Make your child start reading: In a world where entertainment is in our hands, you may ask “Why to read? “Reading maketh a full man”, a part of a quote made by Benjamin Franklin emphasizes the importance of reading.
Reading is like exercise for your mind, and it is just as important as physical exercise. In the past reading was something addictive where adults would sit on benches reading books and newspapers for hours.
But today researchers are enforcing the society with the importance of gaining knowledge through reading. Reading has become a dying habit because more easy ways to consume knowledge have emerged.
What is Reading?
Reading does not need any clear definition. But for the sake of science let us put it into a simpler term. It is the process of decoding symbols (letters or words) to arrive at a meaning.
This is an active process where the reader keeps on constructing the meaning of words.
The primary purpose of reading is to understand what the text says and ultimately the reader should be able to gain new insight into knowledge.
In the case of reading a story, it can be an imaginary process. Here the reader understands the story utilizing imagination in his/her head.
Stages of Reading
According to some researches, reading involves a negotiation between the words and the reader. The process that involves recognizing words and leading to the development of comprehension is composed of 3 stages.
The first stage is the pre-reading stage, where the reader scans through the contents of the book and getting a general preview of it. This helps to develop a purpose to read the text.
During the reading process, the reader tries to understand what is in the text. This where the negotiation part comes into action. This will be the second stage of reading
For the final stage, also known as the post-reading stage, the reader will go through the initial assumptions he made about the text and conclude the text at the end.
Incredible Benefits when you make your child start reading
Reading has its arsenal of benefits. As a parent, nothing is more important than raising your children to have good morals in every aspect of their life. This is not something taught in the school.
Laying the foundation for your child to gain knowledge will benefit immensely. So, let us discuss the benefits of reading
Reading is Food for the brain
Just how our body needs food to function optimally, our brain needs to keep learning new things to function at peak performance.
Studies have shown that reading can change a human brain structure and improve cognitive processes.
Reading makes a child smarter because they regularly consume new knowledge.
Humans are the only species that can transfer knowledge over a gap of a few generations.
Written language separates us from other species, this is what helps store the knowledge of past generations.
Presently through books, many can access this knowledge and improve themselves
Better conversation skills
Books can expand your child’s vocabulary, as a result, your child will be able to express him/herself better.
They will be skilled at general conversation as they keep learning new words and sentence structures.
Reading is one of the best ways to improve communication skills. There are other ways of improving communication skills and we have outlined the same in our blog 9 BEST WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR KID’S COMMUNICATION SKILL.
Improved focus and concentration
As children are being exposed to a fast-paced world their attention span may grow to be weak. This will decrease their productivity drastically.
This can be fixed by reading, it helps the child to concentrate and pay attention to what the book says, as they immerse themselves in the book the world around them will fade away.
Reading for at least 20 minutes a day has proven to be effective in improving concentration.
As the habit grows, the child will develop more focus towards other aspects in life rather than reading itself
Reading Open minds
A book can portrait different types of people with different.
Bit of reading sets in the kid is more prone to read anything that captures its interest. Search habit helps the kid to study better and enjoy a much complete life.
Improves Reasoning and Logic
Your child’s reasoning and logic skill improve as he/she read.
You may notice it by having a general conversation with them. This is quite important, especially later in your life Improves critical and analytical thinking
Reading can improve your child’s ability to analyze a problematic situation and come up with a solution through critical thinking. Problem-solving is something that will come up every day in their life from finishing their homework to building a Lego toy house.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Reading offers a safe and productive replacement for negative thinking. With the advancement of technology, more children tend to be addicted to screens. This in return can make them more stressed and anxious. Replacing them with reading can help your child reduce the negative effects of screen time.
Tips to make your child start reading
Reading is not a habit that is to be pushed to the stage where the child can start reading. Rather it is something that needs to be started when the child it is just a toddler.
The first seeds of forming a habit of reading is sown when the parents spend time with the toddler reading a book to them.
More early you start and the more frequent you do it. More the chances you have to raise a reader.
Father’s contribution to child development is limitless. You can know more by reading our trending artical 11 Amazing ways FATHER’S can contribute to child’s success. Reading to your kid is one of the ways fathers can play an active role in developing this habit of reading in children.
Choose books to Gadgets
Very often than not children tend to ask for toys or gadgets. Specially in an age where they are not familiar with reading.
It should be of no surprise to you that they will not walk to the book section of the store and ask you for a book.
You need to be cognizant of this and make a conscious decision to buy children age appropriate books whenever possible rather than gadgets.
Children tend to use what they see in their house. They play not only with toys.
You can even give them couple of twigs and stones. And you will find your kid playing with it. We recommend you to read our interesting article Loose-Part Play – Best way keep your child Engaged.
So, you should remember that when you stock your house with books the more chances are there that your kids will walk up to it. Just to at least see the pictures if they are very young to read.
Reading as a habit can be formed only when parent understands the importance of it. And makes a schedule time for reading.
Just the way that we schedule time for food, for homework, for playing, for hobby classes.
The schedule time can be just before their nap or any other time of the day.
If you are in the habit of reading to your kid before the kid goes to sleep this also is part of the schedule time.
Have a reading desk / corner
Have a place where books can be found. Make it reachable for children so they did not depend on an adult to reach out to a book.
Also, a small reading desk with lively colours. Placed in a well-lit place. Will be off good aid for your child to read.
Make sure the environment is calm and peaceful for your child hey and the disturbance is minimum.
Do not disturb
Reading needs a lot of brain work. It also needs concentration. Especially when the book is gripping your mind is in its own world filled with imagination full.
