Reading books or novels is becoming a long forgotten hobby today. Children today are more engrossed in quick texting and small conversations rather talking heart to heart. Reading has become a boring and lethargic activity to them. So, it is now necessary to bring them back to the magical world of books and develop a taste for reading but the question is- How?
Let them pick
According to author Stacy McAnulty a child is more likely to start and finish the book which he chooses to read rather than the one forced on to him. The author also confessed of not being a great book lover herself once upon a time. As a mother McAnulty understands that the child’s interest may change from time to time but it is essential to first grow a liking towards the books. Hence, we should leave it on the children to pick books of their own choice even if the parents think otherwise. That concludes that comics and picture books are also suitable to read.
Though we need to teach kids the importance of reading books we must not limit them, suggests Kathryn Starke who is a specialist in National Urban Literacy. The “Tackle Reading” author also agrees that children should be given the access to other reading materials with age appropriate content as well like newspapers, online articles and magazines.
Parents must have fixed sessions with the children to enhance their interest. They may sit with the children to read the stories during times like breakfast and bath time, says Katya Seberson, an Executive of Mind Inc. Getting descriptive with the characters the children are reading about will increase their imaginative and creative skills as well. For an instance, describing a character having thick eyebrows and big nose will bring the character to life in the mind of a child by activating his imagination.
Reading too many alien words in one paragraph will create havoc in the child’s mind leading him to hate reading thereafter. They should not feel frustrated while reading a children’s book. Though children should be challenged from time to time, it is unnecessary to torture them big words. Seberson clearly suggests that if a child fumbles at every second word of a paragraph, the book might not be meant for him.
It is essential to understand that parents should not go on a marathon while developing a reading habit in their child. The child will end up getting frustrated and a phobia towards reading. McKinnon-Russel l who herself teaches her five year old daughter at home agrees that parents should teach children in a fresh mind. A tired brain will only cause lack of concentration and impatience with children.
Children love to compete and it could be a great way to get them to finish chapters of a book in no time. A group of friends may visit the library, pick a book, decide the chapters and then start a race to see who finishes first. They will continue reading at the lunch, while travelling bus and after coming back home. This is a great way of developing reading as well as competitive skills in a child. McAnulty also advises to keep in check the nature of the book they are reading.
Another way of motivating a child to read books is by sending him to a book club with literary discussions on a podcast. The 20 minutes long Book Club for Kids podcast is designed perfectly to draw reading allergic kids towards books. The Media Award winning podcast is divided into 2 interesting parts including the interview with a celebrity reader and author along with a discussion of kids on a middle-grade novel. The Book Club also publishes newsletters and blogs frequently for both the parents and the kids to learn more about reading.
Children tend to get more excited to read about characters and places which seem real. Starke advices, visit a Dinosaur exhibition if they are reading about Dinosaurs, a zoo if they are reading about animals and so on.
Reading must be a pleasure to kids. In order to encourage parents to read with their children MacAnulty prescribes various ways. Curling up on the couch or bed and reading books of respective tastes together can also strengthen the bond and develop the love for books. Moreover no one is ever too old to listen to a bedtime story.