Sharing books with 8-11 year olds

Advice for parents and carers on how to help your child develop a lifelong love of reading

Child sat reading a book, surrounded by book shelves

Parents and carers often ask us how they can encourage their child to read more. Whether your child is a keen or reluctant reader, the key is not to force the issue too much. Make sure that reading is seen as an enjoyable, relaxing activity: this is the first step in encouraging any young reader.

If they don’t want to read, find out why

This will help you decide what approach to take. If they’re a confident reader, then it’s possible that they just haven’t found any books that have appealed to them recently. If they’re lacking in confidence, they might need some quick reads to boost their reading self-esteem. Children who aren’t confident readers might sometimes not want to admit this, but a quick check with their teacher can give you a clear picture of how they’re getting on as readers.

Look for books based on movies and computer games

If you’ve been caught up in a good story, you don’t want it to end! So if your child has enjoyed the storyline of a movie or computer game, investigate whether there are books based on it. It can be easier to get them interested in something they’re already familiar with.

Don’t be fussy about what they read

Here’s the key: reading is a habit, and as long as they’re in the habit of picking up something to read, it doesn’t really matter what they’re reading. So if they’re reading magazines, great – this can lead to further reading if you can establish what they’re interested in.

Also, remember that they need to see reading as a fun thing to do. Don’t worry if you feel that their personal reading isn’t challenging them – their school will take care of that. Don’t force them to read anything – that’s a sure way to associate reading with pressure.

Try some quick reads

If your child isn’t a confident reader, it will boost their confidence to finish a book. Publisher Barrington Stoke(this will open in a new window) specialises in quick, super-readable books. Why not check them out to see if there’s something your child might like?

Speak to your local librarian

Children’s librarians are fountains of knowledge about the world of children’s books. Visit your local library and ask for some recomendations.

Make sure they see you reading

Show your child that you find reading enjoyable and worthwhile by letting them see you read as well. And if you’re reading something you think your child might like, leave it lying around so they can see it: autobiographies are always good for piquing curiosity.

Be patient

Remember that the right book is out there. Whether its graphic novels, non-fiction, choose your own adventure books, how-to books or something else, there really is something for everyone in the world of books. Be patient, don’t force it, and you’ll find something that interests them. There are lots of great places to start looking – here are a few:

Watch an Authors Live event together

Watching their favourite authors can be really exciting for children, so why not watch one of our Authors Live broadcasts together? We have over 60 to choose from, with broadcasts from famous names including Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson.

Find out if your child’s school is taking part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge(this will open in a new window) works through schools, libraries and community groups to inspire children and young people to read widely, explore a range of books and develop a lasting love of reading. Speak to your child’s teacher to find out if their school is taking part.

Encourage your child to visit author and publisher websites

Many authors have fantastic websites full of activities and games based on their work to encourage your child to enjoy reading on many different levels. Some popular series of books have dedicated websites. Some of our favourites include: