One of the most challenging things parents and teachers of today’s tech-savvy generation face is to veer them away from screens. Getting them interested in traditional forms of study and learning materials like books and games can also be an effort at times. In such a scenario raising readers is a daunting task but achievable nevertheless.
Habits formed in the young age usually stay with us throughout our lives. It hence becomes imperative that with the right motivation and direction we inculcate good reading habits in kids. Here are a few pointers that might help:
Start simple and easy
Toddlers love picture books. You can begin by making them identify animals, means of transport etc and encourage them to flip pages. Same can be done for story books at reading time. As they grow older you can slowly ask them to recall names, spellings and give a try at reading themselves. Don’t push but do encourage them even if they make mistakes.
Give them books they can understand
There are a lot of age-appropriate books available for kids like Harry Potter series, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew, Amar Chitra Katha and also the ones by acclaimed authors like Ruskin Bond, Sudha Murthy, R.K.Narayan etc. These books are good in content, have a strong storyline and can also contribute in improving their language and vocabulary. Kids are sure to enjoy reading them.
Read aloud to kids
Reading to kids everyday can be tiring but investing time in this activity is sure to reap benefits later. Sometimes your involvement makes all the difference without you realising it. Pick up books that allow you to modulate your voice. Use props or add your own imagination if need be. This will make reading a whole lot of fun and make kids look forward to it. Don’t stop this practice even when your kids grow up. Teenagers like being read to too.
Get book and magazine subscriptions
Depending on their interest you can get subscriptions for books and magazines for your kids. This will not only get you good discounts but also make kids look forward to the next edition thereby keeping them glued to each one. Ask them to read out their favourite articles and also offer suggestions for you. This will broaden their perspective and expose them to a variety of reading material. This is one of the best ways to learn beyond their school books.
Encourage book swapping
Book swapping is a great way for kids to lay their hands on their favourite books without having to buy them every time. It also saves space, gives kids the option to pick and choose, encourages conversations amongst kids and introduces them to new authors and titles. Not to mention, they learn sharing too. They can even form a small book club and share their thoughts about a book.
Take them to book stores and libraries
The heady aroma of a book store is hard to resist. Many bookstores have comfortable and colourful seating area for kids where they can sit and read without being disturbed. Libraries are different from book stores but are no less than a temple dedicated to books. Let them browse at leisure and acquaint themselves with new genres and languages. This experience is sure to make them love reading.
All said and done, kids learn from example too. Parents who read may find it easier to instil reading habits in their kids although it may not happen every time. Also, reading is not limited to books. Newspapers, hoardings, letters, etc are also potential readable materials and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Let kids choose what and how they want to read as long as it is fuelling their imagination and teaching them a thing or two.