Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Start Reading to Your Child

1. Start Early
Remember: the sooner, the better, the easier. It is easy to form habits in very young children because you make the rules. Once they grow up, and start seeking independence; it gets more challenging. You can start even when they are in womb. Trust me, many people do it.

2. Read Yourself
My question is do you read? Personally, I read a lot while my husband reads zilch, but he still reads to our son. So, if you are trying to inculcate that habit in your child, chances are you are a reader yourself or at least you understand the value of doing so. So, be the role model for your child. Let him see you read. If nothing else, read children's books. You won’t believe how much you can learn from them, plus they are gorgeous.

3. Set the Mood
It is important to create an environment that encourages reading. Good books and opportunities to read are two important parts of setting the mood. If you want a habit to grow, you need to curb some of the other things like screen time (in the form of TV and tablets). Too much of screen time is not good for kids. Here is an excellent article on the subject.

4. Good Books (appropriate size and content)
If the kids are very young, say 0-1.5 years old, get them bright board books with minimum words. Books on Animals, Trucks, Construction vehicles or everyday objects usually work very well for that age group. Choose a size that they can handle easily like mini board books. Also, avoid paperbacks for very young kids. Board books are available in various sizes - from mini to lap size.

In this day and age, there is no dearth of good literature for young kids. There are several foreign and Indian authors and publishers for children’s books. The subjects are also exhaustive. You can also pick books on subjects that they are curious about or just plain entertaining stories. Besides, if you are confused, many people are writing about children’s books across the internet. You just have to look.

5. Movie to Books
There are books which have been turned into movies like the Gruffalo, the Gruffalo’sChild and the Room on the Broom. We read the books first and then watched the movies but you can do the other way round. There are books for ‘Finding Nemo’ or ‘The Jungle Book’ too, besides many others.

6. Bedtime Routines
It is easier to make reading part of their bedtime routine because when they settle for night, kids usually want to listen to stories. Moreover, they are eager to do anything as long as they don’t have to sleep right away. I think one can start with familiar characters or subjects from animated movies which the child identifies, and then move on to others gradually.

7. Never make it a chore
Don’t make it another 'thing-to-do' in the list. It will put them off, especially if they are older. When my son was 1-1.5 year old, we did not have a fixed time to read. Like other kids, he would keep fiddling with stuff around the house; and I would just sit and read his books aloud. At that age, they want to do things you are doing. So, he would come and sit, and take the book from me. And now we read 5 books every day on an average.  

8. Give it importance
Many people don't think too highly of reading to kids. It is not just story-time, believe me. I already wrote why you should Read Aloud to your kids in my previous post. Take it seriously. 

You may also want to see: 

Why you should Read Aloud to your Child
5 Children's Fiction Titles We Love

Image source: Google

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