Reading opens doors to empathy, adventure, and learning. But a love of reading doesn’t happen automatically. Overall, as a parent, you can offer choices, create a safe and comfortable environment, and get creative when it comes to encouraging your child to read more.
Be a good role model
Lead by example, or better yet, ‘parent’ by example. Create cozy nooks around the house that encourage reading. Also, make sure that your child sees you reading and always talk to them about the book (if it’s a complicated plot, then just simplify it for them). Inject some excitement and fun because if they see that books bring you joy, then they will be convinced to read more to feel the same happiness.
Audio is the cherry on top
Listening to someone reading a book aloud is in fact a great way to experience fluency, and it also helps the listener to improve their comprehension of the content.
Youngsters love birthday celebrations and of course, cake! So why not celebrate the birthdays of writers of your child’s favorite books? For example, Dr. Seuss’s birthday is on March 2, and Roald Dahl’s birthday is on September 13. While you’re celebrating these renowned writers, introduce your child to one of their lesser-known works. For example, Dr. Seuss’s I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, or Dahl’s The Gremlins.
Watch the movie as a reward
Classics such as Bridge to Terabithia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, have all been turned into movies. A great way to motivate your child and develop their ability to pay attention to detail, is to host family movie nights to watch the film versions of the books. And ask your child to point out similarities and differences between the two versions.
Make library visits a regular thing for your child. Always check with the front desk librarians to see what kind of reading activities are currently running. Even if your child is at the library for other activities, as long as they’re enjoying it, they will gradually associate the library with fun. And help your child get a library card because it will make them take charge of their reading and learning experience. If you can’t convince them, just let them watch how Arthur and his friends are having fun with their library cards.
Read and get cooking!
Pick a dish that you and your child both enjoy and have them read aloud the recipe while you cook (or involve them if it’s not too complicated). Because it’s most likely that they would need to read ingredients and instructions slowly and multiple times, it will help them improve their comprehension (and patience!).
Check in with questions
With comprehension comes enjoyment. While you’re reading a book with your child, whenever you feel it’s necessary, check in with questions that help them to have a better grasp of the content. You can ask them which characters they like best, what they think will happen next, and what they would do in that situation. While it’s important to pronounce words properly and learn new vocabulary, it’s more useful to understand the story in its entirety.
Find answers in books
Reading sparks creativity and nurtures empathy. And it can help your child overcome obstacles. Whether it’s dealing with certain struggles at school or on a personal level, you would be surprised how much enlightenment or comfort your child gets from reading books. Here are some scenario-specific suggestions:
- Swimmy, by Leo Lionni, for dealing with adversity and bullies at school
- The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst, for the loss of a pet
- Much Bigger Than Martin, by Steven Kellogg, for sibling rivalry
Magazines are making a comeback
Keeping up with current issues is important, not just for adults, but children too! And one of the ways we read about current issues is from magazines. They provide us with the opportunity to learn new things and broaden our horizons. It’s also a great way to get your child to put down their phones or tablets, because getting a new issue every month is still quite exciting! Top rated subscription-based, kid-friendly magazines are Highlights for Children and National Geographic Kids.
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