Getting your kids to read books can be a difficult mission, but it is a worthy one. Reading is the launch pad to innumerable soft skills that become critical for the future – language, writing, creativity, imagination, communication. Other than these, books are a store house of rich and diverse information. True, information is now only a click away, but there continues to be a charm in shifting through shelf after shelf in a library, hunting for that one book that can add wonders to your project or homework.
There is a fear that we are rearing a generation that is slowly losing out on a firm and sustained habit of reading. Blame it on technology and easy access to devices which have created an information explosion. The result? Shorter attention spans, lack of patience to pursue words and more responsiveness to visual, rather than text input. Anything less than moving and talking images appears dull.
The importance of reading, however, cannot be stressed enough. This, not only for the sake of cultivating skills, but for the pure joy of immersing oneself in the fascinating world of stories, or an incredible sea of facts or simply to enjoy reading aloud poems and interpreting pictures. Reading stokes imagination and gives people lifelong companionship in the form of books.
Having thus established the importance of reading, here are some easy to follow tricks to help your kid get friendly with the written word.
- Read Aloud
When your child is small reading aloud helps. Get your child familiarised with characters, magic, morals and important messages. Choice of stories at this age will help build basic values of empathy, sensitivity and compassion in your child.
- Create a Reading Corner
Approach reading as an experience, not a boring task to be done in isolation. Build a little library, install a bean bag/a cozy chair, add some lights and other pretty details and lo and behold your reading nook is ready. Creating an attractive space will encourage your child to spend time there, help them select books on their own and settle in for a long and happy experience of reading.
Not everyone reads the same kind of books. Allow your child to walk-through a bookstore or a library and help them explore different genres. Let them pick the books that they find interesting. As a parent, simply observe and don’t interrupt. Let books call out to your child on their own.
- Lead by Example
Your kids emulate you all the time, whether you are aware or unaware of it. Your habits, language, mannerisms, they are all being imitated. It’s therefore equally important that you read yourself, and your children will then follow suit. Reading as a family activity is also fantastic – it gives you many happy things to talk about.
- Talk about Books
This is simple yet very important and will give shape to your child’s reading and help experience books better. Talk to your children about books they like and why. Nudge them into thinking about the book once they’ve finished it. Ask them simple questions like – who was the real hero in the story? What did they like about a particular character? And through these answers subtly teach them life lessons. Talk to kids about books you read as a child and see if they also read them you can share your experiences.
Reading, in short, is one of the most simple routes to happy and healthy living. Happiest are the houses whose libraries are big, and it is time you expanded the one in your home. In consultation with your little one, of course!