As caring parents, we know that books are beneficial for our children. We want our children love books even from an early age. How can we reach this goal? Can we simply push our children to read a book? Well. Probably not. It is not a good strategy. If your child is not fond of books, we ‘d better lead them to a right direction. In this article, Seven important strategies are explained.
1. Start early
In almost all the sports, world best players have started learning their specialty sports from an early age. Tiger Woods, a legendary golfer who won 14 major titles, already shot a 48 over nine holes at age three. Michael Phelps who won 23 Olympic gold medals started swimming at age 7. Lindsey Vonn, one of the legendary skiers who overcame so many injuries, started skiing at age 2. These are only a few examples of how important it is to learn from an early age. Starting from an early age has tremendous advantages: the nature, logic and principles of what someone is learning can be naturally imprinted into the body, nerve system and brain. So, continuation to later age will be a lot easier. By the same token, the fondness of books from an early age is also crucial and beneficial for a child. It is a lot easier to have a book-loving habit even at a later age.
2. Visit Library
Everything is new to a child. Going to a library and being introduced to a lot of new books can be a great adventure for a child. To encourage a child to a library trip, it is highly recommended to issue a library card for a child. A child can feel that he/she is treated as a unique and important individual. Also, borrowing books from the library can guide a child to one of the systems of society.
3. Make use of Audio books
In an other article on this site, the benefits of audio books have been explained. Both (picture) book and audio book can be a winning combination. The images from a (picture) book can be imagined while listening to an audio book. The visual images from the audio book will be compared & confirmed when a child read the (picture) book again. It will be quite a fun to a child. For me, I read several fairy tales to my daughter. When our family is traveling, she listens to their audio versions. She loves listening to them. When she hears some sentences from the audio book, she re-verifies the scene and asks some relevant questions. For example, when she heard the mad voice of the bad witch from “Sleeping beauty”, she asked me “why is the which not invited?” . Children have so many questions & great imaginations. Audio books are definitely helpful for expanding their imagination.
4. Make it Habitual
It is important to read books to your child often. The goal is to make book-reading a second nature of your child. It is like imprinting reading habit to his / her brain & mind. Once reading habit is imprinted into his / her mind, this million-dollar worth habit will last for entire life.
Many experts claim that keep reading even after your child learn how to read is also important. It can be considered as further effort to imprint reading habit into subconscious mind.
Ritualization of reading is a good way of making it habitual. By making it a daily routine (flexibly, most convenient time of the day), anxiety can be relieved and reading can be a second nature to a child more easily.
5. Be a good model, parents!
It is interesting to observe that children imitates their parents a lot. When I do some stretching motion, my 3-year-old daughter imitates my pose. My daughter imitates some expressions my wife mentions from time to time. Her behaviors make us laugh a lot of times. You probably have similar experiences. Children loves to imitates their parents. When parents watch TV a lot of times, probably children want to watch it too. Pushing your child to read a book while you are watching TV or small cell-phone screen is probably unreasonable to your child. How about turning off TV and read a book yourself? Being a good model will be a great motivation for your children. It will be also beneficial for yourself.
6. Make it spontaneous: No push
Do not push your child to read books. Involuntary reading forced by his/her parents might have more drawbacks than benefits. It is better to think of ways to encourage them to read. There are plenty of ways. Some examples are
- Personalized book can draw your children’s interest a lot as mentioned in other article from this site.
- Performing book-inspired activities will be also very helpful. For example, after reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carlie, all the foods drawn or printed on a paper can be picked up in order. With the help of latest technologies, a lot of activities can be created and performed.
Repetition is recommended in book-reading. For example, we usually cannot understand all the details of a movie by watching it once. When we watch a movie twice or three times, we can recognize more details of the movie: symbolism of an action, conversation, background object, etc. The same principle can be applied to the books for children. Through repeated reading, a child can think over the plot, conversation, and the picture of the book. To encourage repeated reading, a help from parents is highly recommended. Why don’t you discuss with your child about the details of a book after reading? It will be a great motivation for your child.
Seven effective strategies to guide our children to book-loving habit have been explained. We all want our children grow up happy and (mentally as well as physically) healthy. I believe book-loving habit from an early age will promise positive effects on our children. I hope that your children can grow up happy and healthy by applying the above strategies.