Mandy Reid, Librarian at Alleyn’s Junior School tells us how to encourage a love of reading in our children.


Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!”

(Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss)

This promise captures perfectly the potential a story can offer a child; a journey that will fire the imagination and introduce weird and wonderful worlds. For many of us there can be no greater pleasure than sitting down with a good book, but we cannot assume our children feel the same way. Some may enjoy reading passionately but others may feel daunted; if we can get them off to a good start, reading can become a lifelong pleasure.

Finding Inspiration

  • Encourage children of any age to explore a wide range of books. Your local library is a great place to find a huge array of books. Your child might choose anything from a picture book or a quick read to a graphic novel or a classic.
  • Reluctant readers may find listening to audio books a relaxing way to access stories and they can come into their own on long car journeys.
  • Some children prefer information books to fiction and so non-fiction is a fabulous way for them to find out about the world – whatever they choose, it is all reading.
  • It is important a child makes their own choice of books; they will get pleasure from taking ownership of their reading.

Celebrating stories

  • Telling stories and reading out loud are practical ways to engage your child’s interest. Chatting with older children about what they are reading can also help draw out their enjoyment of and excitement about the material.
  • World Book Day is in March but the website is available all year and is full of podcasts, trailers and information about events.
  • Children’s author events are a great way to inspire children to read. Look out for them in your local bookshop.
  • Over the summer children can take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge, at their local library. This year the theme is ‘Mischief Makers’ inspired by the Beano comic, which is 80 this year – a perfect recipe for a summer of reading fun.

Here are some useful links to get you started:

A free online magazine focussing on children’s books with excellent book recommendations, reviews and articles.

Information about the summer reading challenge and children’s books

A wealth of book suggestions and reading lists for children

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and as well as book lists there are tips on reading with your children, event information book blogs and more…

Book Guides and suggestions for children age 0 to 7 and children 8 to 12.

How to find local bookshop events

Who Next? Is a guide to authors who write in a similar style.

This article first appeared in the July 2018 issue of SE22 magazine.