If a child keeps getting disturbed when the child is engrossed in reading there are good chances that the child will abandon the book.
So, ensure that hey no one disturbs the child during reading time even if it is very tempting to call the child a glass of milk, or to do some small chore for you.
It will be much better if you have all the needed material for your child on the reading desk. Along with a bottle of water so that your child does not get disturbed while reading.
Have material available
Children need all the help that they can get in introducing and choosing books for them.
It is our duty to be well informed of the books that will benefit your child. Know the age appropriate books that can be purchased for your kid.
If you are also ill equipped to find the books that are out there. Take a trip to a library along with your kid and seek help from the librarian.
Even the school’s library or librarian will be of help to you to suggest good books for your kids.
The main point is to have books available for your kids so that they learn to pick them up and start reading.
Give them Options
Take your kid along with you when you shop books for them.
Show them options of books. Give them a small brief of what they can expect from the book. (Tell them the Genre). Is it action or fantasy or horror? Let them pick as per their liking.
Once they tell you the genre they like. Give them some books in that genre and let they feel the book, run through it, and chose the book they will be interested to read.
Having them chose a book will give them more motivation to read the book than you are selecting a book for them.
Introduce a series
I have noticed in two of my kids that they prefer reading a series rather than standalone books.
It could be because they get familiar with the characters. And when the characters catch up with their imagination it is easy for them to build up on it. They sail along with the characters and go on new adventures.
Also, series are designed in a way to have the readers hooked and continue to read further in the series.
Use this to your advantage to build reading habits in your children.
Read to Them, Read with Them
As mentioned earlier it is good to start very early the habit of reading. You start by reading to them and slowly when children grow old, they will be able to read on their own.
Spend time with them so that they can read aloud, and you can read along with them.
Handhold them at each stage till they can independently read and appreciate the content on their own.
Storytelling is also one of the amazing ways in which you can engage with your child. The numerous benefits of story telling are addressed in the article Storytelling to kids – Popular Trend these day.
Sometimes if you want to introduce a new book or a series to your child. Instead of handing over the book to the child pique their interest by reading snippets of the book to them during bedtime.
Once their interest is aroused and they get hooked to the book you would find them picking up the book and start reading it on their own.
Discuss what they have read
Always discuss with your child what they have read.
If you are a very involved parent. I would also suggest that you read the book yourself first. In that way your conversations will be much more engaging.
You will also be able to gage your child’s comprehension skills on how much your child was able to understand the book.
You can ask open ended questions to improve upon your child communication and articulation skills.
Questions like why the Unicorn pink in colour is. This will not only help you a kid imagine more but you would be entertained with very creative and unique answers.
Appreciate their habit
Children like appreciation just like we are adults like it too. When they read a book show them that you are delighted that they are building this habit.
Appreciate them directly, speak proud about them to others. You can do even a little bit of showing off, by stating the books that your child has read. To other parents or your spouse.
When children feel that their actions are making you proud, they would tend to repeat it for all the attention that they can get.
Make reading fun
You can make reading fun in many ways. If you have two or more kids. Have a small competition among the children on how many books they have read in a month. You can throw in a small reward for the winner.
If you have a single child. You yourself can compete with your child which motivates not only your child but also you yourself to read.
Also, You can have other games such as the fastest reader and reward the kid who finishes the book quickly.
Have storytelling time where you and your spouse can spend time with your child listening to the story that the child has read.
Engage through the day
Habit of reading not necessarily mean that you must give a book and the child must sit down to read.
Reading can be harped upon anytime of the day. For example, you can ask your kid to read what is written on roadside board.
You can ask your kid to read what is written on a car bumper sticker. You can motivate your kid to read a portion of the newspaper to you.
The point of the matter is that it need not be tied down to a time or a book. The more familiar your child gets with the print the more welcoming your child will be to read.
Lead by Example
You are the role model for your child. Your child observes you. What you do with your free time will pretty much be what your kid will do when they get time.
For example, have not you seen a young child take a mobile phone and pretend to talk in it? How do they know that they have to do it? Did children before the age of mobile invention do it?
Children these days instinctively do it because that is what they observe and see their parents to.
If they find you picking up a book and reading. In no time you will find your kid picking up a book and pretending to read.
So, if you want to have reader you be a reader yourself.
Notes for parents and conclusion
Reading benefits a human both physically and mentally, and these effects can last a lifetime if, maintained regularly.
We have seen above the tips on how to make your child start reading. Below we have listed below what we as parents should not do that will demotivate your child from reading.
Do not force Child to read.
This only will cause and aversion towards reading and your children will try to shy away from it.
Do not make it a chore.
It is important to make reading a habit. But in that quest but do not push it to an extent that the child feels that it is a chore that the child must complete.
We do not enjoy chores and when reading stops becoming fun your child will start feeling that it is a chore.
Do not overload your child.
Just as important age appropriate books are to ease the child into reading habit. It is also important that we do not overload the child with long hours to read. The key is to make reading pleasurable.
When you set long hours or time when the child is tired and insist that the child reads. It overloads the child and the child will dread reading time. You may want to read our blog How- to Improve time management in kids NOW.
Do not set high expectations.
If your child is 8 years old but find reading material appropriate to 8 to 9 years old a bit difficult go easy on it and let the child start with material of lower level.
Similarly, if you find your child reading with ease books appropriate to 8 to 9 years you can try to introduce a higher standard book but do not force it if they face difficulty.
Revert to easy reading level and not set too high expectations.
A parent needs to encourage their children to read at a young age to reap these benefits. Habits formed when the child is young usually lasts a lifetime.
However, it is better late than never to start to make your child start reading. Start Now…
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