top of page
  • Writer's pictureliliannk

Ready Steady Read!

Updated: May 19

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.

-Kate DiCamillo-

You can’t start too early to develop children's literacy skills. From babyhood, sharing picture books introduces children to the conventions of reading.  After they drum on the book with a spoon or drop it on the floor in that game where you pick it up for the tenth time – they start to see it for what it is: a source of joy and entertainment. They learn to open the pages, point at images, vocalise and exclaim. Children’s authors Richard Scarry, Dick Bruna, Tommie de Paola and Aliki were almost members of my early years' library!

As children grow older, increase the complexity of the books. Picture books with more text and involved plots can be followed with chapter books. J.K Rowling is probably responsible for accelerating the reading age of my children by three years because they are tired of being limited to the single pre-bed chapter and decided to read themselves! As young adults, both are still prodigious readers. Let’s take a look at 5 things that you can do to foster their love of learning:

1. Reading Should Be Fun

Reading should be enjoyable. Get comfortable, read with expression and choose age-appropriate books about something children find interesting. Books with repetitions, rhymes and resonating onomatopoeia like ‘bang’, ‘boom’, ‘crash’ and’ zap’ are ever popular!  Don’t stop during the first reading! Too many questions or comments spoil a good story! On subsequent readings, you can expand their understanding. They remember each story so well that they’ll let you know if you sneakily try to skip a page!

2. Explain How Text and Images Compliment Each Other

Children benefit from discussing how pictures, words and symbols all add meaning.  Pictures often provide information that is not in the text and vice versa. I recently read a beautiful book called ‘Collecting Sunshine’ by Rachel Flynn and Tamsin Ainslie with a group of three-year-old children. Besides the main plot about children walking to collect treasures, a couple of budgerigars and some mischievous cats are ‘telling’ their graphic stories in delightful subplots. The children were enthralled.

3. Highlight Structural Elements

Stories have structural elements and older children benefit from knowing them. When you talk about Paddington Bear, a firm favourite of mine, mention that he is the main character. Rather than say, ‘I wonder what will happen next’, say,’ I wonder what’s next in the plot. Focus on the story’s setting. Highlight the problem that the characters are solving and unpack how incidents advance or add twists to the story. Mention that stories have a beginning, middle and end. Have your child make up a story that includes these elements. As a group, it’s entertaining to create progressive stories. The first person introduces a character, setting, and action, and then the next person builds on the story. A hairy, grey monster rose out of the sea…

4. Sharpen Thinking Skills: Predict, Monitor, Question, Summarise

Reading requires thinking skills, and you can focus on four as children advance.  Occasionally, ask them to predict what will happen. To do this, they combine information from the current story, their general understanding of how stories work and their collective prior knowledge.  They will like this challenge and relish being right.

Check that they are monitoring what has happened to a certain point. Written language builds on itself; if something is missed or misinterpreted, it can impede comprehension. Who stole the bicycle, where was it taken, who sold it, who bought it, and why was that strange?

Encourage your children to ask questions when they don’t get something. Questioning is an underestimated learning tool and asking you for explanations might prime them to do it when they find things confusing in the classroom.

At the end of the reading, ask for a summary of what happened. Remembering the key linkages is a vital skill and is needed in many situations!

5. Encourage Reading Independence

Children recognise letters, identify sound patterns, read words, and then write whole sentences as time passes. They become readers! When they’re ready, it’s beneficial for them to read texts alongside story tapes. Give them choices by visiting the library to select a variety of texts, including poems, and allocate time and a reading space where they can disappear down the reading rabbit hole. This will foster a life-long love of literature.

My grandfather made a wooden wagon large enough for my younger sister and brother to sit in.   For several years, I’d haul them weekly to our local library. My childhood was populated with fabulous characters, faraway lands and gripping adventures. I wish this for the children in your care; they will be richer from it.


Lili-Ann Kriegler (B. A Hons, H. Dip. Ed, M.Ed.) is an education consultant and author of ‘Edu-Chameleon’. Lili-Ann’s specialisations are in early childhood education (birth to nine years), leadership and optimising human thinking and cognition.  She runs her consultancy, Kriegler-Education. Find out more at

Other ways Lili-Ann can support your professional work


Speaking engagements for educators and teachers.

See speaker bio here: 


Customised onsite and online professional development: 

See ‘CONSULTING’ on the website:


For more articles:

See the RSS Feed here:

To purchase Lili-Ann's book: 'Edu-Chameleon: 7 Dynamic Learning Zones to Enhance Children's Concept-Based Understanding'.

To purchase Lili-Ann's book for parents: 'Roots and Wings - A Parents' Guide to Learning and Communicating with Children to Forge a Family with Mettle'.


10 views0 comments


bottom of page