Reading to your child for 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference

February 27, 2018

It’s World Book Day on Thursday 1 March and the National Adult Literacy Agency is encouraging parents, grandparents or any carer of children to try to take 10 minutes a day to read to their child.

“Reading aloud is much more than just telling a child a story and if you can spare 10 minutes a day you can make a huge difference to their development,” said Inez Bailey, CEO, National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).

“Storytelling is not all about teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read, and sharing stories and giving your child time to respond is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development”, she said.

“Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development. From stories your child learns many things such as how to listen and concentrate, new words and understand why things happen. They also learn to put ideas in order, develop their memory skills, notice how spoken words relate to words on the page and learn how to predict,” she said.

The National Adult Literacy Agency has a website to help parents support their child’s development called The purpose of the website is to provide fun activities that parents can do with their children to improve their reading, writing and maths skills. It highlights the way children learn as part of their everyday lives and especially the positive things that children learn at home from their families. NALA also provide a tip a day on their dedicated Facebook page for parents called

“The most important thing is that reading is fun and enjoyable for both of you – just turn off the TV and find a quiet place so there are no distractions. And remember stories are not just found in books, it’s just as good to tell your child short, simple stories you know. The most important thing is that you enjoy it, that way your child will too.

More tips for parents

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Your home is a place where lots of learning is happening every day. Your most important job when it comes to your child’s learning is to show interest and get involved. You make a difference every day when you talk, play, read, write, count and listen to your child.  This is what helps your child the most.

0 – 2 year olds:

The first three years provide a great opportunity for learning. Babies and toddlers need stimulation to help make the most of this time and make learning possible. The best way to do this is to talk to them from the moment they are born – in your home when they’re beside you or out and about, just talk, listen and respond to your baby as much as possible. Play, sing and encourage them as much as possible – have fun together. Read aloud or tell stories – all these natural activities will help to build the foundation for your child to learn more.

3 – 4 year olds:

Young children learn by playing and by copying things they see you doing and saying. You can support your children’s learning by giving them lots of opportunities to do and say things everyday: both in the house and when you are out and about. Normal routines, such as setting the table, shopping or taking a bus are ideal opportunities for your child to understand and learn new things. The shared attention between you and your child and the repetition that takes place in these situations, is very important.

5 – 7 year olds:

School now becomes an important part of your child’s life. They are learning to be with other children more and they use talking to build new relationships. Other people can usually understand them clearly, though they still may have difficulty putting some sounds together. Encourage your child to retell a story they have heard. This will help your child to put ideas in the right order. Encourage your child to read things around them – cereal packets, notices and signs in shops. Discuss words. Read with your child – 10 minutes a day can help. Give your child puzzles to do like mazes and dot-to-dots – write out their name in dots and get them to trace over dots. Look for opportunities to do real writing – cards for birthdays, titles for drawings they have made.


For media queries please contact:

Patrick Gleeson, Communications Officer, NALA, 01 412 7916 / 086 792 5363 or

Help My Kid Learn was developed by the National Adult Literacy Agency to support the national strategy ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life’ (Department of Education and Skills 2011). The strategy includes a range of actions to enable parents and communities to support children’s learning. The strategy recognises that parents who are engaged in their child’s learning, have a significant positive impact on a child’s educational achievement – especially in literacy and numeracy.

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