If you think about your own childhood, you can remember about how you started reading. Maybe it was a teacher, or your parents, or grandparents who bought you the first book that you loved, and made you a book worm. Or maybe it didn’t happened with just one book, but it was a habit gained over time with many books.
However, as an adult, you realize now that a reading child becomes a reading adult. Reading habit helps children to improve themselves through their whole life. Studies also show that there are major differences in school between children who have reading habit and don’t. Children who read regularly have better vocabulary. Depending on that, they can understand classes faster than their classmates and have more improved writing skills.
Unfortunately, today there are so many distracting elements in a child’s life that we didn’t have before. TV, cartoons, video games… It is understandable that children find books boring compare to the sparkly and shiny world of these mediums. However, if you want your child to have reading habit, following advices would help you a lot;
Allow your children to see that you are reading.
Maybe you think that reading to them comes first. But, children take parents as role models in early ages unconsciously. If your children see you reading, they will think that it is an important and fun activity to do, moreover, they will try to imitate you. Don’t forget: children pay attention your actions, not your words.
Read them regularly.
It is known that reading children before bedtime improves their imagination. But parents should pay attention to make it a regular ritual. Encouraging children to choose bed-time stories also increase their enthusiasm. It might be thousandth time they choose the same story, however, it is always better than forcing them to listen something they don’t like.
Creating conversations based on book quotations.
Surely, asking direct questions like “What did you understand from that part?” would irritate them. However, you can create conversations based on books such as “What would this character do in this situation?” This would guide them to rethink the story more deeply, analyze the character and match with the situation in the sample.
Go book shopping together.
Go book shopping as a family and let everybody choose one book to buy. It is even better if the bookstore has a coffee shop in it, you can sit there together after shopping and start to read your books while drinking a nice cup of hot-chocolate. Seeing other enthusiastic kids in the book store, would increase their enthusiasm as well.
Encourage them to write.
Reading and writing are habits that breeds each other. Encourage your children to write, it doesn’t matter how simple the writings are. It can be a diary, essays, poems or short stories. It can even be a try-out of a book that they may call “their first novel” later on. They would also like if you keep it in your library and show that you are proud of their first attempt to write.
Watch movies based on a book and compare.
Don’t think popular culture books which are turned into a movie as enemies. They can be very attractive for children since all of their classmates would be talking about them. Watch the movie together, and then read its book. It can be other way around as well. Then, create discussion that you compare them. Ask your children which one they liked most, and why.
Reading is a habit that helps children a lot in their social and academic life. It turns them into more creative, deep and intellectual adults. However, parents should remember that the habit can be built over time, and should be patient and supportive.