As a parent, you’ve probably heard it since the moment your child was born:
“It is so important that you read to your child every night.”
You’ve probably had a moment where you’ve looked at your sweet little baby and giggled at the idea that reading to them at such a young age could have any sort of effect on their development.
It does and here’s why – it is one thing for a parent to read to their child in order to help them develop language and communication as well as stimulate imagination and creativity BUT it also instills a habit and love for reading itself. There will come a time where it will be up to your child to continue an interest in reading and the key to teaching your kids to love reading is to read to them early in their lives.
However, it takes more than simply reading to them to foster a love for the activity. Here are some other ways to encourage your child to love reading:
- Don’t just read to your child. Perform! From a very early age, children are easily entertained by variations in the tone of your voice. When you are reading to your baby, and also throughout their childhood, try to avoid a bland and monotonous tone. That’s not to say you need to perform a book like a Shakespearean masterpiece but you should try to breathe some life into the story. Your kids will love it!
- Let them run the show. Even if your child cannot yet read, they may be capable of telling you a story without relying on the words in the book. Allow them the opportunity to “read” to you and make sure they know how exciting and engaging their story is. Once they begin learning how to read, encourage them to follow the words in the book – just be sure to never to pressure on them to get it right.
- Never say ‘no’ to books. As a parent you may be striving to your child your child the importance of not always getting what they want, especially at stores, but you should reconsider this lesson when it comes to books. The excitement of reading rekindles every time your child has a new book to peruse. On a budget? Take advantage of local libraries or book exchanges.
- Try comics or graphic novels for reluctant readers. It may be that your child struggles with reading and therefore has no desire to delve into books. Before you give up on trying to get them to love reading, look for interesting and engaging (and age-appropriate) comics or graphic novels. They do require a certain amount of reading but most of the story is advanced through accompanying images.
- Be a role model. Most of the time if you meet a kid that loves to read, they have parents or a parent who loves to read too. Children learn from your behavior, so indulging in the habit of reading yourself creates the impression that reading is good. If you are a reluctant reader, don’t shy away from comics and graphics novels you may enjoy as well as newspapers and magazines.