Helping your children enjoy reading is worth the investment of your time and energy.
Kids will learn reading skills in school, but often they come to associate reading with work, not pleasure. As a result, they lose their desire to read. And it is that desire—the curiosity and interest—that is the cornerstone to using reading and related skills successfully. I’m one of those kids. When I was little my parents were readers and as such they wanted me to be a reader too. Unfortunately… reading became a shore, a task, something I kind of had to do and was expected to do and like most kids would, I lost interest. As a teen, then reading became a need… I would read books just to learn and practice my English. One time, my dad gave me “The millionaire Mind” and said… “As homework, practice translating the first chapter”. He had the best of intentions… but the method was not very enticing when teens just want to hang out with friends or maybe just read for fun. Then came college and reading again was for knowledge and projects, not for recreation. Now as an adult my desire to read lit up again. And as a mother my desire for my child to to love reading. As a result I bought a Kindle a few years ago and it has become one of my favorite gadgets ever!
By far the most effective way to encourage your children to love books and reading is to read aloud to them, and the earlier you start, the better. Even a baby of a few months can see pictures, listen to your voice, and turn cardboard pages. Reading should be fun! As parents if we want our kids to love reading, we have to entice them to it.
Here are a few tips on Getting your Child to Love Reading
- Identify your child’s interest and buy books based on that. Freedom of choice is a key to getting them motivated and excited. Ask genuine questions, ones to which you do not already know the answer. Ask questions that help children think about why and how and not just what. Be sure to listen to their response carefully and build upon what they have to say. Build their book collection based on their interest. Then you can other types of books add here and there to continue to expand their curiosity.
- Organize a bookshelf for your child’s book collection. A sturdy bookshelf or cubby located in an area accessible to your child is ideal. This way, they can reach their books and use them without having to ask you every time. Having a special place for their books will also demonstrate to your child that books are valuable.
- Create and continue a frequent read-aloud routine. Whether it is daily, or weekly before bed time, Wednesdays after dinner, or every Saturday at 2:00pm… Create a reading routine that works for you and your family. This will help you stick to it. Reading at the same time each time and in the same comfortable place, such as in bed or on the couch, make read-aloud a time to anticipate. I like to read to my daughter before she goes to bed and she looks forward to it.
- Point to the words when you read aloud. You need not do this for every page but pointing to the words in the book’s title, or to the words of a repeated phrase in the book, is a good idea. When you point to the words, you show your child that there is a correspondence between spoken and written words and that print goes from left to right.
- The best role models are in the home. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents etc. I love my kindle, however I find myself having to explain to my little one that I’m not on an iPad, and I’m actually reading a book. One of the most effective ways to help children become readers is to show them through your own example that you value literacy and that reading has useful purposes. Make sure that you have a variety of printed books in your house and you use them on a regular basis, and that you talk to your child about what you are doing when you read. Remember… monkey see, monkey do.
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