Information for Parents

{
}

What to say to your child(ren) when they ask; 'Why should I read?' Excellent question! Why should you? Why should anyone? You could be doing hundreds of other things instead – watching a movie, preparing dinner, going for a run, or spending time with your family. But when your kids ask you the same question, you’d better have an answer prepared. “Because I told you to” probably won’t cut it. “Because it’s good for you” isn’t going to work either. At least not if you don’t have some solid evidence to back it up.

'Because it’s fun'

Let’s face it, most kids don’t love school. But they spend most of the week there. So when they’re not at school, they’re probably pretty reluctant to do something that seems like schoolwork. They need to realise that there are plenty of books that are nothing like schoolwork. That not only is reading fun, but it can be funny. (The added bonus for you of course, is that encouraging recreational reading will help with schoolwork and other necessary reading, but we don’t need to broadcast that!) Books that are funny are way to prove that reading is a good leisure activity. If your child isn’t a strong reader, there are also funny books that incorporate graphic novel elements, which break up the text and make the reading easier.

'Because it’s exciting'

What is the biggest contender for free time in your house? I’m sure that for a lot of people film, tv or video games would be up there. For kids who don’t read, it’s probably pretty hard to imagine that books could be any where near as exciting. So much action can be fit into a three hour film, and it all happens right there in front of you! You can get all this and more in a good book. There has been such a push for action packed books in recent years (especially for boys) that there are enough exciting series out there to keep kids reading well into adulthood. The best thing is that the action in a film might be right there in front of you, but with a good imagination, the action in a book will be ten times more explosive than a film could ever be. If you want proof, just look at how many recent hit movies have been inspired by a good book. On that note, a good movie tie-in never hurt anyone. Sometimes getting kids reading is as easy as saying “Hey look at this book, you know it inspired that (insert film here) you loved!” Film tie-ins are a great way to tie in reading to a more social activity. Finally, for reluctant and/or struggling readers, the pace of action novels is often a great way to get them reading books that might appear daunting because of length.

'Because it’s stories about things you love'

We can’t spend all our time doing the thing we love the most, I mean, it’s pretty great to have a job that you love or a hobby outside of home. But there are always going to be rainy days, cancelled footy matches, family holidays, that take your kids away from the thing that they’d rather be doing. They could always read about it though. That sounds like a bit of a lame concept. “Read about football, it will be almost like you’re really there.” Most authors know that there’s nothing worse than reading a book that’s trying to be cool and failing miserably. So they do their research. And with the popularity of a lot of sport themed series in particular, it’s pretty clear that they’re doing it right. Maybe your kids love singing. Or dancing. Or building things. Guaranteed there’s a book about it. It will at least give them something to read in the car on the way to footy practice.

'Because the characters are like you'

The great thing about books is that they make people feel like you’re part of something bigger. Perhaps you’re not the only one who feels the way you do. Kids especially wonder where they fit in as they try to develop their own styles and personalities. Maybe they just moved to a new house, or started a new school. There’s nothing worse than someone telling you that they know how you feel. But reading about someone going through exactly the same thing? That’s different. There are so many character based stories, and you will find kids churning through entire books or series because there is a central character that they can relate to.

'Because it’s social'

Yes for a long time reading was a dirty word used to describe the kid who sat (alone) in the corner at lunch time. Now I could argue that you’re never alone with a book, but you might think I was crazy and also that’s not the point. The rise of social networking has added another dimension to the way we interact with each other, and everyone is trying to stay on top of it. There are obviously huge concerns about the dangers of online networking (internet bullying being one), but there are plenty of controlled websites that offer kids a place to connect with and respond to their favourite books, authors and other fans. There are freebies, competitions, discussion forums, blogs, book trailers and of course the heads up on new releases. The immediacy of the internet means that as soon as a new book is released kids are talking about it. It also means that instead of waiting for months for their favourite author to (maybe) respond to a handwritten letter kids can email them, or occasionally even participate in online discussions with them! Social networking has plenty of drawbacks, but it has brought books out of the corner and into pop culture.

Kids & reading FAQ for parents
How can I help my children learn to read?

One of the biggest factors in learning to read is practice. Practice reading with your child by reading to them and getting them to read to you.

Getting your child to read out loud to you will also mean that you’re the first to know when they hit any stumbling blocks or tricky words and you can address the issue immediately.

How else can I help my children with reading at home?


Lead by example. Encourage an overall love of reading in your child by showing that it is something that is important to you. Spend some of your spare time reading to associate it with relaxing.

Talk
 books. Talk about why you love what you’re reading. Encourage them to talk to you about the things they like. And make sure that they know they can come to you for advice if they’re struggling.

How can I find the right books for my child to read?


Check publishers’ websites for new releases and newsletters that you can sign up to, plus reviews, book lists and other suggestions for fantastic books for your child. Start reading blogs.
Ask your local bookseller or librarian – that’s what they’re there for!

Should I still be reading to my children every night when they can read for themselves?


Reading together will help your child learn to read on their own. If a child is engaged with the story that you’re reading them (and they should be) then they will want to learn to read so that they can explore books more often and at their own pace.

If you want to make sure that your child is still developing their reading skills, read to them in exchange for them reading to you. A chapter of a more difficult book can be traded for a chapter of one of their readers to keep them motivated and inspired.

Even if your child can read aloud, you can read them books that are more advanced that the level that they are reading at, which will be a constant encouragement to extend their reading.

