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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Growing up to be a well-developed and emotionally strong adult, who isn’t afraid to face challenges in life, has its roots back to childhood. A study revealed that about 10–20% of children and adolescents throughout the world experience mental disorders. The survey found that in children aged 7–14 years, mental disorders are one of the main causes of diseases. Another research carried out by Marie-Laure Baranne and Bruno Falissard at INSERM in France found out that during 2000–2015, the rates of mental disorders remained stable, suggesting that despite a global improvement in the physical health, the mental health of kids was not improving.
Parents are always trying to find ways how to understand their child better and sooner. More and more often, new approaches and methods are being developed that help families communicate with their child shortly after birth. That’s because even infants are trying to communicate with their surroundings. They perceive their mother’s voice and human language even before they are born – i.e. in the womb. After birth, children can differentiate a human voice from other sounds and react to it. However, it takes some time before children are able to control their voice system and say first words and sentences. But this doesn’t mean they don’t perceive the world around them and do not wish to communicate with it. They just do it differently than us adults. How?
You are at work and everything runs at its usual pace. Suddenly, the phone rings and you hear a familiar voice. Your kindergarten teacher has just told you that your little one is sick and needs to get home ASAP. So it’s more than just a runny nose after all...