How to foster a reading culture

According to a recent study by Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS), eight out of 10 children who are in Grade 4 cannot read for meaning. 

Recent statistics released by Statistics South Africa also paint a grim picture of the country’s reading culture. Based on the statistics, nearly half of the country’s children have never read a book with a parent. 

The benefits of fostering a reading culture in children cannot be argued. 

So how does one foster a reading culture?


Several studies have proven that children who read do better at school and can achieve great success later in life. There are some benefits that children gain from being able to read.  

“eight out of 10 children who are in Grade 4 cannot read for meaning. ”

Reading helps children to develop language skills and knowledge. Being able to read also helps to expand a child’s vocabulary. There are some ways that parents can foster a reading culture at home.

Some of these include reading to your child, letting them choose books they like, leading by example by ensuring that your kids see you read, letting them ask questions when you read to them and making reading fun. 

Read to them


A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics on positive parenting found that things such as play and reading out loud has a positive impact on the social-emotional development of children.

It is important to make reading with your children exciting.

Let them choose books they like 

Allowing a child to pick up books that interest them makes reading fun and exciting.

It is important to make sure that a child understands what they are reading. So, when they read, ask them questions.

You can ask them questions such as; What is the story about? Who are the characters in the book? And what they have learned from the story? 

This is a good way to see whether your child understands what they are reading and are developing critical thinking skills. 

Make reading  fun 

It is important to make reading fun for your kids. Ensure that they choose a book that excites them, as this will be a fun activity for them. 

Experts also recommend creating a book library at home, as this motivates children to read. 

Lead by example

As a parent, it is important to model the behaviour you want your children to display. It is important that your children see you reading books. By starting a reading habit yourself will encourage your children to also want to read. 

Creating a reading culture at home is a great way to develop critical thinking skills, improving your child’s academic performance and developing their vocabulary. Happy reading! 

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