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  1. Read to your children. It’s such an enjoyable experience. The earlier the better. But if your children are middle grade they will still love to sit down and hear Mam or Dad or whomever read a good book. With older children get them interested in reading snippets from the paper or from magazines. Highlight a news feature they are interested in or that’s topical or controversial, it will make it easier.  
  2. A good trick I had was to read to the younger kids in front of the older ones. I found the older ones would soon get drawn into the story and would come to look over my shoulder and listen to what I had to say. 
  3. Get older siblings to read to the younger kids. It does wonders for their confidence and their reading skills not to mention their relationship with one another.
  4. Buy/download/borrow a book and cd so the children can listen to a story while following the words on the page. They’ll come on in leaps and bounds. 
  5. Model the behaviour you want them to pick up on. It works and there’s nothing better than a guilt free rest with a good book, magazine or paper. 
  6. Explain to kids that they don’t have to know every word in a book. They can still get the general meaning without knowing every word. Sometimes when I’m reading I stop and ask the kids if they know what a certain word I’m stuck on is. I then ask one of them to look it up online or in the dictionary for me. (I do actually know the words…well most of the time!)
  7. Electronic bookmark dictionaries are an excellent present. Kids love using gadgets and this one ticks all the boxes!
  8.  Bribe them or bargain with them. Ten minutes reading equals ten minutes on your gadget or whatever works well for you. Once they get hooked on a book they’ll forget about gadgets (most of the time) and you won’t even have to bargain. Seriously.
  9. Start off slowly. Don’t expect them to read a lot at the beginning. Five minutes here or there works wonders and isn’t too daunting. Or take turns in reading a paragraph or page each.
  10.  Hide the gadgets and switch off the TV or limit them to a few minutes a day.