Fostering a culture of reading in your child can widen their worlds and spark their creativity and imagination.
While you may have heard the importance of reading to your child, did you know that the many benefits of reading include increased general knowledge, a positive impact on academic achievement, enhanced reading ability, and vocabulary growth? Decades of research suggests that time spent reading for pleasure could be a key indicator for the future success of a child – even more important than their family’s socio-economic status. It is therefore not surprising that many parents are interested in getting their children hooked on books. But certain reading practices used by parents and teachers could end up putting children off reading. On the other hand, though, there is compelling evidence that children who may not want to read for pleasure can be influenced to take it up.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your little one to fall in love with reading:
Read out aloud
Reading aloud fosters a love of books in children, and helps children get hooked on books as they associate reading with pleasure. It is important that the reading be done in an enthusiastic way that children find engaging.
Ensure access to books
Children who have easy access to engaging texts do more reading. Parents who may not be able to buy books for their child could take the child to a public library and assist the child in borrowing books. Another option could be downloading suitable free e-books for children to read.
Create a space for reading
It is important to establish a comfortable space and conducive atmosphere for reading as well as set aside time for leisure reading. To enable children to fully engage with and take pleasure from reading, parents should create a comfortable and quiet space for reading. This could be as simple as a corner in a room which could be decorated as the reading space. This will encourage children to pick up a book and spend some time in the reading corner.
Let children choose books
When forced to read a book selected by a parent or teacher, children don’t always enjoy the reading and sometimes did not read the books. The freedom to select books leads to a positive attitude towards reading, better engagement with the book, and a more enjoyable reading experience. Additionally, children should be allowed to read whatever materials they find interesting, be it comics, magazines, or poetry. Doing otherwise may reduce their potential to engage in recreational reading.
Talk about books
Having discussions about books is another way to spark children’s interest in reading and in books. However, these should centre on books that might appeal to the child rather than on the books you as an adult find engaging. Children who may not be interested in reading will have subjects and topics that they are excited about, such as sports, movies, or animals. Discussing books on a topic or subject that the child finds exciting will likely whet their appetite for that book. When children find reading fun and enjoyable, they are likely to repeatedly spend time with books, become engaged readers, and gain the benefits of leisure reading.