DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S READING SKILLS
People say that reading is like feeding your soul. Reading can take you to places and it can teach you a lot of things. It develops your understanding and knowledge about a wide range of topics from literature, science, medicine, world phenomenon, culture differences, etc. Reading can also help to increase your vocabulary.
However, not everyone enjoys reading. There are people who just do not like to read and we cannot blame them. For those who are outgoing and adventurous, having to sit in a corner for hours with a book in their hands would sound so boring. This is especially true for young children who love to play and move around. Although it is tough to engage young children in books and reading, it is crucial to help them develop a love for reading.
Here are some of the benefits of reading in your children as listed in cameverlands.org.uk’s website:
• Reading increases their vocabulary and language skills – Reading gets them to learn new words and phrases that they have never encountered before. By reading these new words and phrases in books, children get to see how these words and phrases are being used in a sentence and it generates an innate curiosity in them to want to learn more about what these words and phrases mean so they will be able to better understand the entire story that they are reading. By actively seeking out what these words and phrases mean, there is now a higher tendency for these new words and phrases to remain in the child’s memory and will thus, be added to their vocabulary.
• Reading helps children perform better in school – Reading helps children to excel in all other subjects, not just English. “Children who are good readers tend to achieve better across the curriculum.” (Cam Everland Primary School, 2018)
• Reading provides an exercise to their brain and develops their imagination – When you read, your brain is also at work. All the words and descriptions you read are all being translated by the brain into different pictures, feelings and thoughts, thus expanding on your imaginative skills. Children can then use this knowledge to boost their creativity thinking skills when engaging in pretend play.
• Reading increase their awareness and knowledge of the world around them – Reading also gives provides an opportunity for children to learn more about other cultures, activities or events that they have never experienced before.
• Reading helps children to focus – Reading requires you to stay still and concentrate on the reading material in order to understand and be able to follow the story that is being told. Reading could help children develop their focus and concentration.
Now that we have mentioned the benefits of reading, the next question is ‘how do you go about cultivating a love for reading in your child?’ The job is easier said than done especially for parents whose children are just not interested in reading. You cannot force them to read if they do not want to. However, you can try to develop this skill over time.
Here are some tips on how you could help to develop your child’s love for reading:
• Read to them – As traditional as it is, reading to your children as early as prenatal stage is the first step in getting them to develop a love for reading. Bedtime stories were not named as such for no apparent reason. Set aside some time before your child goes to sleep and read to them.
• Keep books around the house – Make books easily accessible to children. As the saying goes ‘out of sight, out of mind’. You would not be able to get them to start reading if they do not see any books around them. Children are curious and are more likely to pick up anything they see around them.
• Never force your preferences on them – As parents, you may prefer your child to read educational books instead of comics or fiction, but you cannot force your preferences on them. “Children will enjoy books a lot more if they are allowed to choose the books themselves.” (Little Academy of Humble, 2018). You can only guide or suggest books to them but never force them to read a book that you like.
• Provide a comfortable reading nook – Having a comfortable and cozy reading nook that is warm and inviting would make your child more willing to read. A quiet reading corner or a mini library in the house could promote reading in the household.
• Set an example – Children like to copy what their parents are doing. If they see you reading, they would also want to do the same. If you want your child to do something, you got to set an example first.
Little Academy of Humble. (2018, May 14). How to Help Your Child Develop a Love For Reading. Retrieved from littleacademy.com: https://www.littleacademy.com/help-child-love-reading/
Cam Everland Primary School. (2018). 10 Benefits of Reading. Retrieved from cameverlands.org.uk: http://www.cameverlands.org.uk/10-benefits-of-reading/