As Plato once said,"Do not train children to learning by force and harshness,but direct them to it by what amuses their minds,so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius each."
So to instil reading habits among children a few points must be kept in mind by the parents as "Minds are like parachutes,they only function when they are open". -J.Dewar
The points to be kept in mind can be tabulated as:
It helps them learn about things,people,places,events.Start early with picture books,when kids associate words to pictures,new words open the imagination of a child.Reading words aloud with animation,colourful pictures,pop up images help little children to enjoy reading.
Cuddling, Make them sit on your lap :
Making a child sit on your lap,cuddling him while reading out loud ,helps the child to be comfortable and develops confidence.
Practice what you preach :
The parent should be a voracious reader and enjoys reading at all times.Children emulate their parents,so they too will imbibe these qualities.Reading should be a family time ritual and television viewing should be stopped and reading should be given importance.
Choose the Right Books:
Books should be chosen according to age of the child.Toddlers should be given picture books,small children can start with small fairy-stories,classics,biographies,older children can read mystery stories,adventures etc.
Provide Variety :
Not only books,try and inculcate reading of news papers,children's' magazines. This will help to broaden their horizon while reading.Give them space and time to gradually develop this hobby.
Any time is good for reading but bedtime is the best for children.Parents of 2-4yr old can actively tell stories at bedtime and later on it can be converted to reading time.This schedule will carry throughout life and children will develop good cognitive and social skills.Even while travelling parents should carry books for the kids.
Discussion on Books :
Parents should try to discuss the books read by the child.Ask questions and help them in their pronunciation of new words.Explain meanings of words and terms used.Help them use a dictionary at this juncture.
Enrol in a Library :
This will help the child to explore the place and give them freedom to chose a variety of books.They may be able to mingle with children who too are book lovers.Book clubs are also coming up in cities,which encourage reading sessions for children.
Use Technology :
Books have evolved from paperback to digital.If a child is tech savvy,then parents can invest in a KINDLE.It can help in finding reading websites for kids.Use of google and Wikipedia can be inculcated at a young age which can help them perform better at school.
Motivate and Reward :
Continuously a parent has to motivate a child for that strive to make it a pleasant activity than a mundane routine.If the child reads,is enthusiastic about discussing books,asking questions,encourage the child and reward the child with books of his or her choice.
Ask the child to make a wish list or inventory of books he wants to read.Ask the child to write a gist of the book read.Also ask the child to write five new words everyday after reading a book.With constant effort,a parent can instill a love for reading.
Listening to Audio Books :
Makes it interesting for a child to listen to stories in audio form.
Author Talks :
Parents and teachers should get together and ask school authorities to invite authors for talks to the school.Their talks can inspire a child and help him to acquire a love for books.
Communication and patience is the key to instil the reading habit.This is not bookish knowledge,being a parent i have followed these rules and today i can proudly say my kids are avid readers with a sound knowledge.
- Dr.Preeti Talwar
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