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Empowering Reluctant Readers to Discover the Joy of Books - Fostering A Love for Reading from an Early Age

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Many studies have explored the effects of promoting early engagement with books on children's development and their interest in reading.

Introducing children to books, even before they can talk, can have momentous benefits:

  • Nurtures empathy and comprehension.

  • Cultivates critical thinking skills.

  • Improves language skills.

  • Boosts cognitive development.

  • Stimulates imaginative thinking.

  • Encourages lifelong learning habits.

  • Less likely to struggle with reading and literacy as they progress through school.

  • Learning initial sounds, decoding, and sounding out words will come much easier.

Not to mention:

·       Children are far more likely to develop an interest in reading.

‘Once the imaginative spark has been ignited, many young readers will thrive on the excitement of their next literary adventure.’

Pauline Tait

Board books are a child’s first venture into literacy. Often, without words, children are taken through an adventure of illustration, colour, touch & feel, sounds, and excitement.

Plastic books for bathtime and board books, often chewed on by teething children, mark the start of a child’s literacy journey.

Progressing to books with a few words, whether it’s letter from the alphabet, cars, flowers… it doesn’t matter. Sounding these words out to your toddler is putting them on the first rung of their literacy and linguistic ladder.

As you sound out, you are blending and introducing your little one to the educational journey they will embark on when starting nursery and school.

Picture books come next, and after years working in primary literacy, they are my passion. As a result, I have written several articles on The Power of the Picture Book and why they can be essential in encouraging reluctant readers

Instilling a love of board books, followed by picture books will most often result in a natural progression to chapter books. Once the imaginative spark has been ignited, many young readers will thrive on the excitement of their next literary adventure.

Call to Action

This week’s call to action will vary greatly on the age of your reluctant reader.

But, if you have to take a short-term step back into picture books, it might just be the push your reluctant reader needed to ignite a love of reading or being read to. After a few weeks you could try encouraging your reluctant reader towards chapter books, but with an achievable goal. A few pages or a chapter. Decide up front, and let your reluctant reader know so they can relax into the story. And discuss stir excitement around the characters and probable outcomes.

Picture books fall into the 3 to 8 years genre, a broad audience, indeed. But they are segmented, authors write specifically to 3 to 5 years or 5 to 8 years, making the task of choosing picture books to suit your reluctant reader that bit easier.

I would also recommend reading my attached article on The Power of the Picture Book, where I have explained the benefits in more detail.

I wrote The Fairy in the Kettle trilogy with reluctant readers in mind. Although the word count pushes the upper limit for a picture book, this was deliberate.

Alongside being read aloud to younger children, my aim was also to captivate older readers with lower attention spans or literacy skills. Or where English wasn’t their first language.

The covers are designed to be tactile, to appeal to children with Autism, ADHD, or who simply enjoy fidgeting while reading or being read to.

Great care was also given to the internal layout, including the placement of text and illustrations, as well as the choice of font and font colour. I was fortunate to have input into the internal layout during the publishing process, allowing me to transfer the skills and knowledge gained from working in primary literacy onto the pages of my books.

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