As parents one of our biggest pleasure in life is watching our children grow and accomplishing milestones along the way, from babies first smile, first words to learning to read – these are all achievements that are beautiful in their simplicity. Encouraging children to love and appreciate books and become lifelong readers is also an accomplishment and is one of the best things you can do for them – no matter what they decide to pursue in the future, having a passion for reading will always help with their endeavors.
Reading is fundamental, it’s what helps us learn! It is a gateway to an endless amount of knowledge and exploration that you can embark upon at any time and at any place. You don’t need to be a professional in early literacy or education to encourage young minds to indulge in books and form a love for them.
5 Ways To Encourage Children To Read And Have A Love For Books
1. Set the example.
Kids learn by mimicking those around them, in fact, they learn best by example! Let your children see you read every day and talk about your books (age appropriately of course) to them, tell them what you are reading about and what you are learning. Let them see you get excited about your books. The same goes for educators, let your students see you read, discuss the book you currently have on your desk with them and refer to things you have learnt from book you have read. For instance, you can say “I recently read a good fictional book about a child who had a similar experience to you “– let them know that books are something they can relate to.
2. Read to your young ones every day.
It is never too early to start reading to children, in fact, read too them from the moment they are born! Reading to them from early days will help them build a vocabulary before they can even speak and it is a beautiful way to bond with little ones. You don’t even need to ready the actual story, you can simply talk about the pictures. Every time you read a book to your child, show them how to hold it the right side up, how to read from left to right and how to look after a book and treat it with care – let your books last forever!
3. Books can be toys too.
Instead of spending your hard-earned money on toys that will either be broken in the first 10 minutes of use, never played with or lost somewhere in that black-hole that seems to absorb many random objects – why not apply for a library card, or make a book purchase for your little on every month (visit second hand bookstores in your area for great deals)! Make sure there is always a book for your kids to ready in your nappy bag or backpack, this will keep them busy on outings and can stimulate the imagination wherever you are!
4. A trip to the library can be a super fun outing.
Make libraries fun! As soon as my child turned one I got him his very own library card and every two weeks we make a special trip to the library. Before we leave I get him excited about the trip. When we are there we sift through all the books, read a story or two at the library and then we end off with a picnic at a nearby park. Later that night he gets his dad to read him his new books, excitement for the whole family!
5. Bring books to life!
Books are there to broaden your knowledge and to ignite your imagination. Bring them to life for your children by reading stories enthusiastically. Change the tone of your voice appropriately, exaggerate parts, do sound effects, use hand gestures, even stand and prance about if the story allows – put actions into what you are reading. This is a sure way to get your kid’s attention and make the feel just ass passionate as you do about the book.
These days books are often overlooked, since technology has taken it's place (think Ipad apps, Youtube videos and computer games). Try limit all this screen time as much impossible and focus your attention on helping (not forcing) your children to love and appreciate a good read!
Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. Beverly Cleary