“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” – Lena Dunham
I came upon this quote, and just thinking about it excites me. A whole day to read and only read.
As a kid, I was a voracious reader. I read about everything that I could find my hands on, and I had read most of the books in the vast library in my school. I was intrigued by the plots in the stories, imagined myself going on the treasure hunts and adventures, and would get wordy reciting the poems.
When I think of my love for reading, that is one thing that stayed on. All my other interests have shifted in one way or the other.
The ability to read and comprehend is so vital at any age. Reading can expand our senses and understanding of life. Reading can be so deep that it can feed our soul.
While many parents want their children to become avid readers, they are clueless about how they can help their child to love reading.
While it is essential for children to like reading, it is equally vital for the parents not to thrust their love of reading on to their children.
Any kind of reading is good reading - It can be reading from a printed book or a child would prefer digital reading such as an e-book, story apps.
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Three simple strategies can kindle your child’s interest in reading:
1. Read to and with your child at least for 30 minutes each day:
Research shows that there is a positive association of parents reading to their children and the child’s subsequent reading skills, language skills and cognitive development. Mol and Bus in a 2011 study concluded that children who are read to more frequently at an early age enter school with larger vocabularies and more advanced comprehension skills. When parents read out to their child, they will gain awareness about the language, tone and pitch while reading. Using a guide like a pencil under the printed words as you read will help the child to identify the words and letters. You could add a whole new dimension to the reading experience by making it dialogic. Engaging in conversations about material on the printed page or about experiences the child has had that relate to the story makes reading more personal.
2. Model Good Reading Habits:
Your child will recognise that reading is essential only when you demonstrate good reading habits. When there are not enough books at home, it would be difficult to inculcate the reading habit. While books like Encyclopaedia, dictionary and Science facts, books can improve knowledge, piquing a child’s interest in reading is easier through imagination created in the stories. A fun and enjoyable strategy could be having a ‘Reading Party’ once a week. Having a wide choice of books accessible, both parents reading and encouraging the child to read exciting snippets from the book can enrich the reading experience for the child. How about making it even more fun by reading the books that your children are reading?
3. Developing visual reading:
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Adding pictures and diagrams to the vocabulary can generate interest in reading and make it more real for the child. While books of younger children have more pictures and colour, as the child grows older, the books contain lesser images and minimal colour. In school, children are generally taught to read a word and its definition and keep repeating it. It gets tedious and tiresome for the child. What if the child can learn the same word by creating or drawing a picture of the word? Children can make movies and stories about what they are reading. It can be crucial to their imagination and can stimulate the right side of their brain. When children read, the words create a specific image, and the child learns to manipulate the picture in mind. As the child continues to practice making pictures, it strengthens the mind, encourages creativity and innovation.
As Albert Einstein puts it “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”