A love of reading is one of the best traits you can instill in your child. It directly affects how well they do in school, expands their vocabulary and helps them develop emotionally. If you love reading, you’ve probably imagined how you’ll encourage your child to have that same love.
But with so many other activities competing for their attention, raising a child to love reading is becoming increasingly difficult. Here are some tips to inspire your little bookworm:
Not all children are natural readers. Many of them need encouragement and support. There can be many different reasons for this. Perhaps they are more interested in other activities like playing with their toys or prefer to watch TV. Though it might be a bit of a battle at first, you need to persevere. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to make any meaningful progress, the important thing is to try not to stress too much or try and pressure your child.
First, rule out any issues that might be preventing your child from enjoying reading. Do they have issues with their eyesight? Young children can’t communicate very well about how they see things, and clumsiness is often blamed for children bumping into things or tripping. A visit to the optometrist will be able to put your mind at rest, and if your child does have problems with their vision, you can choose glasses to order online or at the optometrist.
Keep your reading time fun and the books light and enjoyable. You shouldn’t make it feel like a chore or homework. If the sight of a book sends your child into a tantrum, you could try using audiobooks in the first instance to get them used to follow along with a narrative. You can then slowly transitioning to books.
Reading has huge benefits that last your entire life. For children, it helps to get them off to the best start by:
You can start reading to your child as soon as they are born. Even though they have no concept of it, they will love to hear the sound of your voice and will come to associate reading as a special time you spend together. Starting when they are a baby will help yo develop the habit that will continue right through their childhood.
Just before sleep is a good time to read with your child. If you incorporate it into their daily sleep routine, they’ll begin to associate reading with spending quality time with you and with relaxation.
Children take their behavioral cues from the people around them, which is why it’s important to set a good example. If you spend all of your free time watching TV or using your phone, then this is the behavior you are modeling for your children, and that’s what they want to to.
Let your children see you read, often. Talk to them about what you are reading and answer any questions they have. You want to normalize reading for them. Picking up a book to read should be a natural thing to them, not anything to do with homework or because they aren’t allowed to watch the TV.
Stories are great, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of reading. Make words a part of your everyday life. When you’re out and about, practice reading things life number plates, menus, signs, food packaging, anything with words.
Make them excited to read by letting them create their own little space for reading. You can put a chair or a beanbag, accessories, and of course, books. Let them choose the books they want to put in their special reading corner.
Don’t hide books away out of sight to keep the place tidy. You have kids, the place is never going to be tidy again. Books aren’t just for reading at school, or for homework. Have them around the house, put them in their backpack so that they can always read if they want to. Have your books displayed in the house too. z
Try and relate what you’re reading to your real life. For instance, if they are reading a book that has a dog in it, talk about your dog, or a dog that you might see on the street. Eventually, your child will need less prompting and will start interacting more and more.
Getting your first library card is a special moment. Talk to your child about the library and all of the great stories that are there. Make a day of your first trip and when you’re there, let your childchoose their own books to take home and read.
If you’re finding it difficult to get your child away from their other toys and activities, try and find a book that reflects their interests. For example, if your child likes to play with cars, buy a book with those characters in it. If there’s a particular TV show they’re obsessed with, there will most likely be a companion book (or 10) to go with it. When you do let them have screen time, read the book that goes with the movie to encourage them to read and talk about it.
You may be a little tired of reading the same book over and over again but repetition is great for younger children. As they hear the story, they will begin to recognize the story, point to pictures, and turn the pages.
A wide variety of books is vital to help fuel your child’s imagination and knowledge of the world. Most children will develop an attachment to a particular book or character and refuse to read anything else, keep trying though, and eventually, they will start to accept the other types of books.
Reading encouragement and bedtime stories shouldn’t be left to the same person every day. All parents and carers should be involved. In fact, research has shown that it is particularly beneficial for fathers to read to their children, increasing the speed of language development. Of those children involved in the research, it was found that those two-year-olds who were read to by their fathers have better language development at age four than other children.
Raising your child to be an avid reader can be tough. Some children instinctively love to read, but others need to be encouraged and supported through the process. As parents, we need to be consistent in our efforts to encourage our children to enjoy reading and also set a good example for them too.