“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” ― Groucho Marx. That's how useful a television is. But, reading makes your kid a better thinker and a more creative individual with great visual capabilities.
Do you know that you can help your child develop reading habits even when they can’t recognize any written word? Every parent has a huge impact on how their kids learn this fundamental skill of reading.You can begin developing good reading habits even before they learn to read. By cultivating good reading habits, you will help them develop a lifelong love of reading.
Reasons why reading habit is important
- Starting to read at a very early age will enhance their attention span. Reading is a complex activity and the need to focus will train their mind to concentrate and thus enhanced attention span
- Reading exposes the child to vocabulary and phrases that are not a part of normal speech. They also learn the usage of word and how to structure sentences. Thus early readers have an opportunity to develop better vocabulary, grammar and improves writing.
- With your kid curled up on your lap, reading and talking to them is one of the best way to strengthen your bond with them. As they grow and become independent, you can forever cherish ‘the cuddle times’ you have spent reading to your kids.
- Reading evokes as well as satisfies curiosity about people, places and things. It trains their mind to grasp concepts, identify the cause and effect and thereby applying the logic in different scenarios. All these will help them improve their logical thinking skills.
- It helps a child understand the basics of reading books. The basic pre-reading skills like knowing the difference between “word” or “letter” and reading from left to right are easily taught as young child.
- Early readers are exposed to different scenarios and experiences. This helps a child develop coping skills and to handle stressful situations.
So, how to develop good reading habits in your kids? Well, this is how you do it.
1. Begin from child’s early months
It is never too early or never too late to start raising a reader. Young babies can respond to your voice when reading and talking to them. Being cuddled on your lap will help the young child to associate reading with feeling secured and comfortable. This will in turn help a confident reader when they grow up.
2. Be a role model
Imitation is a very powerful tool for learning and mastering skills. Parents must set a good example and model reading habits for the child. Keep a lot of reading materials around the house. Let your child see that you love reading books, newspapers and magazines. And this way kids will understand the importance and develop a love for reading automatically.
3. Have realistic expectations
Toddlers and kids with very short attention span might not sit still for the reading activity. Let them move around while you are still reading. The chances are more that they will come back to you hearing you reading aloud.
4. Develop a routine
The best way to instill the love of reading for your child is to develop a routine. Reading to your child consistently and making it a daily routine is very essential to nurture the love for reading.
5. Make reading enjoyable
Never be afraid to make silly sounds and imitate voices. For example, monkey played the drums “Ditty ditty dum dum”, Tim played in the water “Splash splash splash”. Make reading a special time by being expressive, changing the tone of your voice and acting the story out. This way you can stimulate their interest in reading.
6. Create a reading corner
Setting up a reading space - a corner of the couch or a corner of your child’s room or even a reading tent. Ensure the reading corner has enough light and few books that are easily in reach of the child. This might encourage the child to read more frequently. Don’t have your television switched on when your child is reading.
7. Apply reading moments in everyday life
Reading shouldn’t stop as a daily routine. It is the responsibility of a parent to extend the reading experiences. Make it a part of daily life and encourage them to identify “reading moments” in life. Encourage them to read menus, food cartons, road signs or grocery lists.
8. Never force a child
Every child is different and the attention span varies with different age groups. By forcing kids to read, they will start viewing them as a punishment or a chore. The time you spend reading with your kid should depend upon their age and interest levels.
Napoleon Bonaparte said “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”. Is your family the one to move the world? Let's make it one. Happy parenting!