If they are able to foster this in their children then they are more likely to learn the mechanics of reading—like letter sounds and how to blend them. With screen time slowly taking centre stage, more effort and creativity is required to develop your child’s love for books.
- Make it a habit: Parents can begin with making reading a habit for their toddlers. At specific times, such as ‘bedtime’, the child and parent should read together. While a child snuggles to their parent, the warmth and coziness makes them enjoy the book and concentrate better. When such habits become a ritual it is very relaxing for both the child and the parent.
- Follow the child’s cues: As parents if we are rigid then there is very little we can accomplish with our children. By being flexible, we will be giving the child the freedom to make a choice and decide which book they would want to read. Instead of forcing them to read only what you have in mind.
Pick books that match your child’s interest. For instance, if your child loves trucks or bears, find books that leverage these to make him/her engage better.
- Sing and emote: With reading it’s easier to grab the child’s attention through songs and rhymes. This is because it becomes easier to begin to discern the smaller sounds in words. It is also yet another way to have fun while reading which allows your child to participate too.
Also, adding emotion to your reading goes a long way in engaging the child. Use different pitch and tones of your voice, change your expressions and watch your child fall in love with reading.
- Tap into interests: Remember that reading extends beyond chapter books. Read the books whose subject the child is interested in. This will make the child read the same book more than once. Repetition develops logical skills. The first time children hear a book, they don’t catch everything. But, as they hear it again and again, they begin to notice the patterns and differences. For example, when a child is reading, ‘Brown bear’ – on one page it says, “Brown bear, brown bear, what you see?” the next page will tell brown bear’s response: “I see a red bird looking at me.”
- Talk: An important part of reading is comprehension—understanding what’s going on in the story and beginning to make predictions about what will happen next. When you pick up a new book, look at the cover and pictures together with your child and talk about what it might be about. Or, after you’ve read a book, ask questions about the plot or what they liked about the story.
- Model reading: When a child sees their parent do something, they want to do it too. If you pick a book, you’ll notice they’ll do the same.
- Find the reading and writing in everyday things: Take the time to show your child ways that adults use reading and writing every day. Grocery lists notes to the teacher, maps, and cooking all involve important reading and writing skills.
- Visit the library early and often: Public libraries are great resources for books, helpful advice about authors and illustrators, story times, and more. Make visiting the library part of your family’s routine.
- Keep the storytime tradition alive: One of the biggest mistakes parents make once their kids start learning to read is to stop reading aloud to them. Build comprehension skills by choosing something that’s above your kids’ own reading level, so the stories remain engaging and they can continue to add new words to their vocabulary.