Reading for pleasure is so important for children’s vocabulary development, and a great opportunity to escape into the world of the imagination too.
Whether your child is a keen or reluctant reader, use the list below to find an idea (or two!) to inspire your child to keep on reading as they move from primary to secondary school.
1. Random acts of (book) kindness
Some young people are inspired to read more if they know it will be helping others. Reading with younger children can be a great way to develop vocabulary skills, and can boost your child’s self-confidence and communication skills too.
2. 13 before you’re 13
If your child is motivated by targets or prizes, set them a reading-based challenge. Can they read 13 books – in a category of their choice – before they are 13? These could be classic novels, comics, famous books, etc. Decide whether there’s a prize at the end. (check our list of recommendations).
3. Audiobooks and apps
Try audiobooks if your child is a reluctant reader or even just for a change. You can access thousands of audiobooks online or via apps like Hoopla and Audible, and many libraries also offer a free service such as BorrowBox or RBdigital. Try the BBC Sounds app for music, podcasts, and radio shows as an alternative.
4. New books for free
Book review websites such as Toppsta and Lovereading4kids invite children to sign up to become reviewers. Your child can select the books they are interested in reading, and publishers will send a free copy to your home in return for writing a short online review.
5. Book club
Encourage your child to set up a book club with friends and take it in turns to host. Chatterbooks has free downloadable resources to kick-start conversations. (use some of our hive resources too?).
6. Reading for charity
Take part in a Readathon or other sponsored reading event to raise money for good causes and funds for school books. And if your child has caught the fundraising bug, they could organise a book sale of donated books, a book quiz, or a ‘Big Book Off’ challenge, all with reading at the heart of the event.
7. Reading ambassador
Sometimes it takes time to settle at a new school, but a good way to make friends and have something to do during lunchtimes is to help out in the school library or find ways to get involved as a reading ambassador.
8. Creative competitions
There are lots of short, fun writing and book-themed competitions for children, including reviews, short stories, journalism, handwriting, and poetry. Look online for something that will appeal. (link to our creative writing tips).
9. Just 100 words
If your child likes writing stories as well as reading, encourage them to share their work with the 100 words audience. They just have to write five sentences or 100 words, and someone from the team will comment.
10. Stage and screen
If there’s a film adaptation of a novel at your local cinema, or a play by the school drama club or local theatre, see if you can get tickets. Alternatively, watch a film or TV version of a book at home.
These ideas have been adapted from a resource pack created by Oxford University Press in collaboration with Teachit. For more ideas about increasing vocabulary and closing the word gap, visit our Vocabulary page.
More vocabulary and reading support from Oxford Owl
- Blog: Why the word gap matters: what you can do at home to close the word gap.
- Blog: Building a strong vocabulary: teacher tips on how you can help at home.
- Activity sheets: free activities from Oxford Children’s Dictionaries.
- Reading: Age 10–11 (Year 6): information on what your child will learn at school and how you can help them develop their reading skills at home.
- Reading comprehension: how to help your child understand what they’re reading.
- Bookfinder: Oxford Children’s Dictionaries: find an age-appropriate dictionary or thesaurus for your child.
- Bookfinder: Oxford Children’s Fiction: our children’s fiction range has been created to inspire a life-long love of reading.