Reading is the last thing kids want to do. They can run uselessly for hours, throw the same ball 100 times in a day, can listen to the same rhyme on repeat mode for two long hours but not read a single page. Have you ever wondered why? The main reason is that ‘the kids do not listen, they imitate.’ When the kids find their parents busy watching a movie or a video on their iPads and phones, why how they learn to read? In addition, parents usually introduce reading to their kids very late which makes them feel that it is a task they are expected to do and not a learning cum fun activity.
Below is a list of tips that can help parents inculcate reading habits in their kids from a very early age.
Introduce books like toys – Children usually start playing on their own when they are six or seven months old. They love playing with rattles and teethers during this age. It is a good time to introduce them to the world of books as well, though the books are good to be introduced as early as possible. There are numerous board books available in the market for infants and toddlers. Just keep them with the toys of your baby to give him enough space to generate curiosity for the text and pictures in the books. This way, the books will also become toys for him and he will not run away when its time to start reading.
Spend some time reading to your baby – As said earlier, kids imitate their parents. Thus, to start developing reading habit in your child, you will have to start reading for him and with him. When a child is one year old, you can start showing him pictures and reading short stories. Show him real time things and connect them with the ones in the books. For example, when your kid is eating a banana or a mango, show him these fruits in the book.
Involve your kid – A kid loves doing what his parents do. If you sit with a board book with him continuously for a week, he will start showing interest. Let him turn a few pages. This will also help in developing his motor skills. When you have spent at least a month with the same book, start asking questions to him. This will make him feel connected to you as well as the books.
Do not force – Kids have the biggest mood-swings in the world. At one moment, they might want to sit and read and just the next second they would want to run in the grass. Let them be as they are. Do not force them to spend a particular period reading. Forcing will only make this activity unpleasant. Read to them only when they are doing it happily.
Plan a trip to a library – Library is the best place to explore books. Nowadays there are toddler-friendly libraries that have a small reading and play area for toddlers. Plan a trip to such a library at least once in a week or two. When your child watches you exploring this wonderful book forest, he is likely to catch your enthusiasm. This will gradually encourage him to read and grow into a reader.
Give your kids freedom to choose – During the library visit, you can let loose your kid to choose what he wants to read from the kids section. He is more likely to read what he picks himself. Else, you can also buy different genres of books to let him explore and understand his interests. For a toddler, you can buy various storybooks and different small books that teach different things like colours, shapes, alphabet, animals, birds, etc.
The key to raise your kids into readers is to make reading a fun activity rather than a headache. This is best done if reading is introduced at an early age and in a cheerful manner. Do not make your children learn to read. Raise them in a way so that they read to learn.