04. 03. 2019

How to Raise a Reader

Reading is a gift. Passing on the value of reading to our kids is a tribute to their life and to world culture. Books educate, teach, and help children enter new worlds, discover the unknown, and come closer to the truth or falsehood of what is known. Books arouse feelings, senses, and reactions.

Reading is also a learning process. And as such, it can be nurtured from an early age. When you teach kids to read, you’re stimulating imagination, creativity, and fun, all great tools for kids’ development.

The Importance of Reading During Childhood

  • Reading enriches the adult-child relationship, since adults and children experience the activity together and discuss the story.
  • Reading expands and organizes the child’s universe. Both images and text help kids understand the world and themselves, and master the real world environment. Stories also help enhance future experiences as they can be referred to through emotions, memories, and favorite characters.
  • Reading can also develop children’s mental abilities: 1. Memory. A child can tell a story he or she has read by following the pictures. 2. Language. Through reading, kids can expand their vocabulary and create more complicated sentences. 3. Imagination. From understanding image and text, kids begin to build their own representation of reality.

Strategies for building a passion for books

To encourage children’s initial interest in books, make sure you yourself spend time reading and let your kids see you reading. Young children find interest in almost everything their parents do.

Before they start reading, kids can understand many other things: poetic language, word games and rhymes, or listening to oral histories. Sitting down with kids and starting to read will already be a clear incentive for them as they’ve probably been exposed to rhymes, lullabies, etc. before. Listening to your voice, your intonation, and the plot of the story are small steps kids take until their brain is mature enough to establish the reading-writing process. Reading to them even before they start walking can be incredibly beneficial.

Establish a daily routine

Establishing an organized schedule is important for kids, especially establishing guidelines and rules. They need to know when to do certain things like doing homework, eating snacks, showering, and knowing that reading comes before bedtime. Reading a book should become a daily habit and a necessity. Kids who read at least half an hour a day are more likely to become future readers.

Listen to your kid’s wishes

Make lots of fun books readily available so kids can leaf through them whenever they want. Give them freedom to read. Don’t impose your interests on them; if the books are in their playroom, kids will eventually take a look. If you want to read to them about one subject, but they don’t show interest in it, try to find something that suits them better. Listen to what they like and only offer suggestions. There is always an appropriate book for every age and every personality.

When children are very small, they like to repeat and repeat and repeat (until infinity) reading the same book. Don’t deny them this repetition even if you’ve had enough of the particular book. Repetition will help kids develop memorization and vocabulary.

Visit places for book lovers

Visit the library with your kids whenever you can. There you’ll find activities related to books, reading, exhibitions, and an appropriate peaceful atmosphere for the benefit of reading and learning.

When you’re out and about running errands, visit a bookstore as one of the stops and allow for enough time for kids to explore the children’s book section.

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