The ability to read is an essential part of a child’s cognitive development. It helps to encourage the use of the eyes, ears and brain for processing information. Also, it improves vocabulary, encourages critical thinking and prepares the child for further studies. Many parents, however, struggle with how to achieve this, especially as children are increasingly drawn to technology, screen time and social media.
Motivate Your Child to Read.
The first crucial step to helping your child read for fun is to motivate them to want to read. With the decline in attention span caused by the increasing level of distractions in society, children are less likely to consider reading as a primary source of entertainment and as such the only way to motivate them to find reading interesting is to use the strategies below:
Demonstrate interest in reading.
When you demonstrate an interest in reading, it makes it easier for your kids to inculcate the same habit. Children often observe their parents and imitate their behaviour. It is impossible to motivate your child to read if you haven’t built a reading culture yourself. Make it a regular practice to read books with and to your children every day, at least before they go to bed. This way you get the opportunity to bond with them better. Engage them in discussion with their favourite characters or stories.
Schedule a Reading time.
Map out a reading time in your daily schedule, and make it a routine for you and your family. Make reading a daily routine, and create a comfortable reading space to make this more relaxing for you.
Read books that have been adapted into movies.
Create a list of books that have been adapted into movies and allow your child to choose from the list, having read the book and schedule a movie night for him or her to see the adaptation of the book. At the beginning of each month, have your child choose a book of their choice from the list. Then, have them compare the book and movie versions, stating the similarities and differences in the storyline.
New topics or discussions increase a child’s curiosity.
Introduce your child to new topics/discussions. When your child is exposed to a variety of topics, he or she is likely to gain new interests and hobbies. When you notice your child talking about a subject and/or asking questions, use the library as a resource to help quench your child’s curiosity. In all your effort, ensure that you encourage them to ask questions at all times. To do this, make them visit a museum, a local zoo, or a historical site or attend a social function with you.
Set achievable goals for reading.
Try to simplify the process by breaking it down into achievable goals. This could include reading for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour each day, scheduling family reading sessions, reading a chapter per week, helping them develop a checklist and making available a reward once a goal is attained. This way they have a sense of belonging and are encouraged to want to do more.
With these steps, developing a reading culture becomes easy for your kids. Also, reading is the first step in getting your child to write. It also helps them be more coherent and expressive.