Reading is an essential skill and has countless benefits for a child’s development and future success. To encourage little readers to nurture a habit of reading, here are some tips that you can try:
1) Establish a reading routine
Create a routine where you and your child set aside a specific time each day for reading, whether it’s before bedtime, or during a specific time of the day.
Reading before bed can have a calming effect after a busy day. Not only will your child associate bedtime stories as soothing and relaxing, it also doubles up as bonding time for the both of you.
2) Create a reading-friendly environment
Your home library does not have to be big or have many shelves. Create a comfortable reading space that includes a variety of age-appropriate books, allow the books to be easily within reach of your child to encourage independent reading. Make the space fun and inviting by decorating it, or add a chair specially chosen by your child, so that he or she will want to spend more time in that space.
3) Make reading fun
Reading aloud is a simple yet effective way to make reading fun and engaging. Before even opening the book, look at the cover and make predictions together on what the book is about. As you read, stop to ask your child questions about the characters, about the plot, about how they feel, about what they think will happen next.
Read with enthusiasm and expression by bringing the characters to life with different voices, facial expressions, and gestures. Don’t be shy, the more dramatic the better! Introducing post-reading activities like acting out scenes from the story, or creating crafts related to the book will also make reading more dynamic and interesting for your child.
4) Let your child pick what to read
Allow your child to select the book to be read during story time. Even if your child chooses the same book daily for the next few days, embrace his choice enthusiastically. Younger kids enjoy repetition and familiarity, and the simple routine of reading the same book over and over again can provide a little structure to their life. You can support further learning opportunities within this familiar context by focusing on something new with each retelling.
For older children, allow your child to pick out books in the bookstore or library by themselves. To help narrow down their choices, you could give your child a section of books to choose from. Children are more likely to want to read something that they picked out themselves.
5) Find reading moments in everyday life
Reading should be part of daily life. As you go through your day together, help your child keep an eye out for ‘reading moments’. It could be as simple as reading road signs, store menus, or grocery lists.
From this, your child will come to understand the importance and relatability of reading to everyday life. Don’t let them think reading only happens at school, it can happen everywhere!