Author: Elizabeth du Toit
This can be a daunting task For Children and doesn’t happen effortlessly. “The parent’s main role is to foster good feelings about reading, treating it like a leisure activity not adding any academic pressure” says Maria Russo, co-author of How to Raise a Reader.
Why is reading for pleasure so important? Here are some practical reasons why.
- Books can be meaningful – Children can relate with characters and help them to understand other people’s experiences.
- It helps to develop empathy towards others.
- Lengthens attention span, it develops social and communication skills.
- Books inspire creativity and curiosity.
- Reading helps a child to think critically.
- Books enables children to learn about the world, their own cultures, and other cultures.
- Improves comprehensive skills and broaden their vocabulary or develop a more sophisticated vocabulary.
- Reading can improve early literacy skills by getting to know sounds, words and language at an early age.
- By reading together helps smaller children to make sense of their world.
- Reading time together with your child can promote bonding and help build the relationship between you and your child.
- Books can be a source of comfort; they learn the value of stories and books.
- It helps build independence and self-confidence
- Studies have shown that: It leads to their future academic success, it improves writing skills and grammar.
How to establish some reading rituals?
- Be a reading role model.
- Create scheduled and unscheduled reading time. Scheduled reading time can be before bedtime of before school. Unscheduled reading time can be in the car or even waiting for a dentist appointment etc. This will change as children get older and their needs evolve.
- Surround your kids with books. Create a little reading nook in their room or the house with lots of interesting and colourful books, make sure there is a comfortable chair or even a beanbag for relaxing and comfortable reading.
- Leave a basket of books where children might get bored like in the car, bathroom etc.
- Host a book swap day with friends.
- Give books as presents for holidays and birthdays.
- Let the child choose the bedtime story, even if it’s only 2/3 pages.
- Keep reading to them even if they can read independently but choose more complicated books to increase sophisticated vocabulary.
- Make reading the reward.
- Let them write their own stories.
What about Audiobooks and digital books?
“Audiobooks and digital books still have benefits in terms of language development” says Dr Willingham. However, allot of these experts say a hard cover book is still preferable for small children who don’t need screen time. This all depends on the child’s age. “A teen who has a kindle App on her phone will always have a book with her” says Dr Daniel Willingham, at the university of Virginia.
Don’t increase pressure, but lifelong pleasure. Reading should not have any negative association, otherwise it’s very difficult for children to connect with books. Now, go grab a book and your child and get reading.
Lucid Content. How to raise a child who loves to read. [online]. Available at: www.parents.com [Accessed 14 September 2021].
Lucid Content. 6 Tips for creating a reading culture in your home. [online]. Available at: www.parentmap.com [Accessed 13 September 2021].
Lucid Content. 10 reasons why reading is important for kids. [online]. Available at: www.opti-baby.co.za [Accessed 14 September 2021].