You know reading with and to your kids is important. Helping them to develop a love of reading is essential. While not shocking, the Straits Times recent article about how it is better to spend on developing reading skills than to spend money on tuition, only reinforces the importance getting your kids to pick up a book without nagging.
What can you do to help push your child into more books (and make it feel more like he’s jumping in!)?
1. Read aloud and often. Make reading time fun. Use silly voices and exaggerated cadences. Ask your kids to predict what might happen next and get them to see reading as playtime, not just down time.
2. Model good reading habits. Turn off the TV and pick a book in the evenings. Make sure your kids see you reading anything and everything, fiction, newspapers, magazine, etc. Choose to read over other activities and they will too!
3. Keep books within reach and in their eyesight. Keep their toys in bins and book easily accessible on shelves. Gadgets with lights and sounds and bells and whistles, will always get their attention. Show them that books can be just as exciting and help to explore and use their imaginations.
4. Don’t force them to read what they do not find interesting. If you get half way through a story and it is clear they are losing interest, don’t power through to the end. Forcing your kids to sit for a story they are not interested in will only reinforce the idea that reading is boring and not fun. Let them choose a different book.
5. Try a book on tape. If you think your child won’t focus, have him flip through the hard copy of the book while listening. Or, try giving him a quiet activity to do while listening (like colouring). They may surprise you!
6. Try a digital book. Because most kids are already versed in electronic devices, show him books to choose from. Take care to choose wisely as some children’s e-books are so interactive they are more like games than books.
7. If you’re unsure what books may peak his interest, browse award winning books, best-sellers and ask friends with similar aged kids what they love. If presented enthusiastically, your child will likely dive right in.
8. Plan to go to the library for a FUN day out. Treat an outing to your local library like an outing to the park or their favourite play spot. Let them choose a few books, get comfortable and get lost in an imaginary tale.
As with anything you are trying to encourage with kids, keep at it, keep them interested and model the behaviour you would like them to emulate. They’ll be running for the books in no time.
Even more great ideas to help make reading a habit!
By Kathleen Siddell, July 2015