Give Your Child a Head Start with Reading | Back to School Series

I'm here updating an old post today - with everyone heading back to school, I hope you find this one useful!

All children begin their school journey with different skills, knowledge and backgrounds. However there are many things you can easily do in every day life to give them a little head start with reading. Hopefully these 7 tips will give you some ideas and also give insight in to what your child will be doing and learning when they start school.

1. Make Reading Fun! Reading should be a joy - not a chore.

First of all, if a child is not motivated or interested in books and reading, it will be that much harder for them to get started. Reading shouldn’t be a chore – it should be a joy! Your child will pick up on your vibes so be a positive role model and show them that reading can be exciting and fun! Let them choose the books they want to read based on their interests.

2. Read to your child. 

I cannot stress this one enough – reading to your child is probably the most effective way to teach them to read (especially their favourite books read over and over). I think that well known South Australian author Mem Fox explains it far better than I could.

“If every parent – and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation” (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, 2001, p11).

“Experts tell us that children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before to learn to read for themselves” (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, 2001, p 14)

Click here to read more from Mem Fox, including her ten read aloud “commandments” as she calls them.

3. Learn the alphabet in a hands on way.

I’ve written many posts on my blog about learning the alphabet (see them all just by clicking here). Pictured above are some of my favourite ‘hands on’ and sensory experiences. Everything begins with the alphabet, and a good foundation here will assist your child greatly when it comes to sounding out words.

4. Bring favourite books to life!

Pinterest and Google can be your greatest resources to find ideas of how to bring your child’s favourite story books to life. ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?’ are two that come to mind. Create activities and play experiences based on these books to immerse your child in literacy and make real life connections to the books they know so well.

Here's by 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' small world as featured on Childhood 101!

5. Read in your environment.

Print is everywhere – labels, posters, number plates, signs, the list goes on and on. Talk to your child about the words and letters they see in their environment. Sound out the letters STOP when you see a stop sign, get them to help you read labels on the products you are buying at the shops or better yet they can try and read your shopping list!

6. Visit the library often.

Libraries are a beautiful place and a wonderful resource for families. Make it part of your weekly routine to spend some time together reading in the library and borrowing a variety of books to take home and enjoy. This will keep your child interested and always eager to find new books!

7. Model reading.

Heard the saying “Monkey see monkey do”? Well I believe the same goes for reading. Show your child that you enjoy reading books! I’ll admit we all spend a lot of time on our devices these days, but there’s something special about real books. If your child sees you reading, chances are they will be more likely to pick up a book and give it a go themselves.

How appropriate is this Dr Suess quote to remind us of the importance of reading in our daily lives.

Here's a link to my other 'Back to School' articles you might be interested in, whether you're a parent of a teacher. It's that time of year again when stationery is purchased and labelled and classrooms are decorated with care. Best of luck to all the little people starting school tomorrow (if they haven't already!).


As featured on Adelaide Mummy Meetings.


  1. Great tips, I just used that quote on my post too! Love Dr Seuss wisdom :)

    1. So many great Dr Suess quotes out there Danielle :)

  2. I LOVE reading (my husband doesn't) so I try to model it as much as I can in front of my boys. My biggest issue is that my six year old is much more interested in reading "fact" books than fiction. (The facts are normally about Sklyanders, or Spiderman, or Star Wars). Really hoping that we might get into some chapter books soon (even if they feature all those S people). Love these tips & will keep going!

    1. It's so common for boys to be more interested in non-fiction books or books about their favourite things. I say as long as they're reading and as long as they are making meaning and understanding the words that's the main thing!

  3. Love your back to school series Lauren. It's taken me a little while to get to it so reading now. Thanks :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the series Sarah! Good luck next week when your little man has his first day! I'm sure it will go smoothly xx

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