It is very important to develop reading habits in your child as this inculcates positive imagination and creative thinking in the child and makes the brain more active. A child with a positive reading habit will be more imaginative, creative. Being exposed to these good habits will help children become stronger readers and students. The first step is developing positive reading habits with your child, as well as a positive attitude towards literacy in your family and in your home.
As a Parent it is your responsibility first to inculcate and develop reading skills in your child. There are some steps that you can take as a parent to cultivate the love of reading in your child.
6 Ways to Help Develop Reading Habits in your Child
Read Yourself: It’s just that simple! If you want your children to develop reading habits make sure that they see you reading also. Not only for pleasure but also reading to gather information, knowledge, understanding instructions and even connecting with others. When your children see you reading on a regular basis they too will emulate these habits and start reading themselves. Leading by example will make your child understand the importance of developing reading habits. Our children pick up most of their habits from us and it is therefore very important as parents to be careful to inculcate positive attitude towards important habits such as reading, literacy and acquiring knowledge.
Discuss what you have read: Discuss with your child what he or she has been reading recently. It doesn’t have to be only story books. Discuss similarities between stories or events that you have read about and ask for their opinion on the matters. See if your child prefers any particular genre or author and encourage him or her to cultivate it. Start discussion groups in your neighborhood with other children to broaden your child’s discussion scope. Make positive environment of enquiry in the home so that your child does not feel stifled to ask any question related to what he is reading.
Share Your Experiences about Reading as a Child: Share books and magazines that were popular when you were children and show them to your children. Discuss what impacts the books, characters, authors had on your young life and how it helped shaped your ideas at the time. Encourage your child to read books and articles in his or her native language. This not only bonds them better with their cultural identity but also builds strong language skills. If reading skills are developed in the native languages they will automatically transfer into English. Contrary to common belief developing reading habits in a child’s native tongue does not hinder his or her ability to develop reading habits in English.
Let your Children Choose: After the initial monitoring of the reading material for your children let them choose what they want to read. Instead of dictating what tto read let your child choose his or her own reading material. As a parent you must understand that it is very important to still keep an eye on the reading level of your child but do not force your concepts of what you think he or she should be reading on them. Let your child choose his or her own reading material and bee sure to be there to help them out if they are getting discouraged.
Award visible rewards: One very successful way to motivate your child to develop reading habits is to use some sort of visible record of achievement. Make a game out of the books that your child has to read by deciding on the number of books he or she has to read to reach the top position. The game can include all the members of the family and will also help in making reading a shared experience for the whole family. A similar method can also be used to introduce your child to different genres of books. The game will require your child to read books from various genres and mark the achievements in their special card or notebook. As a reward for completing the genre specified or books in a particular genre the child can be given a small but tangible treat or award that will encourage him or her to repeat the achievements.
Go Beyond Just Books: Development of reading does not necessarily have to come only from reading books. Make your child take note of small details by letting them help you with the daily or weekly grocery lists. Make your child understand the importance of paying attention to details mentioned in the list and not miss out any of the items mentioned. Get your children membership in your local libraries and encourage them to borrow informative cd’s and dvd’s for free. There are many closed caption learning materials that will help your child develop a positive attitude towards reading as a habit.
As a habit reading has to be developed consciously by the parents during the early years for a child. Once this habit is ingrained then children tend to further develop tastes, preferences, genres and authors on their own. It is the time between picking up their first books to picking up books as a first choice that parents need to devote time to. Once your child understands the connections between reading and other wider historical, political context of reading it will automatically enhance their appreciation of reading.