So for those moms and dads out there, with all the distractions of television, YouTube, video and app games circulating around this technology driven era, do you still think and believe that reading is indeed a habit worth developing among kids? Is it still a commendable hobby given the ready availability of information and entertainment with just a click of a mouse or a push of a button?
If your answer is "Aye” to the questions I asked, then I advise you to proceed. Yet if you responded with a “Nay,” I am in awe why you even bothered reaching this far beyond the title, but still I encourage you to go ahead reading and learning from this article.
There are a variety of methods in order to instill in your kids the habit of reading, but in here, I have summarized and collated them into 4 lists. All of those methods will more or less fall into one of these 4.
Here they are...
1. Set an example of the reading habit
Albeit what we want to develop is a habit that deals with the competency of words, I want to reinforce the old saying that (still) your actions speak louder than your words. As a parent and elder guardian, your visible habits and practices are powerful enough to be the standards your children will set in their lives. The example of yourself being a voracious reader and someone who has acquired wisdom and success because of your love for reading will make a strong statement in encouraging your children to read more often.
If your kids can see you watching TV all day, going out all night to attend parties and gimmicks, or getting the knack for a full slumber during the daytime, even if your house walls are covered with shelves full of books, surely what they see in you is a sure assumption of what they want to do with their living. The presence of books in a household will not ensure that those living in it are reading them.
Read, read, and read! Show it to your kids and be an example that reading books has and will reap benefits.
2. Read stories to your children even if they are still babies
According to Pediatrician Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. in a study she wrote for Fisher-Price...
“You don't have to wait until your child is talking; even from early infancy, reading to your baby begins to teach her to recognize the sounds and rhythm of language and to feel that cuddling with you and reading books is comforting and fun.”
The baby's brain is like a sponge; it absorbs anything it sees and hears. When the mother or father reads stories for the baby, this habit can be easily absorbed as long as it is a consistent routine for the baby. As the infant grows up, he/she becomes accustomed to the habit and will always ask for it before he/she goes for bedtime and dreams with the Sandman.
When the child has learned how to read, it will be the time he/she will read the stories on his/her own and these stories will be his/her basis for the Sandman to weave in his/her dreams during the course of the night.
The habit has been planted.
3. Once they know how to read, buy or borrow the books they will like and not what you like
Ok, so your child might now be a budding book fanatic. He/she has read a number of books already and even gets interested in reading magazines and newspapers. Your training is starting to bear fruit.
Now here is the caveat… Do not force your children to read a specific literary genre that they are not interested in yet, lest you ruin the momentum. They may not be ready yet to digest everything you want them to read. Let them read the types of literature they are having fun with, the ones that keep them hooked on the habit. Time will come they themselves will look for other heavy duty types of reading material.
In this way, you keep the encouragement going. The point here is to show them that reading is equal to having fun and not some boring activity only nerds are capable of doing.
4. Start conversations about the book they have read or are currently reading
“Oh yes, we are a family of book-loving fanatics!” - you say. Yet, do you and your children talk about what you are reading? What books have you finished? What books are you planning to read? Do your kids share with you how funny, scary, or emotionally charged the book's plot is?
If you are not yet doing that, then start the ball rolling. Do not let your kids stay stuck in their own world. Talk to them! Ask them the name of the book's main character. Ask who are the villains and what is the struggle the character has to undergo. Whether they are finished with the book or not, it does not matter. Never mind the spoilers too, what you want to happen here is real family interaction. Show them that the stories they are reading are worth sharing to the world.
One comment non-book lovers have on reading is that this hobby is a solitary activity, that it is not capable of building relationships and sustaining interactions. Do you think that claim has some basis? I think not! Tip #4 proves it to be wrong. Yet, in order to debunk the negative propaganda – make your book reading activity with your family interactive, share the stories, and express your opinions and feelings about it
Later on, your kids may get interested in joining a book club, but why not make your family as your own closely knit book club? Let the stories and characters from the books inspire your family to talk and interact with each other. Prove to the world that books are tools for family bonding and not cages for isolation.
As a final note, here is a sweet video of Indigo's Love of Reading commercial.
Reluctant to Read c/o Patrice_Audet / Pixabay
In Love with Reading PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay