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How to Encourage a Love of Reading in the Early Years

Nurturing a love of reading from a young age builds the foundations for your child’s development, giving them a head start in their learning journey.

Reading sparks imagination, encourages creativity and promotes communication for children. That is why literacy makes up such an important part of the EYFS and should become a part of your nursery setting’s daily routine.

But how can you encourage a love of reading in your early years setting?

In this post we look at why reading is so important in the early years, how to make reading a fun part of your setting and ways to keep literacy inclusive for your multilingual children.

Why is reading in the early years so important?

As an early years practitioner, you will know the importance of reading from an early age and incorporating this into a child’s daily routine. Reading makes up a fundamental part of language development in early childhood. Not only does it help with a child’s ability to understand words, it also ignites the spark for imagination. Reading plays a crucial role for speech development and introduces children to the world around them as well as new concepts.

Reading should be fun and not too structured as we want children to enjoy listening to stories or even want to look at books independently. This builds the foundations for a continued love for reading as they start school and progress into adulthood. If we can get the reading journey right from a young age, we are setting children up for life.

Using songs, rhymes, props and role play areas, are all different ways you could be making the reading journey fun and encouraging that love of reading from a young age.

Remember that literacy can crop up anywhere throughout the day, from reading street signs to making shopping lists. Share this with the parents/guardians of the children within your setting as this is a really simple and easy way to incorporate literacy into their daily routines. Literacy is an important part of the EYFS: It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading.” – Early Years Foundation Stage. 

Here are a few ways to make reading a fun part of your setting:

Try these quick and easy suggestions to make reading part of the everyday routine in your setting.

  • Let the children select the books or go off children’s interests. This is a great place to start because the children are more likely to be engaged in what you are reading. Polylino has hundreds of books in its library, all selected by children’s literature expert Jake Hope, so plenty to choose from.
  • Develop family reading routines and rituals. Within your setting you can support families with their love of reading at home; the perfect opportunity to build on the home link with your parents. It is important for children to be reading every day and reading a book with their family can be fitted in perfectly with the bedtime routine. Bath, book, bed is a positive routine to try and introduce from a young age.
  • Suggest books to the parents that the children may enjoy. You could even set up a nursery library so children can borrow books to take home. Polylino isn’t available for parents/guardians to purchase themselves, however within the setting you can select the “Home Access” option to support the child’s learning journey at home.
    Have fun while reading! Using puppets, dressing up or role play are all ways you can have fun while reading within your setting. Have a box for all the props to go into and let the children select which ones they may need to support their storytelling.
  • Try reading books that reflect the children’s experience. This may be a great way to incorporate multilingualism within your setting and to learn about different cultures and routines that different families may have. Make sure you have a range of books available to promote diversity.
  • Have a different theme each week within your setting, using a popular book as your inspiration. For example, cook up some potions for Room On The Broom. Make Gruffalo feet brownies or go on a Bear Hunt in your outdoor space.
  • Don’t be afraid to act out the different characters from a story. Put on different voices when you are reading to differentiate between characters. If you aren’t keen on doing this, try using Polylino to read the stories out loud for you.

Creating an EYFS reading area

To make reading a special part of the day within your setting, it would be a good idea to create a reading area. There are a few different ways to do this and how you adapt it depends on the space you have and what early years resources are available.

Your reading area needs to be a calm and quiet space, with comfortable seating for both adults and children. You need to make sure that books are available for children to select independently making sure they are accessible for all to use.

Try adding cushions, fairy lights or puppets to the reading area to make it feel relaxed and an enjoyable space for the children. Perhaps you could add posters to the wall with some of the children’s favourite characters from books on display.

The idea behind the reading area is that it can be used either in a large group, individually or smaller one to one groups. It is quite a nice idea for a nursery practitioner to take a small group of children into a reading area and work with them one to one. This of course will depend on your staffing numbers, but where possible try to keep the group numbers low in your reading area. This will keep the environment calm and you will be able to hear each child talking/reading or asking questions about the book.

If you are using Polylino, this would also be a great space to sit with the children and allow them to select a story from our library of hundreds of books to choose from.
This will also support multilingualism amongst your EAL children and keep the reading corner inclusive.

Using Polylino to promote reading in the early years

Polylino is a fantastic early years resource as our library has been chosen by children’s literature expert Jake Hope. With so many books to choose from, you also then have the option to listen to books being read aloud in over 50 different languages.

We have partnered with literature experts and publishers in the UK to provide high-quality picture books on your smart device or desktop, which are fully aligned with the EYFS. Polylino fully supports early years reading with our range of EYFS books, making reading fun and all the while supporting language development in early childhood.

Hopefully this blog post has provided some inspiration on how to encourage a love of reading in the early years. You can take these ideas away and use them within your setting using your early years resources, knowledge and favoured EYFS books to promote communication and language development.