It is widely acknowledged that reading has many benefits. For one, it increases your child's vocabulary, improves writing skills and is also known to boost memory. With so much to gain, cultivating the habit of reading is undoubtedly one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child. However, while reading comes naturally for some children, it may be a tough nut to crack for others.
Nonetheless, parents should still try to cultivate a reading habit in your child, and it is important to do so while they are still young. This is because when kids start attending school, they may start to dread books for its academic undertones, and reading may start to seem like an arduous task.
To help you guide your child towards the right direction, here are some things you can do to encourage your child to develop a reading habit:
Taking Your Child to the Library
Make it a point to take your child to the library on a regular basis. For example, every Saturday can be Library Day for your family! Let your child sign up for his or her library card, as this will create a sense of ownership as well. While browsing through the library's extensive collection of books, guide your child towards choosing fun and suitable material to read. This can help them shape their choice of books in future.
If there are storytelling activities or reading programmes at your local library, do sign your child up for them too. By making the material in books come alive for them, they will start to see the joy in reading. Check out the list of events and activities at the libraries via NLB GoLibrary.
Tell Bedtime Stories
Most children do not like going to sleep immediately after bedtime is announced, but you can use this to your advantage. Lie down with them and allow your child to choose a short story of their choice. If they choose a long one, that will be even better! You will be able to read the story in parts on different nights, creating the suspense of wanting to find out what's next in the story.
The telling of bedtime stories can be a magical time for your kids. Not only can you bond with your child, you will also be able to heighten your child's interest in storybooks and their many tales.
Sharing Your Favourite Childhood Books
Can you recall which books you used to love as a child? Or better yet, have you kept any of them? If you have, bring them out for your children to enjoy. Share with them your thoughts on these books, and why they were your favourite.
This can be a beautiful bonding session, as you walk down memory's lane with your child. If you no longer have your old books, try getting hold of them online or in stores. Many classic titles have reprints at affordable prices.
Reading Books and Catching the Movies
While reading may not be every kid's top favourite, movies are hard to say no to! Reading the book first then catching the movie on it can help kids enjoy their books better. Discuss with your child about the book, whether they enjoyed the book or movie more, the differences between the book and the movie, and how the movie may have made the book's plot clearer for them. While it may seem like simple questions to answer, they can actually help your child gain critical thinking skills.
Help Them Build Their Own Collection of Books
Last but not least, make a trip down to the bookstores and help them select books to purchase. Having their own collection of books can make them feel more affectionate and proud about reading and owning their favourite paperbacks. When the books are their own, they will be able to make annotations and dogear the book's pages as they please, creating a wonderful sense of ownership. Also, there is nothing like the smell of new books, as avid readers will attest!
Tips aside, the onus is on you to help your child see the fun and exciting aspects of reading. With the right guidance and material, books can help your child see new perspectives, imagine new worlds and have more fun that they can ever imagine!
It is important to instill a reading habit in your child from a young age, as school may make your child feel that the act of reading is purely academic and mundane.
Join your child on his or her journey of reading and share your own childhood experiences; this creates the opportunity for bonding and your child is likely to resonate with your love for reading.
Reading need not be done on its own, it can be accompanied by complementary activities such as storytelling and movies to make it more fun for your young child.