How to get your child to read?

Is reading at the top of the list of habits you would like to cultivate in your child?
If yes, then you are probably also aware that as a parent you have the power to empower your child to unlock his or her full potential and reading plays a big part in this.
Knowing this, can be daunting to a lot of parents, I know it is for me.
Still it is a joyful learning experience and a return to childhood for me with my kids after I realized early on, reading is not a skill all kids just pick up naturally.
From an initial haphazard start of cajoling, convincing, bargaining with them to get them to read to now keeping track of the kinds of books and content for age appropriate reading, its been an interesting and exciting ride.

So how to get a child really really interested in reading and sustain and grow that interest? So much so, that their actions follow their interest and they look forward to reading.

Thought I would share some of the tips or rather activities that are working well for me.

  • Read aloud to your kids

You have probably heard this before, several times over.
But I found this does help immensely. In fact reading aloud to my kids I feel is working wonders.
It would be great to start this right from when they are toddlers or even earlier. But its never too late to begin.
This is a great way of introducing them to the world and joy of books, apart from helping you bond and so many other things.
In my experience I found most children to be great listeners and observers.
Well, actually I am yet come across a child who I found is not absorbing all the audio visual information around him or her, in spite of sporting an indifferent look.

Read out loud and don’t hold back, infuse your words with feeling and yes….dramatization helps.
Using puppets or props to dramatize, if you feel up to it, can intensify the read aloud experience for both you and your children.

And don’t forget to sit back and enjoy yourself as you pick up a book to read aloud to them!

  • Discuss about books already read

It really helps to talk about the books you read out to them or the ones they have read.
Ask them about their favorite characters, what they liked and did not like about the book and let them ask you as well.

  • Repetition

Reading the same story that the children really enjoy, every day or on alternate days helps at least initially with building an interest in them and inspire them to try reading. This will encourage them to finish some of the lines in the story from memory and also mimic you by trying to read. Repetitive reading is known to have other advantages associated with memory enhancing as well.

  • Establish a reading rhythm

Set up a not too rigid reading schedule where you set apart some time every day towards activities to encourage reading. The aim here is to start and sustain the reading activities and have fun along the way!

  • Let them pick a book

Show them a set of age appropriate books. Let them choose a book that they would like to read or be read out to them. This engages them in the process and also helps you identify the kind of books they are leaning towards. Ensure that you let each of your children take turns in picking a book and you don’t forget your turn as well.

  • Picture books

Start with Picture books with short and simple sentences in large font.
Play show and tell with the pictures before you even start reading. Then compare that with what you read.
Point to each word as you read. Then point at the picture once you complete the sentences on that page so they can familiarize themselves with the words that form the sentences and how it associates to the picture.

  • Show tons of appreciation

Every word for which they take the initiative and are able to independently read by themselves, ensure you praise them and openly show your appreciation.
It really encourages them to go further as they read aloud to you starting with words to sentences to paragraphs, if they see you are enjoying the story.

  • Read together

Slowly begin taking turns along with them to read aloud a few lines from the book. Gradually let them read more lines than you do in your turn.

  • Interactive Quiz time

Pick a book on General Knowledge and engage them in a game of quiz.
You can take turns to pick the topic and to be the quiz master. The quiz master can read facts from the book to herself/himself and frame a question based on it. Keep it simple. Its a game I found children enjoy and and its a fun way to encourage them to learn lots of new things.

  • Send them on a quest

As you progress with the reading activities, this is something that helps sustain the interest in reading
Ask the child to find the most interesting, or funniest or silliest (you get the idea) line from the book and share it.

  • Role playing

Along with them pick a story or a short play that has already been read and have them enact it out. Also try it with with different set of play acting rules, where you don’t have to stay true to the plot of the story and allow for variations. This will help fire up their interest and imagination as well.
Don’t forget to join in on the fun and play a character from the story yourself as well.

  • Take them along to a library or book store

Introduce them to different types of children’s books both fiction and non-fiction and give them access to a variety of age appropriate books.
This will also help build their awareness to a wide range of books out there for them to choose from. Let them feel free to pick and choose a book of their liking during every visit.

I think I will stop here and probably in a future post also share the titles of some of the books that I enjoy reading with my children.

Would love to hear from you, on reading tips and tricks that worked for you!

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