Reading easy books is a great strategy for getting kids to develop a reading habit. Here’s how parents can instill the habit of reading in children.
5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids Build Reading Habits and Make Them Avid Readers
By India Today Web Desk: Reading regularly is one of the most valuable habits we can develop in our lifetime. But in this tech-savvy world where kids are more drawn to electronics, helping them develop this habit can be a challenge.
Even though it is one of the most neglected activities, the habit of reading should be instilled in children at an early stage as it can promote their development and enhance their ability to “think”. It helps them develop concentration, curiosity, creativity, empathy and better vocabulary. It is therefore one of the most important habits that parents can help their child develop.
A study by Cunningham and Stanovich in 1998 stated that reading can help children compensate for lower cognitive abilities by developing vocabulary and general knowledge. Reading helps children’s development as they gain a deep understanding of the world. It expands their horizons, expands their thoughts and limits.
This helps them gain social and emotional understanding that can improve their ability to express themselves and communicate. Books can feature different characters, voices, and perspectives, which can help children become more empathetic.
Did you know that typography and illustrations play a huge role in sparking a child’s interest in a book? This not only welcomes them to the fictional world, but also helps hook them into the plot.
Generally, the format, text size, white space, and illustrations all indicate who the book is for. A book with more visuals is usually aimed at younger children, while a book with a smaller font size and dense copy with few or no visuals appeals to older readers.
As parents, we need to make sure that children perceive reading as an enjoyable activity and not as a “chore”.
Parents should be aware of factors that can help pique a child’s interest. Have you ever observed a child flipping through different books in the children’s section? When a child opens a book, he knows whether he can read it or not, before reading any of the words. All thanks to the larger font size and colorful illustrations! A small child may not identify with a book unless it is visually captivating.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN HELP OUR CHILDREN CREATE READING HABITS AND MAKE THEM AN ADVANCED READER:
1. READ TO THEM WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG – EVERY DAY!
If you want to raise a reader, you have to become a reader. If your habit of reading has slipped away from your life, you must bring it back now while you are still young! Make space and time for the books you read for yourself and with your child. Practice reading every day to help them observe, learn, and instill the same into their routine.
2. SURROUND THEM WITH EASY, FUN, INTERACTIVE AND ILLUSTRATIVE BOOKS!
It is important to help children become familiar with books and develop the habit of reading in their most natural habitat. Therefore, make sure there are enough books in the house! You can use the Internet to find some fun picture books for your child. Picture books are easy to read and interactive enough to keep them engaged in an activity. Books with illustrations are easier to understand, engaging, and can help maintain focus for longer periods of time.
3. LET THEM CHOOSE A BOOK FOR THEMSELVES – DISCUSS WHICH BOOKS THEY WANT TO READ
One of the most effective ways to pique their interest is to take them to a library or bookstore. Give them time to look and explore. They are more likely to read something that they chose themselves. You can always help them by narrowing down the choice and showing them a specific section of the book that they might like to read.
4. BE A ROLE MODEL FOR YOUR CHILD – SHARE YOUR OWN LOVE FOR READING WITH THEM
No matter what you like to read, from magazines to graphic novels, show your child that you read. A child learns a lot just by watching the adults around him. So if you’re excited about reading, they’ll probably feel the same excitement.
5. INCLUDE READING IN THEIR SLEEP RITUAL
Research has shown that even infants or newborns can benefit from the experience of hearing books read. The content often matters less than the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text and the words themselves. Studies have shown that the number of words a child is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. So you can raise a reader from the day they are born! Make a habit of sharing a book and reading it before bed.
Reading helps develop a child’s intelligence and makes them more confident. It is one of the most important skills every child needs to succeed in school and in life.
Written by Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director India, British Council India.