Foster the love of reading

BOOKS & READING

Foster the love of reading

 If you want your child to get a good education, it is up to you to foster a love of reading in your child, says Mala Ashok

The days when reading was the only leisure activity available for children is a thing of the past.  Now TV, video games, the Internet, IPads, and IPhones, all compete for a slice of the child’s leisure time — which is not too much to begin with given the amount of school work there is.

If you grew up reading and expect your child to follow suit you might be in for a rude shock.  The rules have changed and it is up to you to adapt and use new approaches to help your child develop the reading habit.

You may think that a well stocked well arranged bookshelf will excite the child and encourage him to read.  Experts have found that a mess of books lying around the house make a kid browse sooner than a neat bookshelf! So tolerate a mess in order to facilitate your kids’ reading habit.

Many of us think that exciting books will make a child inclined to read. You’ll be surprised to hear that sometimes non-fiction books in the child’s area of interest gets a child started on the path to reading. For example one kid I know is crazy about cars.  His parents got him a subscription to a motoring magazine.  He started out drooling over the pictures and then taught himself to read the tough words and sentences and thus was born his reading habit.

Another child was always fascinated by records.  Her parents bought her a copy of Limca Books of records and Guinness Book of World records.  She started out slow but when she was able to display her knowledge of facts and quiz her friends and relatives she got more and more interested and soon she was reading much better than her classmates.
A book is a book is a book.  You may have rigid standards and want your child to “read” not “hear” a book, but audio books are great starters.

Read aloud books, and books that come equipped with CDs are great for little children.  They love to “read” the books by themselves and since the CD tells them when it is time to turn the page they have the illusion of reading and soon actually teach themselves to.  The “Karadi Tales” books which come equipped with a CD where a celebrity reads out the story is particularly popular with little ones.

If your child is past the picture book and audio book stage don’t worry.  Another way to ease a child into reading is with joke books, comic books, and what you consider “graphic” novels.  They may not be literature but they count as “reading,” and are wonderful ways to get a child into the reading habit.  Once the habit is formed the child will seamlessly graduate to what you consider “good books.”

Teachers have found that children who have been read to are always at the head of the class.  While most of us read to little children we drop the habit when we consider it is time for our kids to be reading on their own.  Educators have found that even older children, who have graduated to “Chapter books,” enjoy being read to.  This might be the only impetus the child needs to start reading independently.

We have all heard the old joke about the donkey who chewed through a video movie.  When asked how he like it he said, “I liked the book better.”  As jokes go this is rather lame, however, sometimes watching a movie together, suggesting the child read the book too and comparing the two not only makes the child a reader but develops her critical thinking skills too.

And finally, if, for whatever reason, you cannot get your youngster to read a book, do not despair. Invest in an eReader or download a book into your/his computer and it is almost guaranteed that your child will attempt to read.

We have had a spate of technological advances over the years but nothing quite displaces reading; so if you want your child to get a good education it is up to you to foster a love of reading in your child.
 

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