The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~Dr. Seuss
In today’s media-loving world, encouraging a reading habit for children has become extremely difficult. Parents battle it out with a lot of competition towards their kids’ attention and time: TV, tablets, cellphones and computers.
However, not a lot of parents put a lot of time and effort to reading because they do not see its importance.
What role does reading play in the development of a young kid’s mind? Among the many benefits of reading include enhancing their vocabulary and memory, encouraging creativity and imagination, providing a loving and nurturing bonding experience and creating a thirst for learning are just a few examples.
So, how do parents raise their children into book lovers? Here are a few tried-and-tested ways to get little ones flipping the page even before they learn to read words on their own.
1. Start the habit early on
An old quote says, “Old habits die hard” and this is the time to take advantage of it. Exposing them to the written word early on helps establish the routine so that you do not have to force it when they are older.
Although they probably do not understand a word of it, babies love being read to as their parents’ voice (especially their mother’s voice) is enough to soothe them and make them feel comfortable.
2. Help them build their library
Surrounding kids with books help encourage reading further as it becomes harder to avoid it. You can start by adding books in strategic areas such as their play areas. If they have their room, you can also start assigning a special nook to hold their very own library. Instead of toys, ask your family and friends to give them books.
3. Create a cozy reading nook
In addition to a library, setting up a reading nook where they can read comfortably on their own is also highly recommended. You do not have to do anything grand -- a simple pillow fort where night time stories come alive should be enough.
A cozy area will encourage them to use it more often. Also, make sure that their library is just within reach, so they do not have to go far to get more reading materials.
4. Go for books with fun rhymes and/or pictures
Rhyming books to children are like songs to adults. When reading to very little kids, go for those that are fun to listen to so you can have an enjoyable memory associated with it. Little kids won’t be able to understand words so go for books with fun and colorful pictures as well. You can point out the pictures and say their equivalent words to help build their vocabulary.
5. Do activities related to the stories
The fun in reading books does not have to end with the stories. In fact, you can come up with really creative ways to incorporate the book’s stories and characters into your daily routines.
If you are stumped for ideas, head on to Pinterest to see what food you can make or games and activities, you can do related to the book you just read. Petit Mail's Reading With Kids board has some great ideas to get you started!)
6. Be a role model
Kids see their parents as the person that they want to be when they grow up. If you want them to follow your footsteps, then you have to start leading by example. Once they see you pick up books or even newspapers and practice what you preach to them, it shouldn’t be hard to convince them to start reading.
7. Visit a library together
What’s one of the most exciting things book lovers do? Visiting a library! Libraries are often considered a haven for many people because of the wealth of information stored in its every nook and cranny.
Some libraries have programs for kids such as story telling time and crafts, perfect for readers of all levels. Don’t forget to get them a library card and build up even more excitement!
8. Read aloud as a family
Kids often associate reading as a loving bonding experience that they can do as a family. Stories are best shared with other people and children will usually remember the closeness that you shared when reading certain books. Not only that, reading aloud as a family can open up discussion leading to a better understanding of the story. Plus, it helps in improving pronunciation, too.
9. Slowly introduce books beyond their reading level
Young kids can get bored very easily especially if you let them do the same things over and over again. If they have already mastered reading a particular book, why not introduce them to something a little more advanced?
Of course, make sure to build up excitement first and ask them what they think about the book. Help them figure out difficult words and their meanings and be there to encourage them when things get a little hard to understand.
10. Read books related to their interests
If your kids start manifesting a genuine interest in certain things such as airplanes, astronauts or dinosaurs, for example, introduce books that have them as subjects. Giving them reading material on something that they can easily relate to will help them not feel like reading is a chore.
11. Be flexible in your genres
You don’t have to get stuck with picture books -- why not introduce them to comic books? Classics are a must-read, but you can always opt for more modern reads from time to time. Exposing them to different genres and various types of reading materials will help make things constantly interesting and never boring.
Raising kids into book lovers help introduce them to new worlds and new concepts. Creating a reading habit piques their curiosity and encourages a habit of life-long learning.
About The Post AuthorPetit Mail is pleased to welcome guest post author Pam.
Pam is a millennial mom who loves to read and explore the outdoors with her partner and their 3-year-old daughter. When not out for (mis)adventures, she moonlights as a freelance writer, blogger and ghostwriter. She also loves talking about their family travel and home adventures at Hey, Miss Adventures!