Almost four in ten Dutch people sometimes read something to children.

Anne Heinsbroek (director of the VoorleesExpress) and Jennifer Hofstede (coordinator of reading promotion at De Schrijverscentrale) share their golden reading tips.

"Reading aloud contributes to the language development of children," says Heinsbroek.

This also endorses research by, for example, the Reading Foundation.

Children who are read by their parents develop a head start in their language and reading development.

Many children in the Netherlands can read well from a technical point of view, Hofstede knows.

"But you can also fuel the fire of reading aloud by reading aloud. Despite the reading capacities of children, the will to read is not always there."

A study published by Squla in April shows that older children still like to be read aloud (66 percent in group 7), but that this happens to a lesser extent: 51 percent of parents still read aloud to a child in group 7.

"Continue reading even if your child is six years old or older and can already read."

Anne Heinsbroek, director of the VoorleesExpress

Tip 1: Well begun is half done

Pleasant reading starts with a good book.

"Ask other parents and teachers for reading tips. Parents do not always know exactly what range of books is available," says Hofstede.

"I also advise parents to go to the library. Even during the lockdown, you can pick up books from some libraries and ask for tips."

Read to your baby;

He or she has benefited from it as early as three months

  • You can start reading aloud when your child is three to four months old.

    Reading aloud makes babies smarter, concluded professor Adriana Bus of Leiden University.

    In this piece by Parents of NOW he explains how it works.

Tip 2: Find pleasure in reading

When choosing a reading book, it is nice to look at a subject that appeals to you or the child, Heinsbroek points out.

"In addition, look at what you as a parent like to do. It could be anything. You might like a guide book, so that you can discuss with your child. And do it especially in the language in which you feel most comfortable. can express.

Tip 3: Stop at the peak

Hofstede regularly supervises visits by well-known writers in primary and secondary schools.

“I notice that writers always stop reading at a tense moment,” she says.

This keeps the children hungry for more.

"Every child wants to know how a story ends."

This can also be applied by parents.

Tip 4: Timing is everything

"A steady rhythm helps", says Heinsbroek.

"Look for a time that fits well with your family life. Maybe that is right before bed or in the afternoon after school."

If you make reading aloud a fixed moment, the children will get used to reading aloud.

"And don't choose a moment when you know that your child is very tired or very busy."

Tip 5: Keep reading to older children

As children get older, parents generally pay less attention to reading education, according to research by Stichting Lezen.

"Continue reading, even if your child is six or older and can already read," Hofstede recommends.

"At that age it is hard work for children. Reading aloud allows the child to focus more on the story. That way you keep your child enthusiastic about books."

Tip 6: Call in (digital) auxiliary troops

Parents with lower reading and writing skills pay less attention to reading education, according to research by Stichting Lezen.

Parents and carers may also not always have the time or desire to read.

Then digital auxiliaries offer a solution.

"Because of corona, we spend less time together. I would certainly recommend grandpas and grandmas, for example, to read aloud digitally from a distance. That is easy with Zoom," Hofstede says. Or register with the VoorleesExpress. Every year, the foundation helps five thousand families who, for various reasons, are unable to read to their children themselves. Heinsbroek: "We link voluntary readers to families who can use this help well."