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Reading is fun when the interest is there. There’s no question that learning to read is an important milestone in a child’s life. Good reading skills help equip children for success, and children who read well are more likely to do well in school from an early age. But reading is also something many children struggle with, whether they have a hard time reading or just not interested in books.
In order to raise readers, here is what I recommend.
Some parents put off reading until children are 2 or 3 years old, unknown to them, even babies can benefit from being exposed to books. A child putting a book in their mouth or reaching for a book is an important developmental step. Whether they’re responding to the fact that they’re being cuddled while they read, that it’s a quiet time. For the younger ones, don’t feel that you have to actually read every word in the book. Flip the pages quickly, show them pictures and give the gist of the story as you go.
BESIEGED BY BOOKS
Children who grow up surrounded by books are more likely to enjoy them. Moreso, study has shown that there is a correlation between the number of books in a child’s home and success in school.
READ TO YOUR CHILD
Being read to creates such a great connection between parent and child. Half the job of getting your children interested in reading is your effort and not theirs. Make it a priority to read to them regularly and continue to read to them as they grow older. You need some down time–let all other sensory things take a back burner, just sit and look at pictures with your young child or baby. Whether or not there’s even a story, you’re pointing out things and looking to them to see what’s catching their interest.
JUST READ- ANY TIME
There’s really no specific time to read. I think it’s really great to read at any time. Carry books in your bag. Read in the cab while waiting for traffic, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, in the bath tub etc. There are other ways to read. Also, you don’t have to read for a long time every time. Just follow your child’s lead. You don’t have to read a book cover to cover. You can read backwards from the last page. You can ignore the words on the page and just talk about the picture. The best thing you can do to help a child be a reader is to talk to them. Get your child exposed to as many words as you can. Children find it easier to read words they recognize.
EMBRACE THEIR INTERESTS
For kids who are reluctant readers, the problem might be that they’re just not interested in what they’re being given to read. I heard of a story about a teacher who was having a hard time getting her own son excited about reading. Then she discovered a series of books about sports heroes. Before she knew it, her son was devouring them. When a child expresses an interest in something, for example your child starts looking at artworks – get books on art. If you can follow a child’s interest, they start seeing that the book is a place that answers their questions and matches what they’re interested in.
As with so many other behaviours, children learn a lot about reading by watching their parents. Children who love books likely have an adult role model who loves books as well. I’ll end with this quote. “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him”.– MAYA ANGELOU.