In this guest post, Anitya from Hooked To Books will share her experience on how to make reading fun and interesting for your child. (While she’s not a mommy herself, Anitya has an 8 years old niece who she is reading “The Little Prince” and all the children’s encyclopedias with).
Benefits of reading
Reading benefits children in so many ways.
However, not every kid is a natural born bookworm. Some learn to read more slowly than others, and some enjoy tearing their books more than studying them. To develop and nurture your child’s love for books and reading requires a lot of patience and dedication from your side.
Apart from planning fun activities for reading time, it would be very useful for parents to know the basic tips for “marketing” the joy and the usefulness of reading to their child.
Make books easily available
It’s not likely your kid will ever think of books or grow a love for reading if they never see a book around. To make reading a part of their life, books should be something they see often enough.
Make sure you have age appropriate books easily within their view and their reach around the house. Have some in their bedroom/study room, and some in the living room. Decorate the shelves to make it more appealing to them. Even if your kid is not too fond of reading, they may pick one up out of boredom and become absorbed with the bookish adventures.
Take your child on trips to the bookstore and the library at a young age. It’s best as a family trip with some treats or other fun activities for them afterwards. They will look forward to the next time you go to the library again.
Make reading your own favorite activity
The best way to convince your child that reading is fun is to let them see you do it with a passion.
Lead by example and read your books (and even better yet, theirs!) even when they don’t. Talk in front of your child about what you’re reading, Discuss the ideas, what you like or do not like about a book, and what you predict the story will develop into.
While it would be nice to encourage your little one to take part in the bookish conversations, it’s not always necessary. Make the conversations with your partner or other members of the family. The most important thing is to get them exposed to the idea that reading can be a fun, recreational activity that everyone loves to do voluntarily.
Let your child be themselves
Parents’ suggestions and instructions are always necessary when a child first learn how to read. However, it is important to let them take the lead in their reading time as much as possible.
Always respect your kid’s choice in what they want to read. If they decide insects make a more appealing topic than arts, help them find the insect books. Make suggestions and encourage them to explore new topics and genres, but never force them to read what they are not interested in.
Also, it should be their decision how they read. While your guidance is necessary, they should have the time and the freedom to explore by themselves. Be patient when your kid seems to spend half an hour on a single page! They will eventually find a method and pace that feel most comfortable to them.
And as long as they can be themselves while they read, they will want to keep reading.
Set up a family reading time
One of the best traditions a family can have is a family reading time.
Be it 20 minutes or an hour, set aside some time when your family can read together every day. You can alternate the activities. Read aloud to each other on some days (yes, let your child take their turn to read aloud to you too!), and read independently in silence on other days.
If you’re too busy to do it daily, set aside some time on the weekend to read with your child. Make it a priority. It is not only the time when everyone gets some reading, but also a special bonding time. Even if you just read quietly and don’t talk to each other, you will still feel the warmth of companionship as you set off on your bookish adventures.
Build a cool reading corner
While your kid should be allowed to enjoy a read where they want to, it’s always nice to have a place they can focus on their books in peace.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy reading room. Get creative with that little room under the staircase, or the space near the bright window. Do some painting and drawing on the walls. Put in a sofa, a blanket and some pillows. Some small shelves. Add a pendant or a floor lamp to brighten up the nook and set the mood for books. Voilà! You got a cool reading nook in your house.
If your kid is old enough, invite them to work with you on building and decorating the nook. Let them personalize it to their taste whenever possible. That will surely be a place your kid enjoy spending time at with their books.
Start a book club
It’s always nice to have friends who have the same interests with you. Even if your child is introverted, they will most likely be happy to occasionally spend the reading time with, and sharing their thoughts on the books they read to someone who can really relate.
You can help your child develop a mini book club. Start by having them read with their friends after play time. Then try expanding the “club” to the neighborhood after a while. Design more reading games, mini reading and book review competitions, and book giving/exchange events for the kids to join. There you go; a fun, healthy community that can nurture your kid’s interest in reading!
Most parents like to have their child start reading in the old school way, aka using physical books. It just feels better for us to see them reading on a book rather than an iPad.
But if your child loves tech gadgets, it doesn’t hurt to let them read on them. Let them explore colorful comics on your tablet every once in awhile. To make it safer for their young eyes, it’s best to have a good ereader that uses e-ink and have soft warm screen light. There are many kid-friendly ereaders on the market: waterproof, with built-in dictionaries and bundles of children books. They could probably be more durable than physical books!
GUEST AUTHOR BIO
Anitya is a full-time nooblogger from Hooked To Books, a blog dedicated to book and reading gadget reviews. She aspires to make reading time the highlight of the day for everyone by sharing her reading tips, introducing interesting books, and reviewing gadgets that provide comfort and enhance reading efficiency.