My child used to enjoy reading but has now gone off it, what can I do to get him/her interested in books again?


Make it fun again!

Most kids who stop reading have aren’t finding it fun anymore. As kids grow up, their tastes change, and so does the amount of time they have to spend reading. So to keep them reading, make sure that it is still fun by supporting their reading choices. At the end of the day, your child will be a better reader if they chose to read the latest action novel than if they give up reading altogether.

What activities are there to encourage my child’s love of reading?


If your child is already a good reader and you want to make sure that their enthusiasm doesn’t wane, find new ways for them to connect with the books that they love.

Authors are often touring, or at least getting fan mail – and you can generally find out this information on the author’s or publisher’s website.

Check out children’s book festivals that are happening in your area – there are more than you think!

Read the book? Watch the movie. It’s a surprisingly good way to be able to talk about a book or story that your child already loves.

Should my child be reading by a certain age?


Every child is going to develop their reading skills at a different age. All readers (even adult ones) are at different levels of experience. If you’re really concerned that your child can’t read by a particular age, talk to their teachers to see if their difficulty carries through into their schoolwork. If not, it might be a sign that they’re not enjoying it. As always, talking about it, and finding the reasons behind their reluctance or inability to read is the best way to address the issue.

Is the internet a safe way for my child to find out about books?


It is difficult to say without question that the internet is ever 100% safe. But there are certainly ways that you can approach the internet with caution in regards to books and reading.

Go to a valid and authorised site. Be it an author site, blog or publishers webpage – make sure it’s legitimate. If you want to limit the amount of time your child spends online, sign up to newsletters and mailing lists on websites you trust. That way they can still access the information but it will be delivered to the safety of your email! Encourage your school to set up a blog. That way kids can respond creatively to books in an environment that is monitored by people you trust.

My child is an advanced reader. What if they’re reading books that are inappropriate?


That’s tricky, and there are two real options here. The first is to censor what your child is reading and try to prevent them from reading anything that you feel is inappropriate.

The second is to be aware of what your child is reading, and if they are starting to read books that are introducing more developed themes and issues, talk to them. As long as they are aware of the context that the issues are raised in, in is probably far better to discover things through a good book than schoolyard gossip!

Do I have to buy all the books that my child wants?


Of course not! Put in recommendations to your school and library for books that your child wants to read, and go on the waiting list to borrow books first.

Having said this, there is nothing like owning your very own copy, so buy the special books, or the series that is an absolute favourite. Or ask for books for birthday and Christmas gifts. Even better, ask for book vouchers. That way your child gets a book, and you know that it will be one they love.

Are there lists of recommended books for certain ages?


Yes. Most publishers break their booklists up into recommended reading ages. Ultimately the decision will be made by yourself and your child, depending on how good a reader they are, but these age groups will give you a good starting point. A lot of independent bookshops will also put out reading guides with a children’s section, and most will include recommended ages for the titles. Finally, if you’re struggling, just ask! Most people in the book industry love feedback from enthusiastic readers. Ask your librarian, bookseller, or even email your favourite author.

Book Cover:  Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BK8)
Greg Heffley's on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.
Greg Heffley's on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.
Published: 06/11/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143308089
RRP: $14.99
Book Cover:  Extra Time
From award-winning children's book author, Morris Gleitzman, comes a funny and moving story about a 14-year-old Australian soccer genius and his 10-year-old sister/manager who change the face of English Premier League football. Perfect for readers 9+ years.
From award-winning children's book author, Morris Gleitzman, comes a funny and moving story about a 14-year-old Australian soccer genius and his 10-year-old sister/manager who change the face of English Premier League football. Perfect for readers 9+ years.
Published: 24/07/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143307754
RRP: $16.99
Book Cover:  Our Australian Girl: Meet Pearlie (Book 1)
Follow Pearlie on her adventure in the first of four exciting stories about a courageous girl in a world at war.
Follow Pearlie on her adventure in the first of four exciting stories about a courageous girl in a world at war.
Published: 04/02/2014
Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781743482094
Price: $14.99
Book Cover:  Great Pet Plan: Juliet, Nearly a Vet (Book 1), The
Books for children - new animal series for eight year olds to ten year olds by Rebecca Johnson, with gorgeous illustrations by local illustrator Kyla May.\r\n 
Books for children - new animal series for eight year olds to ten year olds by Rebecca Johnson, with gorgeous illustrations by local illustrator Kyla May.\r\n 
Published: 20/03/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143307044
RRP: $9.99
Book Cover:  Last Elephant: The Lost World Circus Book 1, The
An electrifying new animal adventure series from Justin D'Ath, author of the bestselling Extreme Adventures series. Colt Lawless is on the run, suddenly famous, and more than a little superhuman. But can he save the last animals on earth?
An electrifying new animal adventure series from Justin D'Ath, author of the bestselling Extreme Adventures series. Colt Lawless is on the run, suddenly famous, and more than a little superhuman. But can he save the last animals on earth?
Published: 27/02/2013
Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781742535883
Price: $14.99
Book Cover:  Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.
Published: 21/08/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780141346809
RRP: $16.99

News

{ view all }
20 May 2016
Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Shortlist Announced
We are delighted to announce that the following Penguin Random House authors have been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards:

Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela and Matt Ottley
Ollie and the Wind by Ronojoy Ghosh

Social Feed

{ }