How to Foster Reading in Kids
How’s keeping up with the post-Eid routine coming along? I have been lazy and trying to get back at it. After all, managing work, daily house chores and kids (who are having a summer break) can become challenging. Today, as most of you will agree, kids are faster. They dwell in a tech-enabled environment where having gadgets for a junior school kid has become a norm. That said, I am not anti-tech or gadgets, they surely have become the need of the hour. What bothers me is kids depending way too much and centering their routines on them.
Modern time parenthood is different. Where raising a kid in the present time is concerned easier, there is no debate on the new challenges that modern parents have to face while providing for the best for their kids. Working parents battle between spending some real quality time with their kids and sorting out their work issues. In the midst of all these happenings, what I really think is missing in modern parenting is the habit of reading; reading for yourself and with your kids.
I can go on and on with explaining the benefits of reading but you guys are well aware of it. It’s more than familiarizing oneself with a language and learning some new words. It’s an experience that shapes up one’s perspective and changes it for better. At this point, I am addressing all those who have either experienced parenthood or are setting on the journey soon. Here are some ways that I think can come handy if you are planning to raise a reader.
Reacquaint Yourself with Books
You might have been a ferocious reader back in the day but lately if reading has slid to the margins of your life then you must get it back. How can you raise a reader if you’re missing out yourself? Make the space and time for some books – pick the ones you wanna read for yourself and line up the ones that you would want to read with your kid(s). It’s never too late to get started.
Baby Books Can Make Good Starters
Do you know toddlers and even newborns respond to reading if the language is live, in person and directed at the child? Research also shows that it impacts the capacity of language development in infancy. If you think reading a rather literary book with some life-long lesson is a long call, get started with something fun. Engage your kids with baby books and focus on making it an experience for them. Opt for books with pictures and textures and make it focus on different sensory experiences; the feel of the pages, scent of glue, tactile contact while explaining the illustrations and phrases, etc. You can go for something as classic as the tales that travel down the generations or something very recent and modern.
Mind Your Audience
When you are reading to a toddler, they take it all in; words, language structure, colors, shapes, objects, sound, tone and delivery. They associate books with your voice and the physical closeness the reading session brings. In one way or the other, you translate the book through different words, emotions and sounds for them. Make sure to keep an eye contact more often with your kid but don’t be too hasty with their reaction.
Now a toddler would resonate with different books than a teenager and vice versa. Take your pick smartly. Age-appropriate literature and books is the key to nurture a good reader. That said, also be considerate towards your kid’s preferences. If they don’t want the kale salad, don’t push it. Let them express their taste in books and you can have a nice mix of your favorite books and the ones they are passionate about.
Set a Time
Usually, deciding a time for reading is ideal for your kids to have a routine but don’t get fixated. Bed-time reading might sound a great idea but that’s not the rule. Reading can happen throughout the day. If you’re reading to your kid during the night to tuck them nicely in the bed then reading to them during the day time might be a great idea to keep your ball of energy positively busy and focused.
Don’t get so caught up with your own reading – always be open to your kid’s comments, responses and queries. Such interruptions show that the child is engaged. Do your best to address those concerns and queries and effectively bring them back to the point you left on.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Familiarize with your kid with a number of topics, subjects and ideas. Opening their mind to new concepts can enhance their understanding on a number of ideas that are universal. Don’t mind to tweak the old literature that is now considered offensive, racist or sexist to foster an open mind. Opening up kids to diverse books will help them prepare for a diverse world that we are a part of today.
That’s about it, folks. Since summer break is still on, it might be just the right time to keep it rolling. Let me know what you think about it and how can you make it better for your kid. Here’s to the parent-child book club. Happy reading! Until next time.