Reading can be one of the most significant sources of enjoyment and learning throughout your whole life. In school, we are taught to read and are given a selection of books to start with. But there is so much more to reading and learning than just the books we get in school.
Encouraging children to read more starts with the adults around them. It is never too early to give a baby a book. As long as they are safe for their age group, then babies usually love turning pages, pressing noise-making buttons, and of course, chewing on the edges.
Children copy the adults around them. It is how they learn. They watch what their most loved people do and try to emulate it. If you are making time for reading, then that time can be used for your children or the children around you to read too.
You can set out an hour each day for reading. You can read to your children or ask them to read to you.
Reading starts with recognition—understanding and being able to describe what is in a photo or the picture in a book. Encouraging your children to tell you what they can see in a picture can help them begin to recognize the words connected to the image.
Let the children pick books. This will mean the book they choose is something that they are interested in and are more likely to engage in. Children will often choose the same book over and over. This is great because they will start to recognize the words and how they are connected.
There are four learning styles, reading/writing, visual, auditory, kinesthetic. Once you understand how your child learns and what gets them motivated to engage with a book, you can work with that knowledge. You can help them learn a lot about how different letters and words sound; using phonemic awareness activities; you can start to build that vocabulary.
When it Gets Tough
There are times when reading will feel hard. This is usually when children run into more significant words, things that they don’t understand, or when faced with some challenges. It can also happen when adults don’t stick with gentle encouragement.
It can be hard to accept that your child doesn’t recognize the same word for days at a time, but it is part of the learning process. Think about things like mathematics, driving, and other skills you have. It can take a long time to grasp something, even when you feel it is basic. Stick with gentle encouragement and care.
There should be rewards that relate to reading. This will mean that reading becomes a prize that they want to aim for—having a new children’s cookbook or magazine as a reward for doing extra pages or mastering a new word. As well as have them as rewards for things that aren’t related to reading.
When you go out, try to have a book with you. Ask them to choose a smaller pocket size or lightweight book in their bag (or yours). When you have moments of waiting, or they are sitting in the car, get the books out. Using this time to fill up on words, cover new pages, and talk about what you are reading.
Talking about what you are reading can help to understand what is going on. There are going to be relationships, situations, and experiences that your children will read about that they haven’t encountered in their life.
This will mean you have the opportunity to talk about those things. Books often produce a lot of emotions, and being able to talk about them, how something makes you feel, and why can make a big difference in how you process the book.
Most people who enjoy writing enjoy reading, and vice versa. Writing can let children explore their imaginations and use the new words they are learning in context. They can write about their own life experiences or make up an entire world. This can help find what they are genuinely interested in and can help you to choose books that will keep them interested in ready.
If you sit close together when reading, from an early age, reading will be associated with comfort and happiness. This feeling is one of the ways that you can create a lifelong love of reading because it provides them with a safe and comforting space.
Encouraging children to read can be a lovely process, relaxing, and provides skills for life.