As parents we all want our kid to develop reading habits. As the child progresses from Kindergarten to school, we eventually expect the kid to take up good reading skills. We know that it will help the child academically. Continuous reading develops our vocabulary, increases our attention span, expands our thought process and promotes analytical thinking.
The more we read, the more we realise that there are various ways to look at the same thing.
However, as parents we need to realise that some children have a natural love of reading, while others don’t have that natural tendency.
So, what are the simple steps to develop reading habits in kids?
- Read with them. One of the best ways to develop reading habits in a kid is to read with them at home. This habit needs to start at an early age. At an early age, kids learn by imitating adults. When you read with your child, it becomes a fun activity for them. The kid realises the joys of reading and it becomes a motivation for her too.
- Create a reading space. A dedicated zone. This space should be an area where the study table is set, but with fun accessories too. Adorn the space with a variety of books. It should be like a cosy corner not just to read but to escape if the kid wants to draw. Being in that zone will gradually develop her patience to sit for longer duration and gradually develop reading writing habits too.
- Look beyond books. One of the ways to develop reading is to encourage the child to read the sign boards on road, read menus at restaurant, read the names of products at grocery stores, road signs and many more. This will demonstrate to your child that reading is everywhere and it is beyond just books.
- Set an example. This is by far the most important step. You have to become your child’s first role model when it comes to books and reading. By reading in front of your child you are setting the best example that it is an important activity. Persuade the kid to bring her own book to read and join you in the process.
- Relate the reading. Make connections between what the child reads in books with her daily life. That way she will learn better and understand her own experiences through things around her.
- Keep books and reading materials handy. Give easy access to books at home. Make the child feel that reading is not just confined to schools or study tables. It can happen anywhere effortlessly.
- Take interest in your child’s reading materials. Rather than just dictating the child to sit at study table and read, get involved. Nothing demotivates the child more than if the process of reading is made into a duty or a task. After every reading, ask what the favourite part of the book was. This way the child will learn how to express her thoughts. It will also make reading a family activity.
- Attend book fairs and go to libraries. When possible, taking the child to libraries will further nurture the child’s reading habit. At libraries she can watch others taking interest in reading. Let the child see through the selection of books. Allow her to choose the book of her choice. She can then get introduced to different genres/varieties of books too.
While some kids naturally take to reading, others may not be as interested. If your child is someone who falls into the second category, it is important to be patient and take a step back. Forcing the child will only make reading more of a duty which the she may avoid even further. Developing any kind of habit is a gradual process. Read with the child as much as possible to develop this habit faster. It may sound simple, but it works. Every time.