Finding the hook to get your child reading

Struggling to motivate your child to read? Many parents find that while their children are happy to spend hours kicking a football around, watching TV or listening to music, they don’t always show the same enthusiasm for reading and writing.

But the hobbies that children love can be a great hook to engage them in literacy based activities. You’ll also find that they can naturally help to boost language and communication skills.

Read on for tips and advice on how to make the most of your child’s passion.

Exploring outside - if your child prefers getting muddy in the garden to staying indoors, don’t despair! Use their love of the outdoors and their natural curiosity to expand their vocabulary and spark conversation – spotting plants and wildlife can help with memory skills and teach them new words. Peter Rabbit magazine encourages children to play and explore safely outside and books in our reading list like Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go and Who’s In the Forest? introduce children to nature.

Music - reading and learning lyrics can be a fun way to boost literacy skills and improve memory. Challenge your child to learn all the words to a new song or if they’re a budding musician, write their own lyrics! In the early years, singing and rhymes also help babies and very young children to learn crucial language skills. Older children will enjoy reading about the bands and pop stars they love in BBC Top of the Pops magazine and this sing-a-long video is great for introducing little ones to lots of different instruments.

Finding out - reading doesn’t have to just mean fiction. Lots of children enjoy dipping into factual books and encyclopaedias to learn more about the world around them. If your child enjoys learning about the past, they might like Horrible Histories magazine which enables children to learn about history in a funny and entertaining way. Octonauts magazine offers a mixture of facts and adventure stories. Children get to read about the Octonauts and learn about the amazing underwater creatures and incredible vehicles Captain Barnacles and his crew use to travel around.

Getting creative - art is great for developing vital communication skills from an early age. Following instructions to make something or expressing an idea can both help to boost literacy levels. CBeebies Art magazine includes tonnes of art ideas and resources for parents to complete with their children, as well as activities for children to complete independently. LEGO® fans will enjoy reading about new creations they can build in LEGO® Friends, LEGO® Legends of Chima™ and LEGO® Ninjago™. You can also find colouring and craft activities in our downloadable activities section.

Football - children who enjoy football will be practising vital literacy skills without even realising it! Reading newspaper reports, learning players’ names and talking about matches can all help improve reading and communication. BBC Match of the Day magazine offers a host of facts and stats for footie fans, as well as quizzes like the one in our football challenges section.The National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme also uses football as a hook to motivate children to read. Delivered through schools, libraries and football clubs, find out more at

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