5 ways to boost your early reader's confidence

Boy reading comic book
Your early reader may be steaming ahead but you can give them an extra boost with a few easy strategies, says Jackie Cosh. Start today!

As children begin to learn to read it is very important to boost their confidence so that they feel good about themselves and see reading as something positive. Here are five ideas to help you boost your child’s confidence in reading.

1. Make reading relevant

If the book is about something that interests them, your child will be happier to read it. This is just as important as choosing books for their level. For the football-mad boy, there are plenty of engrossing football story books. For girls, there are books about ballet, ponies, fairies, ice-skating and more – and don't forget non-fiction as well as fiction. Show your child that reading allows us to explore our interests and the world.

2. Don’t push too hard

It may be tempting to try to move your child up a level (and you may be sure that they are ready), but this can damage confidence. Let your child read books which you feel are a little bit too easy for them. Let them have a feeling of achievement when they know every word in the book and don’t need your help. As well as encouraging them to read on their own, it will reinforce the fact that they can read, and can read well.

3. Do paired reading 

Don't make reading hard work. Even when your child can read independently, there is still a place for you reading to them. If your child is tired and doesn’t want to read, give paired reading a go. Agree that you will read the book but that you will give them one word a line to read. To your child this will seem an easy task, but much can still be gained. Choose words which they have recently learned, or which they can easily decode.

4. Visit a bookshop 

This can be a great excuse for one-to-one time. Reading doesn’t need to be rewarded, as it should be viewed as something people do for fun. But you can demonstrate that along with reading comes the chance to choose books to buy (or borrow at your local library).

5. Give praise

Whatever level your child is at, remind yourself that they're doing amazingly well. Think of how far they have come in the last few months and how little they knew this time last year. Praise constantly. If a child has only mastered three-lettered words, then praise them for it. This will encourage them to try longer and more complicated words.