“You will never be alone if you’ve got a book”, said Al Pacino, an Oscar winning actor. This quote rings so true. Reading is a fundamental skill for children and the love for reading is a joy to have. In today's digital age however, parents find it a struggle to encourage children to truly enjoy reading books. Research has shown that children who begin reading in their early years and read regularly have positive learning outcomes later on in life. As children are easily distracted, it can be a struggle to sit them down to focus on a book. How then can we motivate children to seek out a book actively and make the most of it?
Picking Their Book
Allow your child to have the freedom to choose their book. This encourages and gives them a sense of ownership of their learning. It is important for them to be engaged in what they are reading and they learn most when it is tailored to their interest. It also cultivates a lifelong love for reading.
Raise a confident reader. Encouraging your child to read aloud and reading aloud with them puts the fun in reading and reflects a positive association with books. Modeling active reading enhances their speech and literacy skills while keeping them entertained. Reading aloud with and to your child is also an effective way for parents to bond with their child. Once they have finished reading, make it a habit to discuss the content with them and get them to share their thoughts and opinions.
A Reading Space
A special spot dedicated to their reading time can keep children engaged and create the right atmosphere for them to immerse themselves in their ‘reading wonderland'. Proper lighting and comfortable seating also helps set the mood, promotes healthy eyesight and good seating posture. Fill up the area with plenty of books of different genres to keep them readily accessible and available. This little home library can be a great reading sanctuary for them to truly enjoy reading.
As human beings, we require acknowledgment and motivation in our lives. Use words of encouragement and use positive affirmations to keep them motivated and build their confidence at the same time. Create a reading journal to document their reading process and have them decorate it whichever way they like.
Mix it up
Encourage your child to read different genres-fiction, non-fiction and within them drama, action adventure, fairy tales, fantasy, humour etc. Encourage them to make their own choices in these categories but it is important that they engage and appreciate different forms of writing and authors from a diverse spectrum.
Read every night
It's a habit that not only keeps us away from devices before going to bed but is also a time to establish a bond with your child. It’s a time to reflect and connect with each other on a very personal level. Moreover, it develops a habit for life, one that strengthens the connection to books.
Visit the local library. Get a membership to a local library and visit it every now and then. Make it a habit. It helps children see a world outside of their digital universe and can be a fun way to select books to read.
Most importantly, make reading a fun and enjoyable experience. We like doing what we think is delightful and stay away from what we find frustrating. If books conjure happy memories in a child’s life, he or she is more likely than not to develop a genuine connection with books. So go out there and enjoy this journey with your child.