Six Tips To Help Nurture A Young Child’s Reading Habit
Even in this age of multiple screens and live streaming, reading is still considered a major milestone in child development. It is no surprise that many parents are anxious to encourage their kids to read, and make sure the habit sticks. How to go about it? Read up for 6 quick tips to help parents teach their children about the joys of reading.
- Let Kids See Parents Reading
Children learn best by example, and who better to set the example for a good reading habit other than their own parents? If kids see that their parents enjoy reading books, apart from their other daily activities, they will be more encouraged to pick up reading too!
- Set Aside Time for Reading Stories Together
The timeless routine of bedtime stories is a great way to begin the reading habit, especially for very young children. Storytime can start with showing toddlers picture books and reading aloud to them. As kids get older, they can read along with you, point to words, and ask questions. Not only is this a great way to nurture a reading habit, but it is an excellent means of spending quality time with your loved ones.
- Pick Books With Colorful Pictures and Simple Words
Young kids are very tuned in to visual cues and stimuli, so it is best to keep this in mind when picking reading material. Children will be more intrigued by a storybook with cute and colourful pictures, than by books without any illustration. When picking books, parents must also consider the length of words and sentences, especially if the kids like to read out loud. Youngsters may be frustrated if they have to stumble over difficult pronunciation, so work up slowly from simple words to more complex ones, as well as longer texts.
- Make Books Accessible in the House
Children are also more likely to pick up reading if they learn to regard books as part of their everyday lives, and not as mere curiosities to line up on a shelf. Have books present and visible in the house, within reach of the children. Of course, this does not mean that every home should be converted into a library. Simply having books out in family spaces such as the living room helps send the message that books and family do mix.
- Let Kids Pick the Books
As kids get older, they may express interest in certain types of stories or topics. Parents would do well to note their kids’ interests when picking books, or better yet, let the kids pick the books themselves. It may be tempting to force a kid to read some “must-read” texts but compelling them to read things they couldn’t care less about will only make them resent reading, view it as a chore, or as a dull exercise. Let kids explore the genres they like, both fiction and non-fiction. A caveat though; although kids may pick the books, the parents must have the final say as to whether a book is age appropriate.
- Set Up a Space for Reading
Some kids may prefer to remain undisturbed when they are delving into an interesting book. Parents can help them out by setting up small reading nooks in the home. These can be as simple as a kid-sized comfy chair beside a small shelf of books, or as whimsical as a tent filled with books and cushions. The possibilities are endless! Regardless, of the form of the reading nook, the objective is to create a safe and comfortable space for reading, at all hours of the day.
Reading is not only a great habit, but also a necessary life skill to cultivate. Parents who recognize this will take the additional effort to ingrain reading in their kids. Most crucial to this effort is the mindset of parents towards reading; if they view it as dull or tiresome, the kids likely will too. In a sense, nurturing a child’s reading habit is a family effort. It will not only help kids, but also encourage adults to re-examine how they read and learn, and improve their skills as well.