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We learn a great deal by reading continuously. The habit of reading is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Some children take to it naturally while some others need a bit of persuasion. But once they get started, your little readers soon become independent learners. It also helps that this gives you a lot of peaceful self-time, knowing that your child is involved in a productive activity. Here are a few ways we can inculcate this wonderful habit in our children.
Remember that reading is not just an activity, it’s a way of life. Once you get your child started, they won’t stop. And this will help them grow into informed, aware and intelligent adults. Fair warning, though you may have trouble with your #littlereader sneakily reading way past bedtime!
While you all might have been able to get your kids to start reading books, making it a part of their day-to-day lives takes a few more steps. You can teach them to use their new reading ability to find out more information about the world around them, and it can also make your life much easier. Let’s see how!
1. Read the Newspaper – Your child might dread the hours you disappear behind the newspaper. But you can involve your child and slowly introduce them to the habit of reading the news. You might want to protect them from the dreadful parts, but read the interesting things out to them. Get them to read aloud with you. Subscribe to a children’s newspaper and you will soon have them reading alongside you.
2. Carry a Book – Now this one is rather simple and straightforward. Get your child to carry a book or e-reader at all times. Whether you’re traveling on vacation or waiting in a queue or even if your child is bored when you visit a friend or relative, make sure they always have a book. This will take care of boredom and bad behavior while transporting them to another world.
3. Use the Internet for Reading – Your child needs to start using the internet at some point, and reading is one of the ways to make internet time constructive. Your child can research books, people or events online. If you are planning a holiday, get your child to read up about the history of the place or find out about food, sights, and activities available there. Reading up about movies can be another idea. Your child can read movie reviews to help pick what movie to watch. After the movie, you can also read up on movie trivia together.
4. Encourage Letter/Email Writing – A lot of us owe our letter-writing skills to our pen pals. Snail mail has been replaced by email and the internet is a scary place for children to interact with strangers. But there are options like www.studentsoftheworld.info where children from different parts of the world can become pen pals and exchange emails. It is safe and brings back the experience of seeing the world through a pen pal’s eyes. Not only will this develop reading and writing skills, but also your child’s communication skills.
5. Write Notes – When packing your child’s lunchbox you can also put in small notes. Keep them simple, sweet and can also express your love for your child, or tell them you have cooked something special for them. You can make this special interaction a fun reading task. Write a new quote every day or start a game where you put in a new word or phrase for your child to learn about. You could use riddles too. This way you connect with your child when they’re at school and create some special memories for them. And getting little notes is always special!
6. Story Writing – Writing and reading are two sides of the same coin. Writing stories together can be a great activity. You can decide a story topic with your child and then write it in turns, one line or paragraph at a time (depending on your child’s age). Build the story together over time and once you’re through, reading these stories together will be a lot of fun.
7. Shop Together – A child on a shopping trip is usually a liability. But you can get your child to learn a lot more by reading through it all. They can help you make grocery lists after reading recipes, and then help you find these products in the aisles. Teach them the importance of reading product labels, prices, and benefits before making purchase decisions. When you shop for clothes or furniture, get them to read about the different materials, styles and their advantages. In this manner, your child will learn their way around the outside world really well.
8. Cook Together – Cooking not only teaches your little one a life skill but can result in rewards at the end of it (and it just might be cake!) Read recipes together and explain ingredients, measurements and the process to your child. Get your child to read about nutrition. Start an activity where you rate your dishes on a health meter. Pick recipe books that have clear instructions. Some recipe books have anecdotes around the dishes that could make for an interesting read.
These are just some of the many ways in which you can teach your child to read as part of any and every activity they do. It becomes a habit and soon your child will be proactively reading up and informing you about things you should know!