“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
It is said that there is no right age to pick up that first book to inculcate a reading habit in children. Reading is more than a hobby. Children are like a sponge and exposing them to the world of books will ensure they become smart, inquisitive, imaginative adults. Your child can start developing good reading habits at home even before they learn to read.
Developing a reading habit right from childhood ensures a continued habit of reading during adulthood. However, children today are far from being avid readers, being too busy with television, or playing on the phone and tablets. A parent can play a huge role in shaping a child’s reading habit.
How parents read to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can have a huge impact on how much they love reading and how readily they learn to read on their own one day.
From the day your newborn comes home from the hospital, a parent can start raising a reader. It is said, young babies, respond to the soothing rhythm of a voice reading aloud, as well as to be cuddled on a warm lap. If you make reading to your child part of your daily routine, he /she will grow up loving to read.
Here are some simple steps to inculcate a love of reading in your kids:
- Read books that are rich in illustrations
Make reading fun. Choose from a range of interactive and pop-up books. Add drama to the way you narrate a story in order to retain your children’s interest in the story.
- Share the reading experience
Point out things about books; show your child how to hold a book, and what it’s like to turn the pages. This will make it easier for young children to read independently when they’re ready.
- Relate plots to real life
If you’re reading a book about the grocery store, engage your child in conversation about a time he or she came to the grocery store with you. Ask open-ended questions (who, what, where, and why) to children aged 3 and older to open a dialogue of storytelling. Relating a book’s plot to a real-life situation helps them remember the book and vocabulary words.
- Read along
The best way to develop a child’s interest in books is reading along with them. Reading short stories aloud in an animated way will catch their attention and will help them retain it. Don’t be afraid to imitate voices or make silly sounds. Recognizing and hearing these sounds helps your children to speak full words.
· Lead by example
Whether you love books, magazines let your child see you reading. Kids learn from what they observe. If they see that you are excited about reading, your child is likely to catch your enthusiasm.
- Read regularly
Be consistent with reading. Read to your children when they are still visual learners, and read together when they have learnt the basics. You can also make reading a part of their night-time routine thereby creating an association between reading and relaxing.
- Visit a library
Find out about your nearest library. The ambience and the vast array of books there may inspire a love of books in your children. The return time will create urgency in them to finish the book.
- Create a reading space
Create a corner for reading in your child’s room. Identify a comfortable corner that has ample lighting available. Also ensure that there is a place to keep a book or two. If possible, place a small book shelf for their books. This will help the children to learn to relate comfort with reading.
- Find reading moments
Reading is not just about sitting down with a good book. It is part of daily life too. As you go through the day help your child find reading moments. They may be things as simple as road signs or a grocery list.
The early years are crucial for a child’s development and hence an ideal time to inculcate a reading habit into children. Children who read are more likely to have a more focused attention span, grasping power and memory. This helps them in their academics as well. Children get to experience the world through the books and stories they read. Simple stories can teach children to become better human beings.
Reading is among one of the most valuable gifts that parents can give to their children. Help your child build a healthy reading habit early on in life and it will stay with them forever.