Research by learndirect shows that almost one in three (32%) parents want to brush up on their basic English and maths to support their children's learning and development. With just a few weeks to go before children move up a year at school and face trickier homework, they've launched two free online interactive books to help the whole family improve their reading skills.
The books are backed by Waterloo Road and Coronation Street actress, Angela Griffin.
Angela says: "As a parent myself, I know it's important to have good reading skills to be able to keep up with, and be a part of, your child's learning. The new online storybooks are brilliant – it's such a fantastic way for families to read and play together.
"My daughter, Tallulah, is five and loves going on the computer, so it's a magical thing for her to have a storybook that's about her, where she can change pictures, match words and do puzzles. It helps to bring reading to life for her, and for me."
Here are Angela's top reading tips:
1. Set aside a special reading time - ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough. As I have such a busy acting schedule, finding time during the day can be hard, so often Tallulah and I read at bedtime.
2. Reading should be enjoyable for the whole family, so don't feel like you have to carry on if your child is too tired. If they lose interest, stop and do something else.
3. For young kids, the pictures are just as important as the words, so spend time on them too. Tallulah and I love to talk about the characters and point out funny or interesting things on the pages.
4. Talk to your child about how they think the story will end and share your favourite parts. You will then be able to see how well they have understood what they have read.
5. I'm used to taking on different roles because of my acting and I love doing different voices for characters when reading to Tallulah. There's no reason why every parent shouldn't do the same – it's fun and really brings the story to life.
6. Enjoy the rhyming words and laugh together at the funny stuff – you'll be surprised how much you'll enjoy it.
7. Practice makes perfect - reading aloud isn't always easy, even in front of your children. But the more you do it, the better you'll get
8. Encourage children to ask questions. If they don't have any, ask them a few questions yourself.
9. Always praise your child for trying hard at their reading. Let them know it's all right to make mistakes. After all we all get words wrong – even parents!
10. Read your child's favourite book over and over again – it might seem a bit boring to you, but kids enjoy repetition. It helps them to build familiarity and understanding of the story.
You can download your free interactive storybooks at this link