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7 tips to encourage your child to read

7 tips to encourage your child to read

I strongly believe that to help a child reach their learning potential, it’s important parents and teachers encourage reading. Students are more likely to do well in school if they read; even if writing and reading isn’t a child’s favourite thing, literacy skills can be developed over time, and this means that life in and outside of the classroom can be all the more enjoyable and successful, at all ages.

School is made easier too, which is a really critical reason why you should encourage your child to read. A strong reader has a broader vocabulary, wider general knowledge and an increased understanding of cultures (important for thriving and developing compassion in our contemporary multicultural society).

Parents/guardians, it’s vital you show an interest in your child’s reading development, because you are your child’s first and ultimate life-long educator.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” –Emily Buchwald

Why you should encourage your child to read

7 tips on how to influence your child to love reading

  1. Read with your with child every day

Make your child read aloud for fifteen minutes, ensuring they stop for punctuation, difficult words and share ideas on what the meaning of the story is. Children who read have a broader vocabulary which helps in their writing and exam tasks. Also, ask your child to explain to you what they have read (e.g. talk about characters, setting, understanding of the topic and themes); this is vital in helping kids succeed in future exams and assignments.

  1. Choose reading material of interest to the reader

I always say to parents that I don’t care what kids are reading, as long as they are reading! Ensure children are reading their favourite material, whatever it may be (although do encourage consumption of a variety of genres and media (books, magazines, digital content) as your children grow. They’ll be more engaged across the board, and happier to de-construct (talk to you about) it.

However, if you find a child struggles to read the text, they may be reading above their ability; if you perceive there are issues, talk to a teacher to determine what the child’s reading level is. It’s better to work from where they are at. The aim is to make reading (and subsequent writing and literacy tasks) enjoyable, not challenging.

  1. Be patient and make literacy learning fun

It’s important that reading is presented as an enjoyable experience. As a parent, be patient. If you feel your little one is encountering difficulties, be supportive and encouraging. Remember, the main aim of reading is to make it fun; and, practice makes perfect – all the more reason this should continue outside of the classroom and into the home with regularity.

  1. Link to the outside world

Children want to see that what they’re reading is connecting to their ‘outside world’. As a family, it’s a great idea to research a topic together. For example, if you’re going on a holiday, investigate the destination together. Or, if your child is into games / gaming, take this opportunity to read reviews on the applications of interest to them. Reading is about what your child likes, not what you like. Embrace that – it will mean they are more engaged in the reading process and will feel uplifted and appreciated becasue you respect their opinions.

  1. Play [literacy] games

There are hundreds and hundreds of literacy games on the internet as well as app downloads on mobile devices; these are fun and interactive. We all know that kids are tech savvy so this is an ideal chance for your child to explain to you how a particular game works. This activity positions them as the expert in the situation, while giving them a chance to read and explain on topics of interest with enthusiasm. Simply search for relevant games on Google, or seek ideas from your child’s school.

  1. Experiment with audio books

I find audio books are an excellent way of introducing children to stories read by passionate presenters who can make the words on the page come alive. Kids can read along while building their vocabulary.

It’s also helpful if you read in small passages with your child, and have them apply their comprehension skills as they move through a story, explaining characters, setting and theme along the way.

  1. Weave literacy learnings with a field trip

It’s important to surround your child with books and writing, whether this be at home, on a field trip to a community or school library, university or book store.

In this experience, children will witness first-hand how books contribute to education, knowledge and development; and that reading is a life-long practice, not just something that you do in school.

Importantly, parents – your role is critical in influencing your child to be an enthusiastic reader. If you don’t show an interest, they won’t. Your kids model behaviour, so demonstrate that reading and writing is fun, important, and makes for a fulfilling future.

Cooper Dawson

Feature image via Flickr creative commons, US Department of Education

Working in media: What should I do with my life?

Working in media: What should I do with my life?

Writing, media, publishing, PR: working in media… what should you worry about when you’re still in high school?


One of the questions we ponder in Media Bootcamp is ‘what should I do’?

