For many parents, it’s a bit of a mystery. Sure, most if not all parents understand the huge advantages a child can benefit from when a love of reading has been instilled in them from childhood onwards. But how to instil that love can seem like a bit more of a mystery than most parents would like. Follow these tips and you’ll soon have a little bookworm on your hands.
First of all, let’s look at why a love of reading can help your child immensely. Children who are read to regularly, and later children who read regularly, build an easier and more complete rapport with language which will open many doors for them academically and professionally. Additionally, a greater facility with language allows them to communicate more efficiently and to play the professional ‘game’ which will allow them to achieve more, too, in terms of promotions and even job applications. The truth of the matter is that, the easier your way with language, the better your chances of success in virtually any avenue of life no matter what professional or personal path you take. Additionally, reading opens the mind and the imagination and helps your child unfurl his or her creative wings.
One tried-and-true method of helping foster a love of reading in your child is by reading to him or her on a regular basis. Make a rule for yourself about reading for ten minutes before bedtime, and without sacrificing too much of your precious time you can help your child engage with stories, learn more about language, and get closer to you as an added bonus. Encouraging reading as an activity just before bed, whether you read to your child, your child reads to you, or an older child reads to him- or herself, also helps children wind down after a busy day and lets books become a wonderful way to close off the day. Many children go through periods of wanting to hear the same book over and over every evening. Don’t fight them on this; it is a developmental stage that some kids go through – sometimes multiple times. You can either simply re-read the same book every night or elect to read from a different book first, then close off the session with the beloved repeat performance. There is nothing wrong with this, and while the lessons your child learns from these repetitions are different from the ones he or she learns from new stories, they are no less valuable.
Make sure there are always plenty of books available to your child, not only in the evening but also during the day. If his or her school gives out reading books, listen to him or her read them to you and annotate the reading record accordingly. Being listened to is an important part of learning to read, and you could be helping your child improve his or her reading by a huge amount by taking out a few daily minutes to listen to it.
Lastly, consider a book budget. Spending money is great and if your child does chores for money then you are teaching them the value of hard work… But a monthly book budget of eight or ten pounds will help them learn to love books, expand their collection, and help them understand how to choose a book they will love. The value of a good book could well be the best lesson for a parent to teach a child… Don’t miss out on this one!