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Inculcate Reading Habits in Children
Books are the quietest and most constant friend. they are the most approachable and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot
Charles Eliot had his facts right. Anyone who has befriended the written word would never be alone. All book lovers know that they can live many lives, travel to countless places, and do a myriad of things through their books. You can see another person’s perspective and discover that you are not the ultimate authority on the matter.
Today our living rooms have been invaded by the television and the computer. Children spend all their free time glued to one of the two.
Books teach children a lot. They expand their vocabulary, helping them later in life. Knowledge of the language multiplies. It boosts the child’s imagination, letting the mind reach the unimaginable and increasing creativity. Reading a lot greatly improves a child’s store of knowledge. Let’s say, for example, that you learn more about Africa, but you read an interesting story rather than from the course books.
Parents are desperate, trying to introduce them to the wonderful world of books. However, all is not lost with a thimble of common sense, a little patience and a lot of love parents can instill good reading habits in their children.
Set a time to read
Set aside about half an hour daily as reading time. This can be just before bedtime or any other time convenient for both of you. First let them read the books you had narrated as children. The story will be familiar and it will be easy for them to pick out the words.
Interest in books cannot be created overnight. It is a slow process where the child learns to fall in love with the enchanted world of the written world. If the habit of reading is inculcated at the earliest, it will develop slowly as the child grows up. Parents should start as soon as the child is able to understand. Read stories to your two-year-old. Gradually phase out this narrative in reading stories.
Parents need to be realistic in their expectations. Don’t think that the child will jump into reading the first time he holds the book in his hands. The first few times they may falter with the pronunciations. Correct them gently. They may even read the entire page without understanding a word. Once you explain the whole book to them, make their brains work. Ask easy questions about the story. Eventually they will get the hang of deciphering books.
It is very important to teach children by example. Make sure your kids see you read. If you read books your children will automatically do the same. It is very difficult to get a child to read extensively if the parents never pick up a book. Not only will it be an inspiration, but the kids will find it a lot of fun to read together.
Get books on topics that interest you
If the child is a big fan of Pooh, get some books about this character. Markets abound with various things related to animation. Do a little market research and get the books of that character. Make sure the books are colorful and graphic. Print should be large as reading small print can be tiring. Browse the books before you buy. The words must be at a level your child can understand. Books that are too easy or too hard can easily distract children.
There are many helpful aids that parents can use to encourage reading. Set up a bulletin board and animate funny comments. Pin a little limerick or poem for your child to read. You can also get a set of audiobooks. This has a story recorded on tape along with the printed book. Children can pick up the nuances of pronunciation as they read. Put notes in Tiffin box. Get vocabulary building games on PC.
Universal Reading Time
Don’t limit reading to the confines of your room. Use the abundance of words floating all around us. Highlight the words in the hoardings on the way. Ask the child to read the titles on the cinema poster. Narrating the front pages from the newspaper is a great way to learn. While you wait for the doctor to come, he can read the leaflets. At the restaurant, let them read the menu and decide on the order. Ask them to decipher the instructions for the new game.
Try all this in a very simple way. If the child feels that he is being pushed towards reading, he will stop like an unyielding horse. It should all look like an extremely interesting game. Remember Tom Sawyer! Say, for example, while you’re waiting for the doctor, don’t push the pamphlet into the child’s hand and order them to read it too. Instead, say very, very roughly (a bored voice is essential), “There are four words that start with ch in this booklet.” Immediately the child will try to discover the fact on his own and find a few more words to start.
These techniques are just general aids to help children read more. As a parent you need to show enthusiasm for their new activity. Correct them gently when they are wrong. Show enthusiasm and appreciation when the child wants to read. It is good to buy books as a gift and motivation. Discuss the book the child just read. Talk about her favorite character in the book. If there is a movie made about this book, put it here.
Don’t force, guide. Once the child learns that he MUST read, it becomes another subject of study, a tedious chore. Reading should be introduced as a pleasant pastime and not a severe punishment.
So go ahead, introduce your kids to the written word and they’ll never be lonely again.
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