Have you ever noticed that children who read a lot have parents who read a lot? It's similar to how children of sporty parents love sports and those of musician parents play instruments easily.
But what if you don't read? Does it mean your child can't be a reader?
Perhaps you didn't get the encouragement to become a reader in your childhood. Or perhaps you have no time - there is always so much to do.
But you want your child to develop this habit. If you are a non-reader parent looking for a helping hand, here are some useful tips you can try with your child.
Adult Role Model:
Children love to imitate adults. You would have seen them trying out adult shoes and clothes. If they were around an adult who always read, they would end up imitating that as well. So find an adult they like who reads a lot, and encourage your child to spend time with them. This can be a favourite aunt, uncle or teacher. Even a friend of yours who reads a lot.
Creating a routine or reading timetable will make it easier for your child to read. Some interesting options are - a visit to a library in the evening, an hour of reading every Sunday afternoon, or a story or chapter before going to bed. An evening library visit is always a great starting point if your child enjoys going out. This will help them associate reading with another fun activity.
Children like to imitate their friends as much as they like imitating adults. They are competitive and like to keep up with their friends. Put your child in a reading club where they can talk about their favourite books. This will get them excited about reading. But be sure not to force a shy child to do this. They could be anxious about talking in groups. Instead, you can encourage them to go to the library with a neighbour or friend from school. Understand what they need and take it one step at a time.
Your child can’t read if they don’t have access to books. Buy books, enroll them in a library (maybe many libraries!) or let them visit the homes of their friends and relatives who own shelves full of books. Ensure that they have access to many kinds and levels of books so that they can transition from picture books to chapter books when they are ready. It’ll also encourage them to read many different genres and decide what they like best. Children are curious, they’ll start flipping through books if they are surrounded by books. It’s simple logic.
Pro-tip - Digital libraries like the Freadom app are very useful to create access.
Support your child and help them through their reading process. Clarify meanings of words and contexts. Look up words in dictionaries along with them.
You might have to read with them and read for them. Be a part of your child’s reading routine in the beginning. You can both read a chapter each before going to sleep. Once your child starts to like reading, you can step back if you want to. Or you can make reading a family event!
Another option is to find "read-along videos" in the Freadom app or on YouTube for your child.
Either way, your life will be easier once your child becomes a reader. Children who read perform better in all subjects, require less tuition at all levels and get into better colleges!