A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party,
a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.
Reading is one of life’s most delightful pleasures that opens the window to culture, knowledge and independence. It accelerates both cerebral and emotional development. It makes you smarter; enhances analytical skills; expands vocabulary; and hones writing skills and memory. There is evidence that reading not only leads to reading and educational attainment, but also amplifies general knowledge, social skills and community participation. A survey by Booktrust, UK’s largest reading charity, says people who read books are significantly more likely to be happy and content with their life.
Inculcating a reading habit from a tender age ensures a continued habit of reading during adulthood. However, children today are far from being avid readers, being too busy with television, phones and social media. A parent can play a huge role in shaping a child’s reading habit.
Here are a few simple ways, with consistency as the underlying mantra:
Make reading fun
Reading doesn’t have to be a boring task. 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. Get creative and set up a reading tent or a mini library in your children’s room to encourage reading.
Read from a variety of genres
“Snowhite and the seven dwarfs” is a great story but reading doesn’t have to be restricted to traditional stories. Children may learn to enjoy reading non-fiction books, including encyclopaedias, as well as newspapers aimed at children. Comic books also are a great way to stimulate their interest in reading.
Let your child see you read
Observing you read anything is a great motivator and example. If your children see your interest in reading they may try to imitate you. Soon enough they will develop a love of reading and suggesting some interesting reads to you.
Be consistent with reading. Read to your children when they are still visual learners, and read together when they have learnt the basics. Fix a reading time and when your children have finished reading, reward them–nothing fancy, just simple tokens to reinforce reading. 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. A return time will create urgency in them to finish the book.
Read everywhere you go
Reading doesn’t have to be structured around books and newspapers. Encourage your children to read street signs, posters, and ads. If you find a new word, enlighten them.
Board games such as word bingo or memory and rhyming cards are a fun way to learn about words, letter sounds and reading. You can even create your own cards by cutting out pictures and writing words on cards and getting your children to match them. For early readers, put up letter magnets on the refrigerator to pique their interest and to create familiarity with small words.
So help your children build a healthy reading habit now and they will thank you later for this priceless gift.