More than learning how to pronounce a word properly or read a sentence from a page, what matters to a child is not the skill, but the experience of reading quality books and of being taught by loving parents. Here’s how to get your kids to nurture a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
1. Model reading to your child. Young children are most impressionable, and they will naturally imitate the adults who are significant to them. As a parent, you are a testimony to how reading is both a pleasurable hobby and a useful skill. Surround your child with books, but read these books yourself.
2. Make books come alive. Choose books that apply to real-life situations. In my case, I make sure my son’s books appeal to his tastes, his surroundings, his familiar experiences. If he’s into cars, I’ll choose quality books that revolve around cars, such as Richard Scarry's “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.” That way, he is likely to be more engaged in our reading together.
3. Have a daily reading time. Set aside a time each day to read with your child. This is a great time for both parents to come together for the sake of the child and read something together. For example, read Margaret Wise Brown’s classic “Goodnight, Moon” together, before your child’s bedtime. Not only does this habit activity foster a love for reading as a family, it impresses upon the child that reading is meaningful and enjoyable, something to look forward.
4. Be encouraging, affirming, and follow your child’s pace. There is so much pressure to rush a child to read early. However, this can have detrimental effects on a child, the worst being an aversion to reading or a complete disregard for it. Do not rush your child to attack words, to read beyond his abilities. KidsHealth.org by Nemours, a non-profit organization advocating best practices in child development, recommends reading to toddlers so that a foundation for eventual independent reading is well-established. It’s important for you as a parent to affirm your child’s attempts to read, no matter his abilities.
Click here to read on about how to nurture a love for reading in your toddler.
Read on about how to nurture a love for reading in your toddler.
5. Buy quality books. Stick to the classics. Choose books with meaningful texts and high quality art work, such as titles by Eric Carle, Beatrix Potter and Leo Leonni. When you expose your child to great books with great artwork and story lines, you develop his appreciation for passionate authors and illustrators, even at an early age. Check out ReachOutandRead.org for some doctor-recommended titles that are ideal for young readers.
Remember, nurturing a love for reading in your child is itself an art, and it takes time and practice. More than being a diligent parent, be a loving one. Love dispels fear, and having a safe, affirming environment that values reading will help your child advance more quickly in his reading skills.
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