With the onslaught of different types of technology, it may be hard to get your kids off the mindless entertainment on the tablet, TV or mobile phone and put in actual effort to reap the benefits of reading a good book. So how do you get your children turn pages instead of push buttons? Your involvement is crucial in getting them interested in books.
“We really want to tell parents that reading aloud to their children is not only enjoyable, but inherently important,” Maggie McGuire, vice president of Scholastic Parents Channel, told Yahoo Parenting. “Kids still love it so much as they grow, and some of the things that reading aloud does is to continue their ability to understand stories. It also boosts their continued vocabulary acquisition and, for the kids who need improvement on their reading skills, it brings stories to life for them.”
Scholastic is a leading publisher of children’s books and is present in many countries, including India. So they are hardly an uninterested party. However, many other literacy advocates also recommend reading to children.
You can build the habit by reading out loud to your child from infancy. And don’t feel that you need to stop once your kids learn to read themselves. Older children too enjoy being read to as well, and this practice can further boost their interest in books. In addition, reading the same book as your child can inspire discussions on it, encouraging interest in the topic and bonding as well.
A good way to encourage your little ones to pick books off the shelf is to actually fill your selves with books. Availability of interesting, informative and funny reads is likely to evoke interest. Make books fun by picking out titles that you know will interest your child. Better yet, take your kid along to the bookstore and let them select a few books they’d like to read themselves. Books with pictures in them can seem less tedious to younger children. Experts caution that you do not force them to read material that may be too advanced for them – this could turn them off the habit if they associate reading with being too hard.
As with other behaviours, if you want children to adopt reading, experts recommend acting as a role model by reading books yourself. Other fun family activities can also foster reading, though it may not involve a book. Things like cooking by following a recipe or playing board games could also involve reading.
While you are encouraging reading, be careful not to put pressure on your child by keeping other forms of entertainment, such as computer games or television, off-limits. You child should not feel forced into “reading for fun”. Rather, it should be a part of his recreational activities.
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