7 Tips To Make Your Child Fall In Love With Reading
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I started reading and talking to my first born, when she was still in my tummy. I had read that babies can hear voices even when they’re inside. So I listened to a lot of music, and told her happy stories. When she was born, that story-telling relationship continued.My husband and I are avid readers, and have a large bookshelf at home. My daughter is a voracious reader. My son, who is younger, found his swords and blocks more fascinating than books. But I didn’t give up on him, thankfully, and I’m thrilled that it all paid off. Here’s how we made it work.
Our top 7 tips to raise an avid reader:
- Slot a reading time – Make time every day when you can sit down with your child and read to them. You should start this ritual when they’re babies. They may not understand the words as babies, but they will respond to your soothing voice. As they grow older, it will become a habit for them to sit with a book just before they sleep, or when you come back from work – the one time when they have all your attention, and it strengthens your bond with them too.
2. Read aloud – I have always read aloud to my kids and used my fingers to point to the words. When they were younger, they couldn’t read the words, but would follow my finger. In schools, they learn the concept of sight words, i.e., words that are used regularly and that kids may not be able to spell out phonetically. By pointing to words and reading them aloud, children start remembering words and develop an interest in trying to read.
3. Choose age-appropriate books – When you read to toddlers, choose pop-up books, bath-time books, or touch and feel books. For older kids, start with the ones you loved. My kids got hooked to Enid Blyton. Their favourite book till date is Faraway Tree, as is mine. One thing I did was that I would make both my kids sit down together from time to time. My younger one actually got hooked to books seeing how animated my daughter would get when I read her some adventure stories.
4. Make reading fun – Kids love drama; actually, so do we. When you read to them, change your voice and make it interesting by reading aloud in different tones and voices. If your children enjoy fairy tales, you can play dress up and enact their favourite story. A princess or a gallant knight fighting the dragons are always a welcome sight. The kids love it. It keeps them wanting more. The more they read, the more vivid will be their imagination.
5. Make reading enjoyable – Yes, we want them to read good literature and learn all the right things. But don’t get hung up on that. Get them books about things they like. If they like horses, Black Beauty is a great read. Thomas the Tank Engine is very interesting, as it talks about vehicles and gives them lessons in manners and attitude. So choose books and series that interest them. It takes care of 2 things in 1 shot.
6. Be a role model – When kids see parents reading, they always ask questions about what they’re reading, what the story is, who the people on the cover are etc. The book may not be appropriate for their age, but it will pique their interest. Chances are that they may just try and emulate you by sitting down next to you with their own book. They may not be able to read, but looking at pictures will get them interested, so encourage that.
7. Find a library – Join a library. Take your children to a library so that they can browse around and see other people reading. The feeling of choosing a book and then getting to take it home is quite exciting for them. It will help open up a whole new world for them.
Buying books can be expensive, but it’s a habit that should be encouraged in children and adults alike. You can get the kids to exchange books with their friends. They get a new book to read, and you don’t shell out anything extra. Isn’t that what we did growing up?