Raising A Child Who Loves to Read
Educators know that a child with precocious reading and language skills automatically enjoys a huge head start over his peers at school. The trick is for parents to help their children associate books and reading with pleasure and entertainment, instead of just exams and homework. How can you do this?
- Even before children acquire reading skills, they can be encouraged to love books and the stories they contain, and to want to read. Environment plays a big role. Children who are raised in a household where books are plentiful and reading is the norm typically learn to appreciate and respect both.
- Libraries are a priceless resource. But also, whenever possible take your kid shopping at a good bookstore and make her a present of storybooks and children’s magazines. Educational studies in the UK and US have reiterated the importance of buying books for children, not just borrowing them. This practice allows them to think of books as permanent resources in the home, and to form lasting relationships with them over the years.
- Limit your kid’s dependence on TV or video games for entertainment. Don’t let them do the babysitter’s job. Reading for fun and pleasure carries the added benefits of exercising your child’s intellect as well as developing his vocabulary and language skills.
- Lastly and perhaps most importantly, read to your child and with your child. What kinds of stories does she like to hear? Look at the words and illustrations together, and make the act of reading (at bedtime or any other time) an enjoyable and interactive experience. Set aside 30 minutes each day, more if possible, to bond with your child through the magic of stories; by demonstrating your interest in reading to her, you’ll also be setting an excellent example.
© 2008 Elly Sim
Elly Sim is the founder of Jan & Elly English Language School and is a partner of the Speak Good English Movement. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development & Psychology from University of North Texas in the United States, where she is also a member of the International Reading Association (IRA) and a former committee member for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).