It’s hard enough being in school, completing the final years of senior and trying to work out what you want to do with your life, but how do you discover all the options?

Often mentors are not on hand who are able to answer such industry-specific questions – wouldn’t it be nice if they were!

I was chatting to an author friend, J’aimee Brooker, about this yesterday, and we both absolutely wish there’d been someone to help us out with more answers when we were in high school.

Doing my bit to impart some wisdom, this post is with particular reference to students who love things like media, English, even drama and the arts. In school you’re usually only exposed to a few job types:

  • journalist
  • author
  • radio personality

The really obvious ones, but did you know there’s a whole array of wonderful jobs out there where you can use your love of writing and communications?

Let’s try an exercise.

Aside from media, writing or performing, what are you most interested in, or what do you love? E.g. your dog, red carpet fashion, astronomy, music, blogging, technology, movies, travelling?

Write it down on a piece of paper. Now consider, whatever you have written down, there’s a communications role associated with it! If you love your dog – or more widely, animals – you could end up in a communications role with an organisation that protects and campaigns for animals. You might end up managing their magazine or website. Or perhaps you’ll be in their public relations department, or devise advertising campaigns?

For those who perhaps said technology, well, where should we start? There’s a million tech start-ups who need writers and content creators, or you may end up managing their publicity and writing for a related blog! Maybe you’re into presenting and you love radio – you may not land a gig on your local station, but one bigger – a Blog Talk Radio or YouTube sensation!

Of course, there’s the traditional media stream that you may dwell in too, and that’s great – television news, radio presenting, writing for a magazine, newspaper or digital media, or maybe you’ll talk your way into high places as part of a funky PR team.

dream it

The aim of this little spiel is to get you thinking. To get the juices flowing. Don’t get stuck in the mundane or feel like you’re limited, or even that you have to work it all out right now (because you don’t).

Just know there’s awesome opportunities out there where you can combine your talents with your passions in life – keep surrounding yourself the things you enjoy, and it will fall into place.

Working in media – exciting, right?

Want more mentoring or a better insight into the career of your dreams? Join our mailing list or social media communities (links on the right!).

You’re welcome to stay in touch or ask questions about working in media – I’m on Facebook, G+ and Twitter, or drop us a line in the comments below.


By Sarah Blinco


5 easy ways for writers to source media story leads and opportunities

5 easy ways for writers to source media story leads and opportunities

Are you a writer, journalist or blogger? If you answered ‘yes’, you’ll appreciate the issue of discovering leads, case studies, sources and opportunities. Here’s a fast guide to five top sites that might just help you this week …


1. NEWSMODO / Tweet @newsmodo_com

Here publishers send out briefs to freelancers, indicating whether they need story leads or photographs.

It’s a good one to be signed up to as many of the media utilising this service have dollars to spend on your worthy leads, pitches and ideas.


2. SOURCE BOTTLE / Tweet @sourcebottle

This one has been a favourite in the southern hemisphere for a while, but its reach is now worldwide.

Essentially, SourceBottle connects expert sources with journalists and bloggers who are after case studies or quotes for stories.


3.  RESPONSE SOURCE / Tweet @ResponseSource and @DWPub

ResponseSource is like the UK’s version of SourceBottle, and gives journalists, broadcasters and bloggers fast access to reliable stories, experts, information and case studies.


4.  HELP A REPORTER OUT / Tweet @helpareporter

Another of the world’s top ‘lead’ sites, although this one is essentially American-based.

As a writer, you’ll receive emails outlining what media are looking for – sources, pitches, case studies, information – and if you can ‘help them out’, you have the opportunity to respond.

A great resource on how to use HAR is published here


5. SOCIAL CALLOUT / Tweet @SocialCallout

A relatively new digital service linking brands to bloggers. As a blogger, you’ll receive notes on which brands are looking for digital/social support, and if your space fits the criteria, you can apply for the opportunity advertised.


Want more like this, or do you have any other tips and helpful sites to share? Connect now on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.


Enjoy your week, Sarah x