Reading helps a child’s language skills grow. Books, irrespective of whether they are purely for gaining knowledge or a fairytale helps parents teach important values and life skills. The advantages of leisure reading include increased academic performance, vocabulary development and an increase in general knowledge.
Kids often tend to associate reading with work, not pleasure. It is the desire – curiosity and interest that the parents need to awaken. Here are a few tips to make your children fall in love with books:
Be a role model: Kids learn a lot from observation. If they see you reading, they will try to mimic you. That’s half a battle won.
Read together: No matter how busy your day is, set aside an hour either before bedtime or anytime during the day to read together. Ask questions – “What did you like about the story?” or “Would you have done the same if you were the hero?” Switch roles some nights and ask your child to read to you.
Personalised story books: Good books are friends that are always ready to talk to us and if the stories have names that are relatable, what else can one ask for? Personalised storybooks is an emerging concept that helps you customize the name of the hero, how they look and the storyline.
Respect their choices: Take cognizance of what your child likes to read. When you ask them questions about their favorite book or tell them how you liked it too, it gives them immense joy.
Travel companion: Bring books for doctor appointments or long car drives. They make for a good companion instead of electronic gadgets.
Don’t push too hard: It takes time for children to get used to a new concept. You cannot expect them to start taking interest in reading from day one. Consistency is the key here. Keep reading to them and make it fun.
Connect your daily experiences to stories: As you read a story, connect the dots or relate it to incidents that happened in your life. Alternatively, create a new book based on what’s inside your home.
Rereading the same story multiple times: It is absolutely alright if your child wants to reread their favorite story over and over again. It helps sharpen their memory and increases their inclination towards reading.
Storytelling: Encourage your child to create their own story or retell a story that you have just read together. Let their imagination and creativity flow. Do not stop them if they go wrong.
Different locations: Read books in different places. If you are reading a story about animals then sit in your backyard where they might relate to a butterfly or a grasshopper. If you have a story about a museum, then take a trip together along with the storybook. Do not forget to capture the happiness on your child’s face as he relates to the objects on display.
Reading together builds strong connections that last a lifetime. The seven cognitive strategies of effective readers are activating, inferring, monitoring-clarifying, questioning, searching-selecting, summarizing, and visualizing-organizing. Remember, reading shouldn’t be limited to any particular genre. All reading is good reading.
Jain is an author with Merlinwand