How to Develop Reading Habit in KidsMon, 01 Feb by Kunal
The moment a kid sees a new thing, they are inquisitive! They want to touch, feel and hold it in their hands! This is how a curious mind of a little kid works. This is where a role of a parent is important. This is where you come into the picture! This is when you introduce them to things, which douse the fire of curiosity inside them. Things like colors, pictures, words, textures, characters, illustrations, and numbers.
Or something, which has it all, BOOKS!
What should you as parents do to help your kids become good and avid readers? How do you instill the hobby of reading in kids?
Well, it is not difficult; the key is to keep trying and start early!
When it comes to developing the habit of reading in kids, many parents out there are in a fix. Kids just don't want to read. They want to play outdoors, watch TV, or, most commonly these days, play on phones and tablets, but they won't pick a book willingly to read. The prime reason I feel is the introduction. The sooner you introduce them to books, the easier it is to instill reading as a habit.
In the Indian scenario, the pressure of academics is immense, and it is very overwhelming for the kids. When you ask them to read non-academic books, they run away from the idea. The overexposure to books in school bores them, and they look for something different and innovative when they come home. When you introduce them to books early, it has a lasting impression. It prepares them for school and helps them adapt to the reading-focused learning environment in future classrooms, but at the same time keeps them going back to their love for books that were first introduced to them, which were non-academic!
Introducing books early is now a given, but how to do that is fairly simple too!
Reading has to be a hobby that needs to be cultivated actively at home. Below are a few pointers that will help you in introducing your kids to the amazing world of books.
Create a reading corner at home
There should be a small library or a quiet corner at home for books, where both kids and adults can sit together and read; it should also be easily accessible to the kids so that they can pick the books that they like whenever they like and read them.
Cuddle and 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 develop confidence.
Practice what you preach
Kids are best at copying their elders. Therefore, parents need to be extra careful of what they speak and how they act in front of their children. So, if you want your child to inculcate the habit of reading, make sure you set the example by reading books yourself. Read every day – be it a book, magazine or a newspaper – surely enough, your child will try to copy you. You can consider making reading a family ritual; it's definitely better than watching television together.
Choose the right books
Books should be chosen according to the age of the child. Toddlers should be given picture books; young children can start with short fairy stories, classics, biographies, and older children can read mystery stories, adventures, etc. When deciding the books for your child, consider the following things:
Books with Pictures
An illustrated book with colorful pictures and graphics is any day more capturing and interesting than one without them. Introduce them to illustrated books; it will help them in understanding the book better while keeping them engaged.
Choose the right books according to the interests of the child. For example, if your child is fond of a particular sport, get them a book of that sport, about that sport, or a biography of a famous personality belonging to that sport.
Choose easy-to-understand and age-specific books. There are interactive and gimmicky books for children below the age of 2, which have flaps to lift and read, pop-ups, and textures for babies to feel and touch. Age-specific books are specially designed to help children in their growth.
Books from different genres like sports, science, history, and fiction will help them be interested in various topics and not just one.
Read from moments in life
Try to get the child to read and relate to life's everyday content like a grocery list, road signs, restaurant bills, etc.
Not only books, try and encourage other forms of reading content such as newspapers, magazines, etc. This will help them broaden their horizon while reading. Give them space and time to gradually develop this hobby.
Encourage sharing and exchanging books
Sharing and exchanging books with friends and family and making them join book clubs will inculcate the habit of socializing. Looking at close friends and family read will also motivate them to pick up books to read at home. Also, discussing books with people will help them learn varied perspectives and reactions to the book and make it a joyous activity.
Read for them
Read to your kids and make it a ritual! Until they start reading themselves, dedicate a time in the day to read to your kids every day. Your children will love this little family time and look forward to it. They will associate this small activity with comfort, and closeness, which helps in building confidence.
Usually, any time is good for reading, but bedtime is the best. Parents of 2-4 year old can actively read stories at bedtime that can be later converted to reading time. If put into effect properly, this schedule can carry on throughout life and will help children develop good cognitive and social skills. While traveling, consider carrying books for your kids.
Read with expressions
When you read a story from the book, make it interesting. Change the tone and your expressions dramatically as the story unfolds. It then becomes fun for the child to interpret the story. Taking care of the way a character would speak and laying importance to the punctuations will keep the child interested in the story and make it enjoyable for them – Just like a movie playing in front of them– so don't hesitate, just make some noises and mimic the way a character would speak. It helps in understanding the meaning of words and phonemes!
Encourage discussions and questions
Make it a habit of discussing the books read by your child. Ask questions and help them in their pronunciation of new words.
Ask them about their favorite character and why is it their favorite? Point at the characters from the illustrations so that they relate to them from their imagination. While reading, before proceeding to the next page, ask them predictive questions about what is going to happen next? This will keep them engaged till the end.
Explain the meanings of words and terms used. Help them use a dictionary at this juncture. Show genuine interest in what they are reading and ask questions to know the level of their understanding.
Take them to story-reading sessions and movies based on the books
Movies and books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are the best of all time and will be read, loved, and watched for generations to come!
Taking them for story reading sessions will help your child come across other kids with similar interests and help them understand the book better!
Take them to bookstores and library
Bookstores have innovated to become a place where one can sit, read, and browse while enjoying a cup of coffee. Take your kids to book cafes and let them explore, spend time with books, and choose books on their own. While they are busy browsing, you can enjoy your reading time, sipping tea or coffee.
Enrolling your child in a book library is a good investment as it will help your child explore and choose the book from a wide range of options and give them an opportunity to mingle with other children, who are also book lovers. You can also take them to the numerous book fairs happening every year. If there are book clubs in your city, consider enrolling your child to enjoy the reading sessions.
Gift them books as rewards
You have to continuously motivate your child to make a mundane reading routine a pleasant activity. If the child reads enthusiastically, loves discussing books, and asks questions, make sure you encourage this habit by rewarding them with books of their choice.
Innovate new techniques
Create your own ideas to promote reading. Some kids may take in the habit easily, and some may take time. Watch closely for your child's interests, discuss what excites them and accordingly prepare a plan around it. For example, for game lovers, a game for who comes first in finding the most words from a list given, from a chapter in a book, might be more fun and will increase their knowledge of words.
You can also ask the child to make a wish list or inventory of books they want to read. Once the child is done, you can ask them to write a gist of the book and 5 new words they learned from the book every day.
Reading does not have to be just books. You can make reading interesting for a child by making use of technology. Some of the new technologies like 'Kindle,' online blogs, stories in audio forms, platforms like Google and Wikipedia, podcasts, etc., have made reading not just about books. This newness in reading will trigger their interest and re-instill their love for reading.
Encourage them to source more information on their school projects on Wikipedia and Google, which will also give them a sense of independence and self-reliance.
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