How to make your Child a Fabulous Reader
Posted by Strategic Communications, JGI Group on 12 Dec 2018
How to make your Child a Fabulous Reader?
As parents, how many of us think that we have any contribution in making our children read? Unfortunately, most of the parents assume that inculcating both the skill and habit of reading and eventually the love for reading among children is only the teachers’ responsibility. Parents and guardians also play a significant role in developing and honing a child’s reading skills. Some of the best schools encourage parents’ active involvement to help children discover the joys of reading. But first ask yourself, ‘Why should my child read beyond academics?’ Reading apart from academics or school books has many benefits. It not only helps children in their school work but outside the boundaries of formal education as well.
How does reading help my child?
Having the right reading skills can open a range of added skills, such as better comprehension, boosted creativity & imagination, problem-solving, and of course, verbal and writing skills. But reading can also mold a child’s character and personality. Children become better at communication, developing a sensitivity to life and people, and being exposed to different perspectives to life. This makes them into innovators, inventors, leaders, and world-changers. But most of all, they will know the sheer joy of delving into a world of experiences right where they are.
How should my child read?
Reading is a fun-filled activity, no doubt about that. But it is important to make sure kids are comfortable enough before they start off. Creating the right reading environment is key to improving reading habits.
Teach your child the correct way to sit or recline to avoid body strains / pains and development of bad body postures through their growth. Ensure there is good lighting. Set a time and duration (e.g. 20-30 minutes) for reading every day and stick to it. Use this time for reading alone with no distractions. Distractions can include TV, loud music, too many people, other noises, or even their toys in the room. When you make this setting, make it a part of their routine.
Living in a technological age, most parents now prefer using interactive e-books stored on electronic devices. The general preference for hard copies among everybody has come down. Although the debate is on as to which is better – hard-copy or soft-copy – consider exposing your children to both forms and their pros & cons, and let them choose what is comfortable for them.
When should my child begin reading?
There is no age bar to develop reading skills. Children as young as a few months old can learn to familiarize the letters of one or more languages, even though they do not know how to speak or write yet. This is why parents often read to their children even as babies. Much is communicated while reading to them.
How should I pick the right book / books?
Picking books that are age-appropriate is healthy. You can split your preferences based on your child’s age category and that only makes it easier to know what suits your child. There are Kindergarteners, Lower Primary-Schoolers (6-10), Upper Primary-Schoolers (11-12), and High-Schoolers (13-15).
The book-world is too vast. There are books of different authors and many languages. And there are different genres and categories too. To ease the process, make a list of the most popular ones for children. Check out a variety of genres, sub-genres, and authors. It could be anything from fiction & non-fiction to comics & biographies, etc. You can even consider reading a series to help maintain your child’s reading momentum.
Another tip is to start with topics they already like, especially if your child dislikes reading and thinks of it as a boring activity. Let them choose the book or story they want because children need to exercise their autonomy in order to explore, experience, and enjoy reading.
How can I make reading fun and engaging?
Reading a story need not be just plain reading. For the younger ones, don’t make it a one-way street; encourage them to read to you if you want them to pick up reading skills faster. Get them to act it out and use voice modulation. Get creative and use props, illustrations, or word games from anywhere to bring the story to life. Making real-life connections help in better comprehension to relate to events and situations from their own lives. Then, reading is no longer seen as a tedious task, but as something personal. Also, let them reread the same story if they want to.
How can the journey of reading continue?
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Garrison Keillor, an American Author
Reading is a never-ending journey. But there is much you can do to improve reading skills. Once your child begins to get accustomed to reading, dedicate a bookshelf to contain books that your child reads or loves – build a mini-library at home. Start gifting them books to show how valuable they are (both, the child and the books). Extend their reading space with new reading partners. It helps build relationships and go beyond one’s comfort zone. Take them out to the local library, book fairs, and book releases. But also allow them to take a step back and try out other genres in the journey. Be patient as they unravel their reading preferences and style.
How can I go beyond just reading?
While you read, ask relevant questions. Take their personal opinions. Make note of the parts they enjoy the most. As they grow older, encourage them to ask questions to themselves and write down thoughts and ideas that seem important to them.
Reflection is the best way to know how something has affected us. As much as reading enlightens and enriches a person, reflection completes that. Even as you ask questions and make note of their responses, connect with their passions and current events. Allow them to express and voice out opinions without hindrance.
If you are concerned about the kind of books your child may choose and be curious about, you can monitor on the content of the book before giving the green signal. As the child grows up, continue to give him / her the space to choose books according to their liking & interests. You can teach them to discern and still keep an eye simultaneously.
What is the best way to make my child love reading?
As much as we want our kids to become voracious readers, it is very essential to keep in mind that everybody has different levels of interest in different activities. Some kids become crazy about reading, some may read moderately, some may read occasionally, while some may struggle to read only two pages.
So, don’t force your child into the reading habit. Give them space, time, and autonomy to make the choice to read or not. If the child’s reading habit wanes and doesn’t stick for long, consider encouraging them to read again. If they still don’t prefer, leave it. Although reading is a joyful activity, it cannot be forcefully done – otherwise, it will only lose its flavor. But your child’s reading habit can be one of the best investments you can make for his / her life.
“You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I, you can never be — I had a mother who read to me.” – Strickland Gillilan, an American Poet.