Countless studies have reported on the many benefits children receive from starting to read at a young age. Unfortunately, many people find that they aren’t able to read as much as they would like. Of course, family and work commitments take top priority, but one of the keys to raising kids who love to read is by showing that you also enjoy reading.
From linguistic and educational benefits through to psychological and social benefits, reading and being read to have a giant impact on kids. Children who are strong readers perform better academically, feel more confident when they are entering school and develop a larger vocabulary compared to children who are never read to.1
So how can you encourage your kids to be excited about books and reading?2
Start reading to them as a newborn
One of the great things about reading to your newborn is that you can read them anything you like. At this stage, your baby is responding to the tone of your voice as opposed to the content they are hearing. Use this time to get back into the habit of reading and start thinking about books that you and your little one can enjoy together as they get older!
Choose a wide selection of books
Be sure to give your kids a wide range of genres and types of books to help them discover their favourites and help build their vocabulary and knowledge at the same time. Try getting books that are different formats including easy to read board books, comic books, basic chapter books and even nonfiction.
Reading is one of the primary building blocks to learning, and many topics are beautifully illustrated in nonfiction books aimed for kids. Look for things that will interest them like books about animals or about the country where you live.
Let kids start picking their own books when they’re little
Bring your toddler to the library or the bookstore with you, and allow them to select a book that looks interesting to them. They’ll feel like a grown up because they are doing the same thing as you. Additionally, you’ll see them maturing into little people as you watch how they make their selection. Don’t worry if all the books they are selecting are similar, you can still provide them with books that cover a wider variety of topics.
Encourage independent reading time
Just like you encourage them to play independently, kids as young as 5 or 6 should have independent reading time. But don’t just hand them a book as a way to keep them occupied. Tell them to read for a set amount of time and then sit down with them and discuss the book they’re reading, things they like and dislike and if they have any questions.
For less eager readers, giving them books where the stories are visually driven will help to keep them engaged instead of feeling frustrated or that reading is a chore. Although you want to avoid incentivizing reading, showing them that you’re excited for the two of your to dive into a new book together will help them see reading as a fun activity.
Find a community of like-minded parents at branches of the National Library Board who run a diverse range of programmes to encourage reading in Singaporeans of all ages.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore
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