting bookshops or the library to find new titles. Instead, use the library online reserve system at a time that suits you. The library will notify you when the books are ready for collection. Make a list of other things you can do on the same journey such as picking up a prescription, dropping the kids off at their friends, collecting newspapers or magazines, or maybe a bit of shopping. Work it to fit your own schedule.

  • The internet

Use the internet to search for ‘children’s literacy’ websites. They will have online activities and games for reading, spelling and writing. It provides a different fun and interactive approach to improving their reading and writing skills and at the same time, frees you up to get on with something else. Inspect any internet site first and make sure your computer settings protect your children.

  • Poetry

Introduce children to short poetic forms such as limericks or Haiku. Set them a challenge of writing one in fifteen minutes. When they are thinking and writing, you can do something else like make the beds, clean the loos, change the cat litter tray, or if you work from home – catch up on a few emails or other e-work.

When you find a few methods that work for you, do them on a regular basis. Soon they will become a normal part of the family routine; your children will continue to read and write for pleasure and you will have achieved it with a minimum impact in your already busy schedule.

Angela Williams Book Cover This article is by Angela James, Children’s Author of ‘The Amshir Legacy’, a magic and adventure story series for ages 9+

For more information about Angela visit her website

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