Reading is a skill just like any other. However, it is arguably the most important skill for a child to acquire, and the process of learning starts at a very early age. Getting this right and developing a love for reading in your child will make them not only good readers but good writers, too. This, in turn, means that they will fare better at school and beyond, for the rest of their lives. The thing is, according to some studies, that the love for reading develops in children by the time they are seven, which means their preschool education is vital in the process. Because of this, you will want to get your child in a quality early learning centre, where reading is given the attention it deserves.
How does reading benefit children?
Yes, we’ve mentioned reading and writing in the introduction, but let’s dig deeper – there are many more reasons why reading is important.
First of all, reading many books will show your child many different worlds, many different stories, events, and characters, and all of this will have to take form in your child’s head. Therefore, their imagination will grow almost exponentially. Second, the act of reading requires concentration. It’s almost like a type of meditation in that it allows the focus they get and the ability to concentrate to be used in other activities, as well. Reading also expands the vocabulary (obviously), which in turn helps improve communication and fluency, can be a great source of knowledge but of entertainment too, and boosts the brain’s capability to process data. And the list of reading benefits just goes on and on. But how do you actually get children to read?
How to get your child to start reading?
There are several ways to get your child to start reading, but fortunately, all of them are quite easy to implement. The key is to set an example to them and make sure they always have something to read nearby when they’re home. Start reading to them aloud from a very early age to make this seem completely normal to them, and let them see you reading something of your own. Small children are very likely to imitate their parents, so when they see you reading, they will want to do the same. In short, just make it a part of their lives from an early age and lead by example. If you love books yourself, it won’t be a problem to impart that love to your children.
What if they refuse to read?
Still, sometimes things just don’t go smoothly. Sometimes they just don’t want to read. What then? Well, first you have to find out what’s bothering them. Have a straight conversation with your child and treat the issue seriously (don’t be angry, stern or anything like that, just acknowledge the answers they give you). Ask them directly what it is that they don’t like about reading. It may be that reading causes them physical discomfort, which may indicate that they need glasses.
If they say that they simply don’t have enough confidence, that they think they don’t compare favourably to others in terms of reading skills, just encourage them to read however it suits them best. After all, reading should be a relaxing and entertaining experience.
Should your child find the books they have at their disposal not engaging enough, the solution is simple – get new books. Mind you, comic books work, too! As a matter of fact, they can do wonders for your child’s willingness to read precisely because they have a lot of pictures inside. It makes things a lot easier, a lot more engaging, especially if the comic books are colourful, and at the end of the day, reading is still being done.
You can also entice them with a (animated) movie made according to a book. Show them a trailer, make them interested, and then tell them to read the (comic) book it’s based on. If they like the trailer, they’ll be eager to find out what’s the movie about and what’s going on.
There are many ways to spark the love of reading in your child. As a parent, you have many options at your disposal, and simple everyday activities can go a long way in showing the little ones the benefits books have. Providing an environment in which reading is encouraged is absolutely key.
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