Encouraging Reading

The following resource from Catalyst explores advice for parents around how to encourage reading in children and specific advice for supporting SEND children with reading. The importance of reading is highly documented particularly with the positive impact shown in vocabulary development, comprehension and critical thinking skills [Source1] however it also has a holistic impact on children’s wellbeing including building confidence and self-esteem, improving sleep and relaxation and supporting a strong foundation for health social-emotional development [Source2][Source3].

The Department for Education shares some top tips for parents when supporting their child to read including ‘Reading aloud regularly’, ‘Making use of local libraries’, ‘bringing reading to life or making reading active’. Importantly it should be remembered that reading should be an enjoyable experience and engaging in reading with children in ways that suits them will help to foster positivity. Reading Rockets shares resources for parents and professionals on ways to encourage young and school-age readers to help stimulate an interest in reading and organisations such as BookTrust, UKLA and UNICEF Parenting all offer tips for parents and carers around promoting pleasure and interest in reading. The national literacy trust have also produced a infographic for students:

Picture Source


Supporting neurodiverse children with reading

The British Dyslexia Association has advice on how to support reading for children with dyslexia, this focuses on paired reading and story discussion but also looks at how assistive technology and audio books can help to foster your child’s interest in reading. These strategies also improve concentration, listening skills and can be a good introduction to new language. Simply Thrive also offer a  guide on how to help a dyslexic child with reading which offers a variety of techniques and Reading rockets have a variety of information, strategies and books for supporting dyslexic children with reading.

Children with ADHD can also find reading difficult, staying focused while reading as well as challenges with comprehension can make the task frustrating and lead to less enjoyment. [Source]. The ADHD Foundation share 5 top tips to help build confidence, motivation and an enjoyment in reading and Reading Rockets also offer strategies to support reading in the classroom to help combat some of the difficulties which may be faced by children with ADHD.  

ASD can also provide some challenges for children with reading. Autistic children can be more vulnerable to difficulties with comprehension but can also struggle with decoding [Source]. Reading Rockets offer information to help children on the autistic spectrum learn to read as well as books for professionals and parent on how to help and stories for children which feature autistic characters.

Supporting reading in children with EAL

Studies have shown the gap between achievement of children with English as a first language and EAL children to be the greatest in reading. Research indicates this difference in reading achievement is largely due to poorer comprehension rather than phonological awareness [Source].

The Bell Foundation discuss how reading for meaning plays an important role in reading acquisition for EAL students. Reading for meaning is a strategy which focuses on finding meaning within what students are reading and plays an important role in the development of comprehension skills. The Bell Foundation provide a wealth of information and resource to support this strategy which can be found here.

Building interest and storytelling also plays a role in reading for EAL students. In some cultures, reading is seen to be a specialised skill that not everyone acquires or the focus of reading is on decoding rather than understanding texts [Source]. Stories play an important role in learning. Building knowledge of stories using dual texts with EAL learners can help to develop transferable reading skills [Source].

Below are links to home language/ dual language books:

Children's Foreign Language Books - Little Linguist (little-linguist.co.uk)

Mantra Lingua UK | Dual language books and bilingual books and resources for bilingual children and parents and for the multi-lingual classroom.


Unite for Literacy


Last update: May 2024