As we all know, reading is undoubtedly an essential skill in life without which one may not be able to achieve his/her full potential. Inspiring your child/children to have a lasting love for reading is one of the most precious gifts you can bestow upon them. Encouraging them to read for pleasure would make it a habit and is sure to open an infinite pathway of knowledge before them. It is often perceived as a cornerstone to success in life.
Will your kids read daily not only as part of their school learning or assignments, but also for pleasure? Very young children may not be able to emphasize the need to make reading a vital part of their life. So, we as parents should motivate them, make them understand the significance of the habit of reading and help them love and enjoy reading. You can support your children so that they build a strong relationship with the printed word which would empower them with a wealth of knowledge.
Read on for some ideas to instill an everlasting love for reading in kids.
1. Start as early as possible
Research suggests that the earlier you start reading to your baby, the more positive impact it will have on him as he grows. So, start as soon as possible – would be great if you are prepared to start once mum and the newborn baby are stable. If this does’nt suit you, you can start any time that best fits you. Remember, it’s never too late to start! Board books and cloth books works well with babies. Make your reading time a special one for you and your little one. Perhaps this lovely bonding time would make reading pleasurable to him and is likely to grow up as an avid reader.
2. Give access to lots of books
Surround your kids with a variety of age-appropriate reading materials that you think they would be interested in! It would be nice to keep books in the most used spaces of your house (probably at a height that they can reach up to safely). Children would be really excited if you can set up a cute little library at home once you manage to get a reasonable count of books over time. It’s good to keep a selection of books in your car and/or in your handbag/diaper bag, so that they can enjoy it on the go!
3. Let the kids choose their books
Get them to choose the books they want to read from the library, the bookstore or at home. Let them follow their interests and appreciate them for that, even if its a picture book. Reading something they like would make it more fun and interesting and would also help them develop an intense love for reading.
4. Read aloud with them
Set up a cosy reading time everyday and help them enjoy reading by making it a part of their daily routine. Make sure to do this at a time that best suits your child – not when he is too tired or when is aroused enough to play. Read to them in an energetic, lively and expressive voice. Give life to stories by changing voices according to the characters or using finger puppets and soft toys. Take turns to read if your child can read a few words(help them if they struggle with any words), ask questions, discuss about the pictures, characters, authors and illustrators, make inferences and give them lots of praise for their efforts. This would mean a lot to them! Make it a special fun-filled time of bonding between you – something that your child would crave for. This lovely time would help him discover the pleasure of reading so that he develops a deep-rooted love for reading that lasts lifelong.
5. Let children see their parents read
Children who see their parents enjoy reading are likely to want to read themselves as well, because most often they like to imitate their parents and elders. So be a role model,let them see you read regularly – whether it’s a novel, newspaper or magazine. Show them how much you love and enjoy reading. Always share with them the excitement you have experienced while you were reading. When your child notice that reading is worthwhile and is a part and parcel of your life, he/she would likely decide to make it an important part of his/her life too and turn out to be a voracious reader. Also let your child see how much you respect books and how gentle you are while handling them.
6. Take kids to the local library
Just hangout regularly(may be on weekends or any free time) with your kids and have some quality time at your local library. Help them choose age-appropriate books that interests them the most, so that they derive the most pleasure out of it. This could spark a passion for reading! Why not then take them for a light snacking and/or cool coffee time.
7. Start a series
Reading a book series is an awesome way to get your child/children really excited and fascinated about reading. Book series also help to avoid the uncertainty of what to read next. Another choice could be, to read multiple books written by the same author that seems appealing to your children. Perhaps, you could give a kick start to reluctant readers through comic books.
8. Make connection between books and life
Children would be exhilarated if field trips are planned in relation to the books that they are reading. Read a book about dinosaur before visiting a museum, read an adventure book before a camping trip, take your little ones to the little piggies after enjoying the book of the three little pigs and so on. This is sure to make reading more fun and exciting.
9. Create opportunities to read and write beyond pages
Give your child different possibilities to read without solely confining it to books. Write lovely notes for him/her and leave it on his/her pillow, in a lunchbox or in his/her pocket. All kids would be happy and thrilled to have a loving message from their mum or dad. Put magnetic letters words and numbers on your refrigerator so that they read it every now and then. Also help them read signs, posters and packets.
10. Spark up their imagination and bring stories to life
Inspire your child to add some extra fun to reading through his imaginations! Let him draw pictures of what he is reading, act out the story, put on a character puppet show or try bringing his own twist to the story. You can also encourage him to create his own comics or fictions – being inspired from his favourite books.
11. Do not force them to read
Never make reading a forced thing – it should be fun and relaxing! If any day a reading session gets stressful, stop and try again the next day.
12. Always ask kids’ opinion about completed books
Let them have a voice of what they’ve read. Talk to them and have a review about the book or put a star rating once a book is finished. You can also keep a reading log book to note down comments and rating about the books they have already read. Keeping reading log of completed books could be a great motivator!
13. Show interest in your child’s reading
Continue reading together even after your child has become an independent reader. It’s also crucial that you listen to your child read to you, give feedback, support and encouragement so that he/she gets motivated to become a great reader. Don’t forget to praise him/her for his/her efforts and you can see the magic work!
14. Limit technology
In this age of digital boom, most kids often tend to choose screen time over books – If given a choice they may not choose books often enough so that it becomes habitual. You may have to largely limit your child’s screen time( watching television shows or movies, using digital gadgets like smartphones, tablets or laptops, playing video games ) until his reading is well-established and he discovers his love for reading. Kids who are read to consistently from a very young age would have already found out the pleasure that reading gives and would probably pick a book over video games, television or ipads.
15. support your child and get help if needed
Some kids does’nt get well on with reading initially. This may be because they might be having some problems with their eye sight, or may be having trouble making connection between letters and sounds or may be just because they have not yet discovered a story that really excited them. If your child is struggling with his reading and often gets frustrated with it, support him and look out for what exactly is the cause of it. Talk to his doctor or teacher who might provide you suggestions to help you out so that you can cultivate a passion for reading in your child eventually.
Please share in the comment box if you have more tips on how to help kids develop a passion for reading. Thank you.