Reading is more than a mere hobby. Books fuel the reader’s imagination, keep their brain active and make them more creative. Books have the power to transport the reader into a world of fantasy. There is no right age to introduce books in a child’s routine. The sooner it is, the better is it for your child. Reading not just develop the imagination skills of a child but also work on their personality, intelligence and communication skills.
Like every other good habits, books as well should also be introduced to the child at an early age. Children are like sponges and exposing them to the world of books will ensure they become smart, inquisitive, imaginative adults. While the child, most of the times, are confined to a specific space, books makes them realize that there is a vast world outside to explore. So how develop reading habits in a child?
Be a role modal
Children may not listen to what the parents say but they will always observe them closely. When the kids see their parents reading books or the morning paper daily they are more likely to develop the same. Reading can or should never be forced on kids. It should subtly be imbibed in their routine where they find it fun and not a punishment. To encourage a child to read, you yourself have to be a good reader first. Read the novels or books of your interest and let the kid observe you. When this happens, he/she would also want to do the same. My daughter, being 3.5 years old, loves her books. Although she can only read a few 3 letter words as of now, yet her books are always by her side. This practice will take a little while but would prove to be a game changer for you.
The best way to develop the interest of a child towards books is to read along with them. Pick any story book of their interest and read the stories out-load, in your most dramatic manner to catch the interest of the child. It is not necessary for you to wait for the right age of the child to introduce books; it may start as early as 6 months. My daughter was just 15 months old when, during a story telling session, she listened to the story of a lion and a clever fox. I honestly though that she won’t understand a word out of it. But to my surprise, she did. And not just understood it but also tried to narrate it to me (in her best possible manner).
Taking kids to a bookstore and allowing them to explore and pickup books of their liking is another easy and fun way to develop kids into voracious readers. It isn’t that you should let them choose from the ocean-like book collection in the store. Pick 4-5 books yourself and let them choose one from those. It will not just give them a sense of independence but also a responsibility to take care of the book they choose themselves.
Develop a reading corner
To make a special place of books in your child’s life, it is important that they have a special place in your home. Set a specific reading corner for your child and take them to read a book there daily. Your reading space doesn’t have to be big or have a lot of bookshelves. It can even be a corner with a couch or a chair in your child’s room itself. Picking out a comfortable spot that has good lighting and room to keep a book or two can help your child learn to connect coziness and comfort with reading. Also it is important for you to make a point to access that area daily to read a book or even a few pages. Remember, the reading corner shouldn’t be used as a study corner for your child. This will give them a feeling that the books are a part of their syllabus and not a fun activity. So keep the two separate.
Books as a rewards
Nothing can be more wonderful than getting a book as a reward and every reader would agree with me on this. Books can be a great reward and the same has to understood by your child. Start rewarding your child with his/her favorite books for every good deed that they do and also start gifting books to friends and family.
Take them for story-telling sessions/ classes
There are n number of story telling sessions and classes conducted these days by experts and even by schools. Participate in those sessions with your kid where he/she will experience a great dramatic way to read books. Story-tellers in these sessions read the stories in a dramatic and animated way where the kids kind of live the story themselves and develop a great interest towards books. These sessions also introduce them to different genres of books and break the monotony for them.
While books are your beast friends for ever, these tips will surely help you take your kids closer towards the world of reading. Happy reading….