Reading Readiness: Encouraging Confident Readers

We all know by now the power that books have to move us. They can make us laugh or cry, feel love or contempt for the characters, and the lives we read about linger in our minds long after we have closed the cover. They hold knowledge, whether fiction or non-fiction, and improve our spelling, grammar and cognitive function without us even realising it.

The power of reading is even greater for young children, as it builds the language pathways they need for future. Take a look at some ways to encourage your child to read and the benefits this will bring.

Read to your child

  • Reading to your child from a young age is essential in promoting their enjoyment of books. While they are babies, flicking through a picture book together is less about the words and more about making reading a comforting, safe and happy time for your child.
  • Getting to a routine of snuggling with your little one and spending one-on-one time with them, with no television or phones to distract you, means they will come to look forward to reading.
  • As your child gets a little older, they may have favourite stories and remember certain words and rhymes off by heart. Encourage them to say these parts aloud with you, especially if they are in character and silly!
Read yourself

• Children follow by example in many things, and reading is one of them. Even if you are not an avid reader, setting aside just 15 minutes a day or a few times a week for dedicated ‘reading time’ can do wonders for your child’s motivation. Seeing the adults in their life picking up a book and reading inspires children to want to do the same thing. Especially if you find an author you like and your little one sees you genuinely enjoying yourself.

Read anything
The variety of books that have been written is almost as diverse as human personality. Literary classics and classroom favourites will endure, but with more books published than is possible to read in a lifetime, why struggle through a title you’re not interested in? Many children fall out of love with reading because the only books they have encountered don’t capture their interests and passions. Letting your child choose what to read can make a huge difference.
Play word games
Word games are great for developing word and letter recognition, improving cognitive ability and having fun. Since games are a way of spending uninterrupted time with your child, they help present words and reading as sources of fun, rather than forced learning or boredom. Simple games like I Spy, listing words in one category for each letter of the alphabet, or finding objects around the home that begin with a certain letter are all easy ways to learn words.


  • Some Favourites from Our Bright Horizons Mum & Dads!

  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, 0-3 years
  • Busy Bookshop by Rebecca Finn, 1-3 years
  • Kangaroo Kisses by Nandana Dev Sen, 2-5 years
  • The Jar of Happiness by Alisa Burrows, 3-6 years
  • A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen, 3-7 years

Further Resources

Growing Readers - We support children in nursery to learn to read and enjoy books. For ideas you can try at home with your child, check out our Growing Readers resource page.

Bright Horizons Recommended Reading

Early Years Reading - Ten for Every When

Reading with Your Children