Friday, 28 November 2014

Review: Help your Child Love Reading; a Parent’s Guide by Alison David

At Space on the Bookshelf we believe that; all children love reading and that some children just haven’t found the right books yet. We endeavour to aid children, parents, carers and education professionals to find the right book for each child, with our reviews and articles. In short we at Space on the Bookshelf love reading and we try to share and promote that love of books. With this in mind, and knowing that each child is different, and that every home is unique, and that finding that breakthrough book and devolving a love of reading can be challenging, today we are reviewing a book which has been especially written to address these problems.

Alison David is a Consumer Research expert for Egmont UK, whose job involves talking to parents and children to find out what helps and hinders reading. Alison has used her wealth of knowledge and expertise to write ‘Help your Child Love Reading; a Parent’s Guide.’

The book spans the expanse of childhood from infancy to the teenage years, and tackles in an empathetic and non-judgemental manor the impact that modern life has on the development of children’s reading.

Within the book Alison highlights the reasons why fostering a love of reading is a more difficult a task for this generation of children than it way for us adults, and all previous generations. She also explains with the help of literacy experts and child development professionals the physical and emotional stages of children’s development and how they affect how children learn to read. These explanations are both reassuring and scary and once you’ve read them they all seem glaringly obvious, but ultimately they can help you empathize with your child and therefore make you less stressed about your child’s reading habits (whether it be them learning to read, becoming independent readers or continuing to read for pleasure in the teenage years) and help empower you to evolve a ‘reading home’ and promote reading for your family.

'...enjoy discovering new things together. There are so many books out there and they can be found in so many different places: libraries, charity shops, bookshops, on-line, in catalogues, at car boot sales, local ans school fetes.'

The book is full of interesting facts and concentrates on the trends of modern life for example: busyness and electronic devises, giving hints and pointers to assist your child and develop a continued love of reading. The book is in section, each section dedicated to a different stage of children’s development; pre-school, starting school, choosing to read (8-11 years), staying connected (12-16 years). Each section has pointers to help overcome the issues specific to the child’s age that hinder their reading development.

Many of these hints are simple fixes that no matter how simple in concept take creativity to implement; like creating time to read with your child, making books and stories magical, and encouraging your child to find books for themselves and allowing them NOT to finish if they don’t enjoy them. 

'When Louis began to read chapter early favourite was Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: the Search for the Sunken Treasure:Australia' by Elizabeth Singer Hunt. This had some line drawings in it but they were few and far between. I rememberer he asked me if he could colour them in  - 'adding detail'... Anything you can do to ease the transition from picture books to chapter books is worthwhile - even if it means doing something generally frowned upon' 

This book isn’t just for families that have children who don’t embrace reading with enthusiasm and love, but can help established reading families too. I confess that when I started reading this book that I didn’t think it would help my family, as we read a lot! We have seven bulging bookcases, my ten year old daughter reads a novel and a half a week plus, picture books, graphic novels, and magazines and my eight year old son reads substantially more. However I did find that this book further assisted our family in our reading health, as it made me realise we had inadvertently fallen into bad reading habits.

Our main problem is time. My husband works long hours and often seven days a week, I work from home running a business on top of writing and doing everything thing else I need to do to keep the family running. The children’s lives are becoming more complex with increasing homework, clubs and responsibilities. All this resulted in losing the ritual of reading together and losing the time where we shared stories. As a result reading had become shoe horned into tight time slots and therefore the experience was more fraught and less enjoyable. ‘Help you child love reading’ help me diagnose the issue and other symptoms: for example we always fail when trying to read together as we start with something our lives can sustain, like reading a chapter book at bedtime, we ALWAYS lose our place or the book entirely. This realisation meant we could fix the problem, now we read short stories or poetry before bed, which can be easily finished in one sitting. This means we don’t get disheartened and stop, and has had a positive impact on the family as a whole. 

' ...grab half an hour and a cup of coffee and sit down with your child for some family reading time, each of you reading your own choice, side by side.'

Help your child love reading is much more than a parents guide. I strongly believe that every parent, grandparent, carer, childcare professional and education professional would find this book helpful, as in addition to being a great tool kit to help reading , many of its suggestions would help promote a happy home and can be utilised in many different positive ways and is not indeed exclusive to reading.

I would recommend this book to any family who hare struggling to foster a reading home, and to families of established bookworms alike.

For more hints and advice on promoting a reading family, visit Mostly Book's web-site to see how to start a Family Reading Group, Press Here.


  1. This is extremely fascinating substance! I have completely delighted in perusing your focuses and have reached the conclusion that you are right about a hefty portion of them.

    help with literature review


What do you think?