How to teach your kids to read! 5 Simple steps you can take

How to teach your kids to read! 5 Simple steps you can take Cover Image

Parents, do you want to get your kids into reading regularly? Well, here are 5 things that you can do better to achieve that goal. They are easy tips that will help you guide your children into becoming enthusiastic and eager readers. Catch the full article, here.

Books and reading carry such a formidable reputation that sometimes it becomes a lofty aspirational goal of parents for their unsuspecting children. The overbearing presence of ‘teaching books’ at children focused book exhibitions and a most unfortunate lack of library culture means that most of our children never really get to discover the magical world of books at an age when their imagination is still free and their attention undivided.

The later we start introducing children to books the more difficult it gets simply because the skills needed to enjoy and gain from reading get left behind in the race as the faster, louder and forever new audio-video content they start consuming changes their attention spans, ability to focus and pushes their boredom threshold to unsustainably low levels. 

But if you are one of those parents who are convinced that reading and books have a multitude of benefits for your child’s long-term happiness and success in life and are currently engaged in developing a love of reading in them then…

Here are five things for you to take note of to get kids to read:

1. Be a role model:

A parent’s reading habit, behaviour and pattern is probably the best predictor of what kind of readers their children will become. However, as much you may wish for your children to pick up a habit for reading, it won’t happen unless your reading behaviour is in line with them. 

2. What is interesting to you may not be interesting to your child:

Another common mistake parents make is to impose the burdens of their own childhood on their children by making them read the books they enjoyed as a child. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child when you share your favourite reads with them but wait for the right moment to do that and respect their individuality.

Till then, let your child explore a large variety of books in different genres to figure out what gives them the most joy. There is a huge wealth of contemporary children’s books waiting for them to explore and modern classics are being written as we speak. 

3. Make reading interactive:

Although most of what your early reader enjoys reading is going to be what makes them laugh, you can still find a way to encourage them by sharing the jokes. Even picture books have hidden life lessons which you can use to reflect upon together.

As your child grows as a reader, you will find a huge variety of discussion worthy themes and topics in the books. Don’t over analyse every story they read, but do help them make connections between the books and the world they inhabit. 

4. Maintain consistency:

It helps tremendously if reading is a part of your family’s daily routine. If your child is just beginning to read independently, you may like to ensure that you read a book or a part of it at bed time or any other time during the day. For independent readers, you can provide a constant stream of appropriate reading material to ensure consistency.

It is no secret that even those children who show signs of a budding, avid reader in their preschool years start to get distracted by digital media by the time they are about nine years old. Parents’ support in maintaining consistency is all the more important when children have many options and choices of discretionary activities to engage in. 

5. What is a book:

It is scientifically proven that reading literary fiction makes us emotionally intelligent and teaches us to think logically and critically. However, when our children are just beginning to explore books, let us not be too selective about what they read.

Graphic novels or comics are as great a pathway to becoming a reader as non fiction books. Let them read whatever catches their fancy, as long as it is appropriate for them and introduce variety slowly as you go. 

So, parents, as you can see, teaching your kids to get into reading is not a very difficult thing and these 5 steps makes it even easier. And if you want to know more about how you can start your kids’ reading journey, check out this article on a fun online reading program that is great for your little readers at home!

About the Guest Author

Charu, the co-founder of Read To Think believes that she had a second birth as a reader when she became a mother as she discovered the magic of picture books with her children. Her love for children’s literature has only grown since then! Strongly influenced by the writing and research of Dr. Maryanne Wolfe, Cognitive Scientist and Reading Scholar, Charu co-founded Read to Think with the wish to get as many children as possible on the path to a lifelong reading journey. Before Read to Think, Charu was at the forefront of managing the Bangalore Centre of the British Council Library for over 12 years, developing and running reading programs for children.

Featured Image credit: Freepik

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