Reading is important at any age and is crucial for a child’s overall learning and academic development. Getting kids to be successful readers in school is only part of the equation. Parents can foster a love of reading with their kids at home so that the desire to read and enjoy it for its own sake overlaps into the school day. Reading can help a child develop strong vocabulary, spelling, and reasoning skills while strengthening aptitudes in math and science. It also helps kids grow socially, enhancing empathy, motivation, and an increased curiosity about the world around them.
There are many ways parents can make reading interesting to kids. The first step is to start early and do it often. Make it a special one-on-one time with your child. It’s never to early to share a book with your child. At this age, making it a tactile experience, letting them touch and turn pages with you while you read is an important, early introduction. Choosing books with rich language exposes them at an early age to a vocabulary they can carry through life.
With toddlers and preschoolers, interaction increases and relating the book to the world around them will bring the story to life. Relate the colors and shapes in the book to what your child sees in his or her own world. Ask questions and talk about how the story makes him or her feel. Make it into a game, role-play the story, and let their imagination take flight. Listen to audio books and make regular trips to the local library where you and your child can sample a vast array of what books are available. And don’t forget about building math aptitude and reading comprehension too. Highlight numbers in the text, ask questions that relate to counting, and have your child guess what happens next in the story. While creating this fun give and take will keep kids interested and engaged in some books, be sure to also share books where the story is enough to hold their attention.
As school age children, exposure to various genres allows them to discover their own preferences. Parents can continue to foster a love for reading by paying close attention to when kids are excited to open that book as opposed to when it’s just another assignment that’s due. Introducing them to other books related to the ones that caught their fancy is another way to keep them reading. Remember, the librarian is a fount of knowledge whether you are trying to find another similar book or an undiscovered treasure. Encourage kids to seek out subjects that drive their curiosity and to explore topics of interest. This can be crucial to keeping a love for reading alive, during both those developing years and for years to come.
And finally, let your children see you reading. If parents make reading a priority in their lives, children are more likely to think it should be a priority in theirs.