Parents are always looking for ways to kickstart their child’s learning, and one of the best ways to do this is to encourage them to start reading. Kids enjoy reading, and by devouring a range of materials they will naturally add new concepts, ideas and vocabulary to their growing young mind. Children who are the in the practice of reading a lot are going to be in a better position to do well at school, as they will already be in the habit of learning for pleasure. The benefits of reading apply at any age and there are a range of different books available for every level. As a parent, there are a number of things you can do to encourage – without forcing – a healthy reading habit.
1. Read together. The best thing a parent can do is spend dedicated quality time with their child, and reading is a great activity to do together. Choose books to read together that you yourself are interested in as well, or think is a good read, so that your enthusiasm is apparent. Change voices and try a range of different reading styles – the more you immerse yourself in the reading, the more your child will be too, and the more likely they’ll want to pick it up and do it in their own time.
2. Set an example. Children mimic their parents, and reading is no exception. Our lives are very electronics-focused these days, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can send the message that this is how you are meant to spend free time. Show that you also love to read, and encourage your child to read their own books at the same time as you do.
3. Reward reading goals. Of course, the ultimate goal is for reading to be a fun enough activity that children will want to do it on their own. However, this doesn’t always happen right away and some kids are more predisposed to it than others. You never want to force reading or it will take on negative associations, so instead reward them each time they finish a particularly challenging book.
Reading is an excellent way to begin a child’s learning, and parents do them a huge favour by making this a positive and self-motivated activity. Spend time together, and create good memories and feelings with them during reading time.