There are many among us who look back on their childhood years and fondly remember the hours of pleasure spent reading. Whether it was surreptitiously done after lights out under the duvet or while sitting in a favourite chair during winter months, or even while outside in the summer garden, reading was for many a means of escape and adventure.
But the march of technology and our ever-growing reliance for entertainment and relaxation on electronic gadgets pushed the simple art and love of reading down the list. It has even been said that for a while reading for pleasure fell out of fashion among children and young people, but now more and more youngsters are rediscovering the joy of reading. Read on to find out how you can encourage your child to read at home.
Find Out What Interests Your Child
As Dr Theodore Seuss Geisel, author of several children’s books including The Cat in the Hat and How The Grinch Stole Christmas knew, the best way to get children reading is to engage them, find out what makes them laugh, what interests them and sparks their imagination. He knew that learning grows from reading and that broadening the mind broadens the horizons. He said “the more that you read, the more things you will know” and by this, he meant that reading is not only about learning information, it is also about learning how to discover the joy, skill and art of reading. The secret for parents helping to teach their children to enjoy reading is to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Develop Their Knowledge And Confidence In Language
Some children can have difficulties in understanding how to recognise and say certain words or phrases. You can help by reading with them as well as to them. In this way, they will soon pick up the basics of how to put words and sentences together. Picture books are the perfect tools for helping children to improve their grasp of oral language. Looking at pictures and illustrations opens a world of possibilities as a child uses the power of their imagination to tell the story and understand the words and meanings within.
Choose And Rhyme
Young children learn best when they hear simple rhyming words and nursery rhymes play a considerable part in helping young ones to recognise rhymes and word patterns. You and your child could play rhyming games throughout the day, at home or out and about, when you could challenge each other to try and think of words that rhyme. Children young and old develop a life-long love of reading when they can choose what they read. Reading a favourite bedtime story to your little one repeatedly may seem boring to you, but they will carry this memory through life.
Encourage Reading Wherever You Find It
Whatever the age of your child you can help them to learn about language and reading in all kinds of different places. Wherever you go there are things to read – menus in eateries, road signs, advertising billboards – all of these and more can be used to encourage a child to read, learn and understand language.
Find That Special Reading Place
It is virtually impossible to really get into reading when all around there is noise or other distractions. Reading is most enjoyable when it’s done in a special place, a favourite chair or in bed. Parents or caregivers, even brothers and sisters, can set aside a special place in the home where you can be warm, cosy and comfortable and where you can truly become absorbed in the story you are reading. Children love to have that special time when they have the undivided attention they need and so learn to look forward to story time.
Hold Reading Parties
Get together with friends and family to host parties where kids can play reading games such as telling a story then inventing a song or drawing a picture to illustrate it. Halloween is the perfect opportunity for children to let their imagination run wild with sweet treats and scary tales. But any time is the right time, and when you all get together regularly, and there are plenty of foodie treats and games on offer, then children look forward to reading even more.
Fill The Home With Reading Material
When a child is surrounded by reading material at home, magazines, newspapers and books, this can spark an interest in reading and can make reading as normal a part of life as eating and sleeping, especially when they observe the people around them reading. The more they are surrounded by the written word, the more they will see reading as a normal, informative and enjoyable part of daily life.
Today’s teenagers and tweenagers can often think of themselves as too cool to spend precious social time reading so if this is your situation there’s nothing for it but to embrace the power of technology. Use their love of social media by encouraging them to look at blogs written by authors or by other reading clubs. Seek out online interactive story-telling games for them to take part in. Install appropriate reading apps on a smartphone or tablet and encourage your child to read from this. Buy a reluctant teen an e-reader which they can use to download a variety of reading material from novels to comics. E-readers are especially useful for children with learning disabilities or who need a larger print to improve their reading skills. It is said that e-readers have helped to spark renewed interest in reading books.
No parent should consider themselves too old, too busy or as Dr Seuss said “too wild or wacky” to take a little time out to read to their child. Your love of and enthusiasm for reading is one of the best qualities you can pass to your child. Best of all, a love of reading bestows advantages at school for children who can grasp new ideas and concepts more quickly than non-readers.